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Everest: The scoop on donating to the Maoists
image story

Apr 19, 2004 20: 19 EST
Published Apr 6, 04.
Here’s the scoop. Trekking in the Khumbu, you won’t be bothered by them, so long as you are above Lukla. Some people choose to start in Jiri and trek to Lukla, though, and there are Maoists there and they will confront you for donations. Americans and Belgians, you will pay the most. Why? Because the US has just decided to give the Nepali government guns, and the rifles that the Nepali Army has are Belgian. How much? Expect up to 5000 rps. At the current going rate of 69 rps = 1 US, that’s a whopping 72 USD each. Brits, you’ll be paying 1000 rps - everyone else, about five to six hundred. That image you see to the left is an authentic Maoist donation receipt from a Brit – 1000 rps.

Moral of the story, if you are US, pretend you don’t have a passport and try to carry around a French book or something to show you aren’t American. Be anything but American, or you will pay. This may be considered spineless and un-patriotic, but tell that to a US trekker who’s allotted 100 for a week or two of trekking.

If some Maoists encounter you and they don’t have guns, we’ve heard of a trekker saying, “No Guns, no money,” and walked away. A little ways up the trail, however, he had another encounter – this time by a large group of Maoists, and all with guns.

Another idea would be to try and forge one of these receipts – the stamp might be difficult to replicate, but hey, the inkjets these days are pretty darn good. There’s no Kinkos in Kathmandu, but you can probably find a receipt from a returning trekker and visit an internet café equipped with a scanner. The only downside is if you get caught by the Maoists showing a fake receipt, well, let’s just say that so far there have been no foreign casualties – don’t be the first. 72 US is rather steep, especially considering trekkers are typical of the frugal type. Trekking in the Annapurna circuit, you will most likely be confronted as well. The Khumbu above Lukla you won’t have to worry about it.

The Maoist rebel insurgency began in 1996 with the goal of replacing the constitutional monarchy with a single-party system. This month saw one of the bloodiest clashes between Nepali troops and the rebels; roughly 500 rebels died. Since the fighting began nearly 9,500 people have died. The rebels are known to treat westerners better than the local population, this however may mean little as there are many reports that show brutal, vicious, and immoral attacks on the Nepali people.

ExplorersWeb image of trekker Dan Wynde's Maoist receipt.
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