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From Guns to Meditation: Retired Gurkha soldier reflects on his personal journey

Deo Kumar Gurung, most often called by his ashram name, Jagannath, is a 66-year-old retired Gurkha soldier and security guard who now lives a life of meditation in the jungle-covered hills of Nagarjun, Nepal. The son of a Tibetan woman and a Nepali hill tribesman of Eastern Nepal, Gurung lied about his age to join the prestigious military group, The British Gorka Brigade, at the age of 17. According to the BBC,…

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Agricultural Cooperative Empowers Nepali Women

The United Nations recognizes that, in many regions of the world, women live a life of limited opportunities, inequalities, and oppression. “Gender inequalities remain deeply entrenched in every society. Women lack access to decent work and face occupational segregation and gender wage gaps. They are too often denied access to basic education and health care. Women in all parts of the world suffer violence and discrimination. They are under-represented in…

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“I like cooking…. and I like eating… It makes me happy,” explains Social Tours chef, Sakuntaia Rokka. Photo by Victoria Nechodomu.

Local Cuisine Meets Locals’ Needs

Over 80% of Nepal’s population live in rural areas, and 70% of the population works in the agricultural field. With hard-working days that often exceed 12 hours of manual work, it seems fitting that that Nepali population rely on a diet of protein rich lentils and beans, filling rice, and vegetables straight off the vine. Sakuntala Rokka is a chef at Social Tours, Nepal, and has a lifetime of cooking experience, as well as…

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Shiva Phuyal celebrates the Dashain festival with his extended family in Dulakhel, Nepal. Photo by Victoria Nechodomu

A Nation Pauses to Celebrate with their Families and Honor the Mother Goddess

Kites soar above the houses of the sprawling city of Kathmandu and its surrounding hillside villages.  Children form lines at the base of towering traditional bamboo swings. Local buses, bearing the weight of hundreds of passengers, baskets of produce, and live goats, run back and forth to local communities, brining families together. City market spaces and squares display hundreds of goats for sale, and butchers busily chop apart blocks of...
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People of Nepal Confront Sanitation and Hygiene Issues

Nepal is considered a trekker’s paradise by well-known travel resources such as Lonely Planet, TripAdvisor, and National Geographic. “Wedged between the high wall of the Himalaya and the steamy jungles of the Indian plains, Nepal is a land of snow peaks and Sherpas, yaks and yetis, monasteries and mantras,” describes the Lonely Planet. Yet, this country, so well renown for its stunning, natural beauty, faces a number of challenges that…

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Friends, strangers, and online acquaintances help protect artist’s rights

In January, 2014, Tiffany Shao, recent Duke University graduate, was able to bring closure to a copyright violation of her personal work when she received a $500 check from Ubisoft, a video game development company. The process of discovering the copyright infringement, contacting the company, negotiating compensation, and amending contracts had spanned several months. A Stolen Design The design in question was one that Shao had created while in high school, and had…

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A Himba girl in Namibia carries a baby through the village. Photo by Victoria Nechodomu

Travel Photography: do you need a model release form?

The June 1985 issue of National Geographic boasted a cover image that soon became one of National Geographic’s most famous photos: The Afghan Girl by Steve McCurry. According to McCurry, he did not know the girl’s name or how to contact her. Similarly, many other photographers and tourists take pictures of people around the world, often without knowing the subject’s identity or obtaining their consent. Travel photography opens up a…

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Andy Hall, a British activist, is on trial in Thailand for defamation and computer crime charges. Photo: http://andyjhall.wordpress.com

The Trial of Andy Hall causes travel blogger to reflect

Natural Fruits Vs. Andy Hall Andy Hall, a British activist, is on trial this week in Bangkok, Thailand for two charges of defamation as well as computer crimes. According to BBC, Hall co-authored a report that made several allegations regarding poor working conditions for the Thai fruit company, Natural Fruits. According to a court summary provided by the Andy Hall website, the computer crime charges reference the dissemination of his…

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Loughrea Medieval Festival: Craftspeople and demonstrators such as this blacksmith drew the community in as they recall ancient traditions.

Loughrea residents celebrate their heritage with a Medieval Festival

  A pig roasts on a spit as a trio of musicians wearing medieval dresses recruit enthusiastic dancers to join in on their song and dance. Two young ladies on stilts saunter through the crowd, showering the excited children with bubbles. A blacksmith slaves away on his bellows, building a fire to demonstrate his craft. A crew of men wearing pieces of armor and weaponry teach an assembled crowd about…

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