The village is situated in the Sagamartha National Park (Sagamartha is the Tibetan
name for Everest). This park is tightly controlled by the Nepali government with boundaries
laid down as to what is and what is not allowable within the Park grounds.
One aspect of park life is that there can be no felling of trees within the park and
so wood for use as fuel is scarce. The main source of fuel therefore is dried yak dung.
This burns remarkably well though does tend to leave behind a sticky residue. This
restriction on the felling of trees also means that all building materials must be
portered in from outside the nation park.
The introduction of electricity to Phortse in the near future although changing its
remote feel will reduce the pressure on fuel requirements.
The village water supply is primarily from a cistern on the edge of the village fed by
small bore pipe from a mountain stream several kilometres away. Phortse has no stream of
its own running through the village. In the winter months however this pipe freezes and
water must be collected from the Dudh Kosi river 400m below the village at Phortse Tenga.
The diet in Phortse is quite limited. Although they have no direct aversion to eating
meat, as a Bhudist people they cannot kill living animals and so live on an almost entirely
vegetarian diet. This diet consists mostly of potatoes it would seem as it is the local
crop of the village but with trade further down the valley other food stuffs such as rice,
noodles, cabbages, onions are also found. Also they do not use the technology of clay ovens
and so all food is either fried or boiled. It must be said that we got rather sick of a
continuous diet of fried potatoes and fried rice for 3 weeks and by returning home were glad
of a change in diet.
Education is very important to the village and its children and much effort has been
put in by the village along with outside support to improve education in the village. The
previous projects by Tony Freake to build teachers housing
and repair the old school have done much to help and now with the new school buildings
and return of ex-pupils from teaching college in Kathmandu it is hoped that the children of
Phortse will get some of the best education to be had in the area. While we were there
the children were learning many different subjects including English.
Phortse now has its own health worker within the village, who looks after the minor ailments
in village life. There is a health centre also built with the help of Tony next to the
teaching accommodation. There is also a hospital in the nearby village of Khunde.
The people of Phortse are Bhudist and their faith is an integral part of their lives.
2 years ago with the help of Tony Freake and with the permission and blessing of the Dalai Lama,
a long term desire of the Phortse people came to fruition in the building of their very
own Monastery or Gompa as it is known. This was one of the biggest projects undertaken
in the village, modelling the monastery on a scaled down version of Tengboche, it is quite
Village Committee |
Key Aspects |