By Robin Pierson, Special to the Independent
Most people are a bit jittery before embarking on a long trip, but for Rosalind Russell, aka the “goat lady,” travelling to Nepal six months after the country’s staggeringly destructive earthquake, anxiety is more than warranted.
“I’m scared and concerned,” said Russell. “We’ve lost women and goats. It will be horrific to see the devastation and to learn who has died.”
Recent fuel shortages and violent political clashes are making Nepalis’ daily lives even more grueling, with reports of villagers foraging for wood to cook with and Kathmandu’s normally jammed streets empty.
Travelling by motorcycle with Rabin Situala, the foundation’s program manager, Russell intends to visit each of the 50 villages that have received goats, literacy classes and micro financing in the last 12 years from her Laguna Beach-based R Star Foundation. “My hope is to give them hope,” Russell said.
Over 16,000 homes were lost in the rural villages where R Star has been working to improve the lives of women and children. Situala delivered aid to the villages and has been instrumental in getting 20 homes built in remote Pahari. The plan is to build 77 more, at a cost of $5,600 each, Russell said.
As winter approaches, getting villagers into permanent shelters is imperative, Russell said. In hard-hit Wojethar, site of R Star built Top of the World School – Nepal, classes resumed in June under a tin roof with tarp siding.
Donations, which will fund school repairs and emergency relief, can be made on line at www.RStarFoundation.org or by sending a check to R Star, PO Box 4183, Laguna Beach, CA 92652
The author is a local resident.