As the Foundation’s fiscal year comes to a close, many changes are occurring in Nepal. We approach the balance of 2003 and the beginning of 2004 with guarded optimism. During the year the insurrection in Nepal continued until late spring at which time a truce was called. This truce was still in effect when I visited in May of this year. We hope that the negotiations going on are successful and peace is restored once again in Nepal.

During my visit to Kathmandu, I discussed a number of subjects on Kunde Hospital with Dr. Kami Temba and, Paramedic and Financial Officer, Mingma Temba. Dr. Kami Temba is now Chief of Medicine and in charge of running the Hospital supported by Canadian doctors assigned by Dr. Ford and Dr. Zimmerman. All is going efficiently and smoothly at the Hospital under his direction. Dr. Kami Temba is building a five-year plan as to the needs for additional staff, capital expenditures and budgeting.

New petitions discussed:

  • Ang Rita (Mingma Tsering)
  • Lapka Norbu, PhD.
  • Dr. Kami Temba

I also visited Kathmandu University and its medical school. I talked to Mingma Temba’s son, Nawang Dorji, and our scholarship student, Mingmar Chering. I discussed future scholarship plans with Dr. Karki, Dean of KUMS and met Dr. Sharma, Vice-Chancellor of Kathmandu University, regarding their plans for building a new medical school outside of Kathmandu.

I attended a Sherpa advisory board meeting in Kathmandu, and here too, administrative plans are in place under the direction of Ang Rita Sherpa, leading to increased Sherpa control.

The Literacy Program in the Solu Valley continues to be on hold due to Maoist trouble. Board Director, Kate Cole and I met with the literacy teacher. Everything is in place for starting up the program once the Maoist political situation has improved.

During my visit to Kathmandu and particularly on May 29th, many memorable celebrations took place to honour Sir Edmund and the 1953 British expedition as well as over 200 Everest summiteers that were present. I received an award on behalf of the Foundation at a special Sherpa Evening Gala on May 29th in recognition of our 30 years of work in Nepal.

I believe a financial review and additional fundraising projects are in order as we look to the future in meeting our obligations in Nepal. The Finance Committee is completing a revised five-year plan at the present time. We may have to supplement donations with matching grants from the endowment fund. This could be done using the same formula that was used by the Canadian International Development Agency (C.I.D.A).

Although our funding from C.I.D.A. has been disrupted, after discussions with the Project Manager, Jan Barnabe, we will be resubmitting a proposal for two additional years funding before winding up our partnership with C.I.D.A. on the Kunde Hospital. We may in the future apply for additional funding from C.I.D.A. re literacy, training, forestry, reforestation and environment. Our more than 25-year partnership with C.I.D.A. has been a source of pride to the Board and myself. I have expressed our gratitude to C.I.D.A. many times on behalf of the Sir Edmund Hillary Foundation Board of Directors and constituency.

Again, we would like to thank all of you who have been a great source of support since our initial meetings in 1974. All Canadians have participated through C.I.D.A.

W. Z. O’Connor

June 17, 2003