A10 peter marbach Women coffee coop members.jpg

Photo of women coffee co-op members in Nepal by Peter Marbach, who presents at CCA on July 18.

Hood River photographer Peter Marbach presents a public program about the humanitarian work of Nepali trekking guide Jagat Lama at Columbia Center for the Arts on July 18 at 7 p.m.

Lama will be joining Marbach in sharing stories about his life work to bring healthcare, education and sustainable work opportunities to the people of his home area in Kumari.

Marbach first met Lama while serving as a volunteer photographer for a documentary film project in Nepal in 2013, the start of a long-term connection to Nepal for Marbach and other members of the Hood River community.

“That journey changed my life,” said Marbach.

“Seeing first hand Jagat’s fierce dedication to improving the health and well being of his community, overcoming great obstacles, and accomplishing so much by sheer will and determination left an indelible mark on my soul.”

During a trip to deliver aid after the 2015 earthquake, Lama introduced Marbach to Sumitra Gurung, who he described as “an inspiring young woman who dreamed of going to college.” With scholarship help from Hood River Rotary, Gurung is well on her way to accomplishing that dream.

Marbach returned in November 2018 to help promote Lama’s Independent Guide Trekking Cooperative, exploring a lesser known region on the new Tamang Cultural Heritage Trail in the Langtang Valley of Nepal.

Lama invests portions of his trekking profits back into sustainable income initiatives in Kumari. His latest social enterprise is the formation of the Kumari Women’s Coffee Cooperative. The lush forest canopy and an altitude at 4,000 feet provides perfect conditions for Arabica coffee. For $25, a family can become a co-op member and plant coffee trees and share in the company profits to help put them on a path to a more independent life.

Marbach and Lama will share images and stories of Lama’s life work, recent treks, an update on Gorge filmmaker Sean O’Connor’s documentary film, and share announcements about new trekking options and the beginning of a formal business relationship with a Hood River county business.

The event is sponsored by Hood River Coffee Roasters.

“It is easy to get behind this adventure,” said Peggy Thompson, owner of Hood River Coffee Roasters. “Not only is it a good cause, the coffee is very good as well!”

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