Expat Voice: Meghalaya Musings

first_imgTwenty five km from Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, lies a homestay called Maple Pine Farm run by Meghalaya-born Canadian James Perry and his Khasi wife, Valeriena. Right in the bowl of the valley, surrounded by hills and cutting through by streams, the humble homestay is a short trek away from the famous Sacred Groves of Mawphlang, a dense forest protected by the Khasi tribe.The entrance to the homestay is right after a stream crossing. You can see scattered wooden cabins with green roofs, an isolated yellow room for traditional massage services and windmills and solar panels lining up on one side, generating all the power needed to run the place. You will be greeted by Gunner, their dog and maybe, you will spot Ira, their horse.Perry, 52 and Valeriena Perry Syiemlieh, 41, are people you would meet over the Khasi-style dinner they prepare for all their guests. The dinner is eaten in the common room, where curated music plays, and a hilarious list of quotes is put on the back of the door. Sample this: “If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around”.Perry speaks to Little India about his coming to Meghalaya and the building of the homestay:How Maple Pine Farm Came About From 1997 to 2010, I was involved in taking mostly foreign travelers all over Northeast India. At that time there was not much commercial tourism in the region, and Meghalaya in particular. While travelling, I wondered why don’t people think of their own area and offer places to stay instead of waiting for the government to do something. Usually, that means high expenditure with very little benefit to the locals.The Maple Pine Farm was built this thought. The first cabins were built in 2012-2013 with whatever finances we had.A group of travelers at Maple Pine FarmThe Project Starting the project, Valerie and I had no definite final goal. It was based on what happened and what the market allowed. It could have just stayed as a place for our own family to go away to on weekends and people we knew to come and stay. However, with the changing of tourism scenario in Meghalaya, we saw a need to do something different and not preach about it. If people saw what we were doing and wanted to work hard, do something similar themselves, we offer help and advice. The concept is to start small, with what you can handle and let the market dictate expansion.Tourism in Meghalaya The tourism scenario of Meghalaya is growing fast and without any plan. It is just catering to the people who are coming. For example, Mawlynnong is called the “cleanest village in Asia”. When the media broke the story, swarms of people rushed to the village, crowded it, looked around and came back to Shillong. Were people of Mawlynnong prepared for this kind of attention? What is the point of traveling to a place when you don’t engage with the local community there? Are the local people on the table when tourism promotions plans are made?Local communities should be able to decide how they want tourism in the area to be taken forward and how they want to engage with travelers, before they are robbed of the choice in matter.Challenges on the Way When we built the first cabin, we had no real capital. We took a risk and many things fell into place after that. The energy took some time to get working properly. We had to understand the limitations of solar, wind energy and storage of energy in batteries. As with any non-conventional system, the storage of energy is an obstacle. But the solar system has been a great help in how we present ourselves and what we do.Growing Up in Meghalaya My parents came to Meghalaya in 1963. My father was a math and science teacher, and my mother, a nurse. They were sponsored by church to run a school here. I was born in Meghalaya. I went to the school that my father was the headmaster of. The school was meant for poor people, the language was Khasi, no uniforms were required and education was free. My father would say if the school was not good enough for his own kids, it was not good enough for anybody.I lived in Meghalaya and then Assam until I was 13 years old.Journey to Canada and Back  I returned to Canada for high school and university education. It is also where I learnt building. I had no intention of coming back to India to live. Like many things in my life, I mostly just let things fall into place, with a very loose long-term place I wanted to be in. Not a place in terms of material things, but a place in stability and always having a goal of being satisfied.I visited Shillong in 1995. I was sponsored to run a marathon in Singapore and decided to fly to Shillong from there for a quick visit to my birth place. It was near a transition time in my own life. So again, many things just fell into place without a plan. I came back the next year for longer. I had an attachment to the place. After getting married in 1998 to Valerie in Shillong, we went to Canada for a year. It was more to let her see what my life was like. We then decided to come back to Shillong and make a go for it here.Learnings from Canada and Meghalaya It is more something I may have taken from my life in general and my parents — determination, being adventurous and not being caught up in materialism. Many people would say, “You must be rich, you can come here and travel”. I could never make people understand that friends my age could not or did not do what I did because of choice.My travels have never been about a particular place. It is about the experience. Even some of the supposedly worse experiences can be made positive.Expat Voice is regular column on expats in India. Email us at expat@littleindia.com to nominate yourself or another expat for the column. Related ItemsExpats in Indiaforeigners in IndiaJames Perry Valeriena MawphlangMaple Pine Farm MawphlangMaple Pine Farm MeghalayaMaple Pine Farm ShillongMawlynnong homestayMawphlang CanadianMawphlang homestayMeghalaya tourismShillong travellast_img read more

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Anthony Davis drops 40-20, hits 26 FTs as Lakers rally past Grizzlies

first_imgDavis played only 31 minutes. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the first player to have a 40-20 game in 31 minutes or less since 1954-55. Prior to Davis, the quickest 40-20 game was 33 minutes by Baylor in 1961.Davis is also the fourth player in league history and first since Michael Jordan in 1987 to make 26 or more free throws.“This solidifies why we went out and got him. He was big time for us,” said LeBron James, who scored 23 points for the Lakers. Los Angeles is off to its first 3-1 start since winning its first eight in 2010.Davis was questionable two hours before the game due to a right shoulder injury suffered in Sunday’s win over Charlotte. He did some dribbling and shooting on the court before being cleared.Davis had 16 points and nine rebounds in the first quarter but went back to the locker room at the start of the second to get the shoulder checked and re-taped. Coach Frank Vogel thought he might have to go the rest of the game without Davis until he saw him come back to the bench.ADVERTISEMENT Magalong drops Albayalde’s name in ‘ninja cops’ probe PLAY LIST 06:56Magalong drops Albayalde’s name in ‘ninja cops’ probe00:50Trending Articles02:46Senators rally support for Robredo; laud her for accepting anti-drug post02:11Makabayan bloc defends protesting workers, tells Año to ‘shut up’03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games01:38‘Bato’ to be ‘most effective’ CHR head? It’s for public to decide – Gascon02:07Aquino to Filipinos: Stand up vs abuses before you suffer De Lima’s ordeal01:28Ex-President Noynoy Aquino admits contracting pneumonia00:45Aquino agrees with Drilon on SEA games ‘kaldero’ spending issue MOST READ Butler makes his Miami debut but Herro steals show as Heat top Hawks Grizzlies: Memphis finished 22 of 23 from the line but was 7 of 34 on 3-pointers. … Grayson Allen came off the bench to score 13 points. … Dillon Brooks’ four-point play early in the first quarter was the third of his career. That ties him with Shane Battier and Troy Daniels for second in franchise history behind Mike Conley’s seven.Lakers: Avery Bradley had 12 points and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 11, with all but one coming in the fourth quarter. … Los Angeles finished 33 of 39 on free throws.UP NEXTGrizzlies: Host the Phoenix Suns on Saturday night to start a three-game homestand.Lakers: Begin a three-game road trip against the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Davis had the fourth 40-point, 20-rebound game of his seven-year career and set a franchise record with 26 made free throws as the Lakers rallied in the second half for a convincing 120-91 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night.He joined those Laker greats as LA players to get 40 points and 20 rebounds.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGreatest ever?SPORTSFormer PBA import Anthony Grundy passes away at 40SPORTSSan Miguel suspends Santos, Nabong, Tubid indefinitely after ‘tussle’ in practice“It’s an honor to be on that list with those legends but more important is we got the win,” said Davis, who was 26 of 27 from the line. “It was a grind in the first half and my teammates trusted me. I just tried to be a monster on the glass.”It is Davis’ first 40-20 game since 2016. He’s the first Laker to do it since O’Neal in 2003. Someone from the Philippines could win a $208 million jackpot this week! Duterte calls himself, Go, Cayetano ‘the brightest stars’ in PH politics Drilon apologizes to BCDA’s Dizon over false claim on designer of P50-M ‘kaldero’ DTI creates Marahuyo, a luxe Filipino fashion brand for global buyers This jewelry designer is also an architect Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments LATEST STORIES Matteo Guidicelli had saved up for Sarah G’s ring since 2014? “He gutted it out playing in some pain and was dominant. They didn’t have an answer and he was terrific,” Vogel said.Los Angeles trailed for most of the first half but took a 49-47 lead into the locker room at halftime when Davis grabbed a rebound, drove down the court and tipped in his own miss at the buzzer.The Grizzlies (1-3) led 65-59 with seven minutes remaining in the third quarter when the Lakers went on a 27-2 run to close out the quarter. Davis scored 16 points during the rally, with all but two coming at the line. The final 10 Lakers’ points in the quarter came via Davis’ free throws.“Everyone was playing well,” Davis said. “I was just trying to be aggressive. It was a close game until the third quarter. I knew some of their players were in foul trouble and tried to get them out of the game. ”Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins agreed with Davis’ sentiment, saying “I thought he was super aggressive, and you are rewarded when you are aggressive.”Davis said his shoulder was still sore after the game, but he thinks it will improve since the Lakers have a couple days off.Memphis raced to a 15-2 lead before Los Angeles started to work its way back. Ja Morant led the Grizzlies with 16 points, and Jonas Valanciunas added 14 points and 11 boards.Morant, who was the second pick in the June draft, had only three points in the first half before finding his groove in the second.“Coming into an environment like this we have to play all four quarters,” Morant said. “It was wow moment coming in (facing James and Davis) but I was still trying to go out and play my game.”TIP-INS Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, center, and forward Anthony Davis, right, react after the Memphis Grizzlies called a timeout during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)LOS ANGELES — Anthony Davis is four games into his first season with the Los Angeles Lakers, and he’s already in good company.Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, George Mikan, Shaquille O’Neal — and now AD.ADVERTISEMENT Canadian vaping study details danger from ‘popcorn lung’ chemical Becoming his own manlast_img read more

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How to make money by protecting forests

first_imgNo related posts. For more about Fonafifo’s programs, see: www.fonafifo.com Facebook Comments From the print editionSANTA MARÍA DE DOTA, San José – Thick forests cover the hillsides of César Vindas’ property. Down the hill a small area of land is cleared for trout ponds, plum orchards and dairy pastures. The remaining 105 hectares are filled with trees the Costa Rican government pays him to maintain.Many residents go the extra mile in Costa Rica to decrease their carbon footprint by recycling or shopping locally, but in the end, to live in today’s world, harmful greenhouse gases will be produced.Trying to make good on Costa Rica’s goal to become carbon neutral by 2021 is the National Fund for Financing Forestry (Fonafifo). Fonafifo is the country’s leading carbon offset provider, creating the means for the country to target carbon neutrality. The organization operates numerous projects to protect and expand the country’s forests, thus increasing carbon sequestration to prevent carbon dioxide from escaping into the atmosphere. The Environmental Services Payment program (PSA) pays landowners $64 per hectare per year to maintain forests. Other programs reimburse farmers to protect water sources on their land or reforest areas that have been cleared.Vindas purchased his farm in Santa María de Dota, a coffee town in Los Santos region in southern Costa Rica, 28 years ago. He built his home from the ground up, living for many years without electricity while he worked on his house and weathered the ups and downs of good and bad harvests. Today, he has a beautiful farmhouse full of his wife’s flowering plants, with temperamental trout ponds nearby. His son lives next door and is starting a pig farm.“This is a good program that has allowed us to keep this land forested,” Vindas said. “It’s part of our family. We hope to give a little back by protecting our trees and encouraging neighbors to do the same.”Seated around Vindas’ kitchen table, Fonafifo employees on a recent visit discuss the program’s progress.“More than 10,000 members are enrolled in the program, with properties ranging from two to 300 hectares,” said Jennifer Hernández, who manages PSA landowner contracts. “This covers 16.7 percent of the country’s territory.”The PSA program is funded by 3.5 percent of Costa Rica’s fuel tax, funding from the World Bank and smaller donations. Contracts to protect forests last 10 years and often are passed from generation to generation, she said.Hernández tells Vindas that with additional Fonafifo projects to protect water sources and reforest land, he could earn more funding.Another Fonafifo program to help Costa Rica advance towards carbon neutrality is EcoMarchamo. Based on the country’s marchamo, or vehicle circulation permit, the EcoMarchamo allows drivers to offset vehicle emissions by buying carbon offsets from the program. EcoMarchamo is available to individuals and companies, and costs approximately $12 a year per vehicle. They are available at Banco Nacional.Eric Smith, a Peace Corps volunteer staying on for a third year in Costa Rica to collaborate with Fonafifo, said companies and individuals should make efforts to reduce voluntarily carbon emissions.“This is how each person can define for themselves how they will be responsible for their emissions,” Smith said. “Otherwise the mandatory restrictions will continue to increase.”He also noted the country’s leading efforts to become carbon neutral: “Costa Rica is trying to write the book on how a country can become carbon neutral,” Smith said. “They have a lot of the pieces in place but are missing the leadership of the government to help pave the way.”For Costa Rica to reach its goal of becoming carbon neutral, he said it needs strong leadership, policies and incentives that create an environment of collaboration and investment. “Right now, large businesses are trying to lead the way, but the government has done little in creating the incentives to move transportation and the public sector in the right direction,” Smith said. “2021 is not that far off.”One way foreigners and tourists can participate during eco-inspired travels is a program called Fly Clean. During a round-trip flight from the United States to Costa Rica, two tons of carbon dioxide are released into the air per passenger. To compensate, travelers can purchase a Fly Clean certificate offsetting their emissions. Offsetting two tons of emissions costs only $10. Since Fly Clean was established in 2007, travelers have offset some 6,000 tons of emissions, according to Fonafifo.Back in the canton of Dota, Vindas’ son, also named César, said he would keep protecting the forest on his father’s property when it passes to him.“Every day there is more and more deforestation around the world,” he said. “Hopefully, if we work hard today there will be less of an environmental catastrophe facing our children.”He hopes his two kids will leave the area, get an education and return to the farm.“Everyone deserves clean air,” Vindas, Jr. said. “To get that, we have to protect the forests.”last_img read more

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