Obama to open middle-class jobs, opportunity tour Aiming to show he's still focused on creating jobs, President Barack Obama is beginning a series of quick trips around the country to resurrect ideas from his State of the Union address that became overshadowed by the intense debates over gun control, immigration and automatic spending cuts. More
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When I asked the team leader of Camp Hope what gifts to bring the kids from America, I was surprised by her answer.
“Brings books about the Titanic,” said Sangita Shrestha, a Kathmandu hotelier who opened the compound for earthquake survivors in May 2015.
First of all, the 81 children in the well-organized tent camp had experienced a terrifying event of their own: the devastating earthquakes last April and May that destroyed 11 villages in their home district of Sindhupalchowk, about a four-hour drive northeast of Kathmandu.
 the Titanic’s watery demise is an exotic saga in landlocked Nepal, squeezed between Tibet and India.
When I first visited Camp Hope in October 2015, I’d been astonished by the equanimity with which the 350 residents — especially the camp’s 88 children — had weathered their uprooting.
Sangita Shrestha’s sense of organization (she’s managing director of Kathmandu’s legendary Dwarika’s Hotel) has made this project sing.
In the kitchen tent, a cook stirred rice in a huge cauldron; a peaceful meditation tent was decorated with traditional Buddhist paintings.
Trekkers in the Khumbu region, the popular route to Everest Base Camp, will find that the self-starting Sherpas — who have a ton of western support — are making dazzling progress rebuilding their homes and lodges.
 closer to the earthquake’s epicenter, and in less-traveled areas like Nepal’s lush middle hills, villagers are far more challenged.
Tourists in Kathmandu can get a sense of these challenges by stopping in at Camp Hope, a visit that usually begins by speaking to someone at the camp’s small office at Dwarika’s.
The owners donated five good digital cameras, which are now in the hands of all the children.
Neema is the camp coordinator for the cameras, keeping a detailed ledger recording who’s taken which pictures, where and when.
With her peaceful round face, wide eyes and frank curiosity, she remembers the events of April 25, 2015 like a natural storyteller.
A year later, with the 2016 monsoon approaching, Nepal’s fractured government still has no credible plan to help its homeless and endangered citizens rebuild.
Though my own involvement with earthquake relief is esoteric, travelers with practical skills can also get involved.
“The first step in rebuilding was doing a geologic study,” she told me in the tree-filled courtyard of the historic hotel (managed by Sangita Shrestha).
“They can build temporary tin-roof shacks until we supply the materials they need to rebuild their permanent homes,” Bastos said.
Thanks to strictly egalitarian principles (there’s no caste system) and wise direction, Camp Hope has become a microcosm of Nepal’s future.
Many of the kids had just passed their advanced school exams; there was a real sense of playfulness, and a palpable conviction that anything was possible.
In the latest of what has become a cottage industry of “before-you-die” travel books, Chris Santella includes bedding down in the great outdoors in the usual places (including Big Sur), but also in Tasmania, Botswana, France, Croatia and Thailand, among others.
Though Swedish-style camping may be a bit less restic than Americans might be used to, it is certainly popular — during the summer, more Swedes stay at campgrounds than in hotels or youth hostels.