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05.06.15     nepal disaster relief effort  

Nepal Disaster Relief Update #7


This video was captured by Michael's Pivothead POV camera and shows some of the obstacles and means Michael and his team gather information.


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05.06.15     nepal disaster relief effort  

Nepal Disaster Relief Update #6



I'm not exactly sure how far we walked but our Sherpa said it was about the 60km range. I do know that the highest we went was about 8800ft. I feel quite sore, but it's the good kind of sore, like it will be a lot easier next time kind of sore. I've filed my reports and data to my team leader and we are aiming for our first distribution to the area in 2 days. I'm really excited for that, but also getting more reports of many villages that haven't been visited. I'll need to get out there again soon and have some ideas to do it faster.


I've been wearing Pivothead sunglasses on this trip, which are basically sunglasses that record video in HD. I used them on our hike and have an edited video of the highlights, but uploading due to bandwidth issues is still a problem. I'll figure something out, it is good footage, despite being a little shaky, but for those who want to see first hand what we do up there it should be interesting.


We saw several villagers carrying 30kg (66lbs) bags of rice up. We are talking about anything from 4-8 hours of hiking, almost all up hill one way. Still working on a helicopter for delivery to some of the deeper villages.


The Widows Mite in action - even though I volunteer for the Salvation Army which is a tremendous organization, with a lot of firepower - I have my own small aid group and have received a few small donations. It's interesting to me that most of the donations came from women who don't have a lot to give, but give what they can. I used about 3-4 of such donations to purchase 2 large USB solar charging panels, and brought them with me to Nepal, "just in case".

On our hike, we ran into two villages who had cell coverage but lost their electricity, and were a few hours away hiking. This makes gathering information and coordinating for deliveries with them almost impossible, as we would need to hike up 3-5 hours to simply talk to them. I called my friends who were picking us up from Kathmandu and told them to bring the solar panels. One of our contacts from a far away village came down the hill with us, and my little charity gave him the panels, one for him and another for a second village on the way. And just like that, less than $100 of donations from these kind women restored communications with 2 villages and over 1100 people.

We have already called both of them, and because of it, the man I'm presenting them to here is now coordinating the information with all 15 villages in his area, about 4000-5000 people for which we can now coordinate a series of deliveries, without needing to hike up. I knew those small donations are powerful, but it awesome to see the result like this.

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05.04.15     nepal disaster relief effort  

Nepal Disaster Relief Update #5



The vast majority of the homes we saw in these mountains were either completely destroyed or damaged to the point of being unsafe to live in. The problem is compounded by the fact a series of landslides have cut off all road access, so the only way in is walking. One village we walked to would take nearly 8 hours from the starting point. The situation is even more worrisome in that while many have huge amounts of crops, those crops won't be ready for another 2-3 months, which means anything they want to eat they have to either already have or carry in.

In this picture, a man and his wife dig through the ruins of their destroyed home looking for their food. The situation in these mountain villages presents some exceptional challenges, and we look forward to figuring it all out together.


One of the villages I'm really worried about takes 7- 8 hours to walk to. They no longer have road access because of landslides triggered my the earthquake, and have a 2 weeks supply of food left. Their crops will be ready in 2 months, but in the mean time, we have to figure out how to feed the 500 people living there, including 300 Buddist monks called "Anni's" which you can see in the top left. I think the only way to go here is helicopter, should be interesting to work out because they are in huge demand.

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05.04.15     nepal disaster relief effort  

Nepal Disaster Relief Update #4



Made it back to Kathmandu tonight. I'll be writing up a full report shortly, but the highlights are that we pretty much walked like crazy, assessed and GPS tagged 8 villages, with about 2500-3000 people. Found a handful of people among them who needed medical attention and luckily had just the right contacts to get 2 of them evacuated by helicopter. I'll update on my blog soon.

It was an epic adventure in service. I've never done anything like it and feel a little surprised the plan actually worked and we are all in one piece. So thankful for all the thoughts, prayers and support.

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05.02.15     nepal disaster relief effort  

Nepal Disaster Relief Update #3: We Made it Up the Mountain


Michael's assistant Kate here. We know a lot of you are worried about Michael's wellbeing. He was able to reach me using his satellite phone. He and the team successfully made the 4 hour trek up the mountain. They have made it to the village safely. They will be staying there for another at least another day.

Many people are in desperate need of medical attention in these remote villages and reaching them is extremely difficult (nearly impossible except by foot). No one has been able to reach them yet. Michael and the team have high hopes of being able to finally give them some relief.

In the meantime Michael wanted everyone to know he is very tired but doing well.

Thank you for your continued support. We will keep you updated as much as possible.

Kate

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05.02.15     nepal disaster relief effort  

Nepal Disaster Relief Update #2: Hiking in Sindhupalchock


Quick update - This is the area we will be hiking in Sindhupalchock - we will be basically all over it. Lots of problems reaching villages due to blocked roads (landslides). There aren't many helicopters in the country and all of them are being used for rescues and evacuations. We hear that many villages have 90-100% loss of homes and the villagers are basically stranded there. We are heading out now so it might be a few days before I can update again. For those interested, Google this area to better understand what is going on.


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05.02.15     tutorial & training videos  

Nikon D7200 Crash Course Training Tutorial Video Available NOW!


Happy to announce that my new Nikon D7200 Crash Course Training Video - CLICK HERE is now available for immediate download!


We cover everything from the basics, composition, digital basics, the D7200 features and operations, the D7200 menu system, video shooting tips and much more, all and all about 4 hours of training.

Save yourself the time and frustration of trying to learn on your own! Check it out today!

You can purchase the download by clicking here: CLICK HERE for Michael's Nikon D7200 Crash Course Training Tutorial Video Download

Purchase the Nikon D7200 Camera HERE

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05.01.15     tutorial & training videos  

Nikon D5500 Crash Course Training Tutorial DVD Now Available!


Our Nikon Nikon D5500 Crash Course Tutorial DVD - CLICK HERE is now available for order. Downloads have been available for sometime, and the physical DVDs are now in stock. If you ordered a download and want a DVD, just contact support@michaelthemaven.com and we will tell you how to send the shipping, $8.95 in the USA and then will get it right out to you. If you order the DVD now, you also get the download as well, with the only extra cost being additional shipping.


Purchase the Nikon D5500 Camera HERE

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05.01.15     nepal disaster relief effort  

Arrived in Nepal with Some Updates



Thoughts and prayers with the people of Nepal. I literally had just finished decompressing and restocking my go bag after returning from ‪Vanuatu‬. I won't go into details, but my family needs all the blessings we can get right now. I've come to learn that where there is great need, there is great opportunity to serve, and we will be always be successful if we give it our best effort in these situations. That is a very comforting feeling, guaranteed success in service.

These trips always center me and make me appreciate how much we have to be thankful for. Right now it's looking like I'll be there for about 3 weeks.



If you are interested in donating to my charity group, you can do so HERE. I always cover my own expenses and 100% of any donations go directly towards the mission on the ground. I should be teaming up with the ‪Salvation Army‬ and other NGO's once I arrive. Thank you everyone for your kind words and support.


There were about 25 other responders heading into Nepal yesterday on my flight. ‪Kathmandu‬ is a huge city though and the affected areas are so spread out it seemed like a tiny amount of workers in comparison. I've arrived safe and am with good friends. I have access to 4x4 transport, translators and a safe place to stay. Trying to line up the right guides to take us out to the smaller villages and should have more information coming soon.


Sherpa planning session. Ok...this is by far about to be the craziest thing I've done on a disaster aid trip. Apparently there is one region that needs a lot of the help. The problem is, the road ends at a certain point and for the most part, so does the aid at the end of that road. The Sherpas and other locals believe the only real way to access the villages that are in desperate need, is by hiking in, "up to 25-30km per day for a few days". It'll take about 6 hours to drive there, and that's when the hiking will start. I'll be with at least one Sherpa and another local who lives there, they both know the area well. If we can get to those villages, assess and GPS tag them, photograph etc, it'll be easier getting more resources out to them, preferably by helicopter. I've never said this on fb or Instagram, but please keep us in your prayers to be protected, safe and successful in bringing aid to these villages.

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04.30.15     photography  

Video: What an Empty Baseball Stadium Sounds Like With No Fans Present


Due to the widespread protests in Baltimore, MD the Orioles game yesterday was closed to the public. In the strangely quiet occurrence all you can hear are the shutter clicks of the many photojournalists in attendance. Check it out below.


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