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Jeff Rasley

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Member Since: May, 2012

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Category: 

Memoir

Publisher:  Conari Press ISBN-10:  1573244821 Type: 
Pages: 

256

Copyright:  Sept 15, 2010 ISBN-13:  9781573244824
Non-Fiction

Bringing Progress to Paradise is the first in the sequence of books about Rasley's adventures in the Himalayas and his unique relationship with the Edenic village of Basa, Nepal.

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http://jeffreyrasley.com/midsummer%20books.htm
Midsummer Books

What does it mean to bring progress--schools, electricity, roads, running water--to paradise? Can our consumer culture and desire to "do good" really be good for a community that has survived contentedly for centuries without us?

In October 2008, climbing expedition leader and attorney, Jeffrey Rasley, led a trek to a village in a remote valley in the Solu region of Nepal named Basa. His group of three adventurers was only the third group of white people ever seen in this village of subsistence farmers. What he found was people thoroughly unaffected by Western consumer-culture values. They had no running water, electricity, or anything that moves on wheels. Each family lived in a beautiful, hand-chiseled stone house with a flower garden. Beyond what they already had, it seemed all they wanted was education for the children. He helped them finish a school building already in progress, and then they asked for help getting electricity to their village.

Bringing Progress to Paradise describes Rasley's transformation from adventurer to committed philanthropist. We are attracted to the simpler way of life in these communities, and we are changed by our experience of it. They are attracted to us, because we bring economic benefits. Bringing Progress to Paradise offers Rasley's critical reflection on the tangled relationship between tourists and locals in "exotic" locales and the effect of Western values on some of the most remote locations on earth.

"This is an inspiring and thoughtful book, presenting - in graphic detail - the author's treks to Basa 6, a tiny village in the Himalayas, to bring a school and hydroelectricity to the villagers, out of love for their beautiful culture and warm receptivity to his efforts. But the central issue ... not resolved in the pages of the book, demanding a sequel, is the question of whether the "Progress"... might lead to some degree of corruption of their way of life, a consumerist, Western-oriented degradation of a spiritual depth and sensitivity to their surroundings - the beautiful Himalayas, their tradition of flower-beds around every home. Will the flowers spoil? Or is that a truly paternalistic question - leaving a "quaint" village in periodic food shortages, a precious museum for the rare Westerner to come across, off the beaten path of the Sherpa-guided mountaineering treks? The question is partially answered: he determines to go ahead with fund-raising efforts, since the villagers clearly want the benefits brought by Internet-capable education for their children, and who is he, after all, to deny what he can provide? But the question remains open. I can hardly wait for the necessary follow-up in the next book of the series." John McLaughlin, PhD.
 
Bringing Progress to Paradise is the first in the sequence of books about Rasley's adventures in the Himalayas and his unique relationship with the Edenic village of Basa, Nepal.
 


Excerpt

We were five ghostly figures in swirling snow, standing atop the 15,000-foot Zatwra La. Early morning rays of sun crept over and down the flank of the great white peak behind us. Wind blowing from the north made it hard to hear the others. Heather shouted over the hushing wind, “We’ve got to spread out!” But Tom insisted we should stay close together. All our rope was with our porters, who were slogging up the pass an hour or so behind us. Suddenly, Heather yelped and took off running. Tom cursed. Seth bellowed, “Go, run!” And then I heard the low distant roar that mountain climbers dread.
We took off down the pass with Heather in the lead. Judy cried out and fell down. Tom and Seth grabbed her arms, pulling her up, yelling at her, “Run! Run!”
I saw them out of the corner of my eye as I pounded mechanically down the rocky, snow-covered slope, stumbling into and over boulders hidden by snow. My consciousness was a gray crackling static. I knew my ability to think and respond was impaired by altitude sickness. All I felt was an instinctive drive to keep running, to get off this mountain, to survive.
The roar of the avalanche above and behind us was replaced by an eerie whirring sound. Spindrift came over us, stark white and opaque. I could barely see my gloves and boots. But the avalanche had petered out. We fell to our knees gasping. We looked up into a vast whiteness.




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