Estate Agent takes his passion for property to Nepal for Christmas

Friday 18 December 2015

Estate agent and NAEA Fellow Paul Campbell from Campbells in Daventry left for Nepal on Sunday to help re-build some of the homes which were destroyed in the earthquakes back in April.

The village he is going to is approximately six hours northeast of Kathmandu known as Thangkalpot 1.  Nearly a million homes in Nepal were destroyed in the earthquakes and a lot of villages were cut off. Thangkapot 1 was one of them, and even now it is extremely difficult to get to, and aid is just not getting through.

Paul first found out about the plight of the Thangkpot 1 villagers after he sent a Facebook message to his Scottish friend Derek for a catch up. After arranging a Facetime call he found out that Derek had flown out to Kathmandu, Nepal followed by a terrifying six-hour bus journey to the village to help rebuild the villager’s homes.

Paul said: “I could not believe that he was in this village with the Himalayas in the background and I could see everything that was going on. The 3G signal from his remote dongle was so clear. He gave me a guided visual tour around Thangkalpot and I was hooked. Derek gives us video updates every morning by broadcasting through Periscope, a new Social Media platform…so I’ve got to meet the characters behind this incredible story, including Hrinzen who met Derek and put him up his Grandmother’s home when he first arrived.”

In Thangkalpot alone, 86 homes out of 92 had collapsed back in April , one of the being ‘Grandma’s’ home [one of the oldest ladies in the village].

“Every day something happens, from a 10 year old boy who walks one and a half hours to school every day to another earthquake tremor right when we are watching a broadcast.”

Paul’s expertise and practical skills will be a boom

Paul was very moved and asked what he could do to help. The response was simple - money for materials and any other help would be a bonus. “Well I knew I could raise some cash and I knew through my clients, contacts and social media expertise that I could raise more awareness so that is exactly what I have done. “

“I refurbish dilapidated houses here in the Midlands and turn them into homes but not quite like this. Surely some of my project management skills would come in handy and anyway I can’t think of a better way than going to see a friend at Christmas who might just like a wee present.”

"I think Derek thought I was joking when I said I would come out for Christmas and even more surprised when I told him my 14 year old, who lives in Yorkshire, was coming too. It isn’t very easy for westerners to live in these conditions but if my friend needs some help and his friends, family and neighbours need some help then so be it – let’s go and do something useful."

“The Nepalese are very resilient people. They are perfectly able and capable to build their own houses but they simply don’t have any money and the aid just isn’t getting through, well not in these remote areas.”

“Hrinzen, who I have got to know over Facebook and Periscope does speak enough English for us to get by and pictures tell a thousand words – he must feel very fortunate to have met Derek. Derek and Hrinzen were really ill a few weeks ago due to a bug they caught in the village – you can read all about that story in Derek’s hometown local newspaper. They are much better now I hasten to add.”

Speaking before leaving, Paul said:

“My son Will and I can’t deny we are feeling a bit nervous but we are prepared – well, at least as far as vaccines and general common sense is concerned. It’s one thing to go to a poor country and stay in a westernised hotel but I feel it is a different challenge when you know you are going to be living in the most basic cold conditions just below the Himalayas.”

More than anything I would just like to make people aware that other people sometimes live in some extremely difficult conditions and for me to take a few days out of life won’t do me any harm and potentially with the help of donations - we will make a massive difference to a few families for generations.

Fundraising

Fundraising has been going well for Paul considering Christmas is fast approaching and many local businesses and clients have helped.

Sue Whitling, founder and owner of SWEAT, in Crick, heard about Paul’s story and decided to create a two-hour Vibe Cycle event. Vibe Cycling is extremely energetic and not for the faint hearted and as Paul says: “to do it for 2 hours without stopping is a feat in itself!” Not a lot of people know that outside work Paul is a Vibe Cycle instructor, so of course he got roped in too!

Vibers (Vibe Cyclists)  from local villages around Crick, Coventry and in Wales all got together and made enough money to build one third of one home so that is a great help.

“It costs only $2000 to build one home so I wanted to raise at least £2000 because I want to buy some blankets and some safety glasses too – I can see from the broadcasts that men, women and children are chopping rocks up with absolutely no eye protection at all. It’s coming into winter and Derek tells me the villagers are going to be cold in their shacks – he can’t build 86 homes that quickly.”

Follow Paul’s journey and help

Visit Paul’s website page to see what money he has raised so far or to donate, like his facebook page

You can also get live updates via Derek’s Periscope news feed, or Paul's Periscope news feed which are available for up to 24 hours after first broadcast.