About Coconino County

About Coconino County

Encompassing 18,661 square miles, Coconino County, Arizona, is the second largest county in the U.S. but one of the least populated. Our county includes Grand Canyon National Park, the Navajo, Havasupai, Hualapai and Hopi Indian Reservations, and the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in the world. Elevations range from 2,000 feet above sea level along the Colorado River to 12,633 feet at the summit of Mt. Humphreys in Flagstaff.

January 4, 2010

A SAR-Related Trip To Nepal

Well, now that I'm sure about my upcoming adventure, I thought I'd share it with you.

Several weeks ago (give or take), the founder of Nepal's only Search and Rescue team, Dutchman Ingo Schnabel, contacted me to see if I'd be interested in writing a book about them. This would mean spending three months with him and the rest of the Himalaya Rescue Dog Squad Nepal (HRDSN) this summer. At first, I was hesitant ... for a few hours. Then I woke up in the middle of the night and thought, hmm, why not! So that's what I'll be doing from the end of April or beginning of May through the end of July.

Twenty years ago this past October, Ingo followed through on his dream of starting a SAR team in Nepal. Ingo explains how this came about in a post on Nepal Friends in Times of Need. He wrote:

"I was sitting in Maastricht in the Netherlands in front of the Television, a beer in one hand and potato chips in the other. I was just 41 years old and had traveled half the world. I was a researcher in Africa, a dog trainer (Imperial Iranian Air Force) and Biology teacher in Tehran, then called the Empire of Iran, where Shah-Han-Shah Reza Pahlevi , the powerful Emperor, crumbled at that time and I had to leave.

"Back in the Netherlands, I tried my best to settle down, and I got fat and lazy. Then suddenly, in front of that TV, I saw a program about the misery after the earthquake in Darjeeling and Dharan in 1988.
I remembered that I had promised to my Tibetan friend Lobsang that I would come to India and Nepal and start a dog breeding center for earthquake relief. I jumped up, switched off the TV and selected six dogs from different local breeding centers and started fund raising and their training in Maastricht at the motorcycle road race trajectory in the forest. A year later, on October 8, 1989, I arrived with these dogs in Nepal and have never left the country since."

During those 20 years in Nepal, Ingo and the team have started hospitals in remote areas of the country and even a special school that doesn't adhere to Nepal's caste system. They respond to natural disasters, such as earthquakes, landslides and flashfloods, mass casualty and medical situations, and to reports of missing and injured trekkers. The more I learn about Ingo and the HRDSN, the more fascinated and excited I become about the trip. I only hope I can do their story justice. I'll write the book when I return to Arizona.

To read more about my upcoming trip and see some interesting videos, one of which is about the school that Ingo started, you can check out My Adventure in Nepal: The Himalaya Rescue Dog Squad. I'll also be blogging about it here from time to time before I go and will include updates while I'm in the country.

So, have any of you ever been there? Not me!

4 comments:

Jane said...

Way to go, Deb! I am practically insane with envy ;-) I have a grad school friend who's from Nepal. I'll see if she would be willing to give you tips.

Deb Lauman said...

Thanks, Jane! I'd be interested to hear any tips or suggestions.

TXHunter said...

Hello from from Texas, this will be a great adventure, it is not often that you get the opportunity to see SAR in another Country.. will be following to see the latest.. thanks for a great blog about S.A.R.

TXHUNTER
HVFDK-9SAR
Hudson Texas

Ayngel said...

How exciting for you! It sure sounds like a once in a lifetime adventure and a new book out of it as well? Wow, you must be floating.

Good luck and stay safe, I hope you do stay in touch!

Ayngel