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Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite
No Mountain Too High: Village Development in Nepal by Rod Setterlund is an inspiring travel memoir that recollects the triumphs and dedication that went into helping a whole community develop over a span of 20 years. In 1999, Setterlund met Chandra while on a trek, and that was the beginning of his love affair with a small village named Tawal on the hilly edge of Kathmandu. The more he visited the area, the more he realized how bad living conditions were in Tawal. Political tension, pressure from the Maoist rebellion and the Nepalese Army, and the lack of clean water were just the tip of the iceberg. Even with AusAID to support the projects, Setterlund had a hard time introducing modern medicine, creating opportunities for the locals, and convincing them to accept development. However, Setterlund and the other people who believed in the project did everything they could to help the little village of Tawal.
It was hard to imagine people living in such conditions. As someone born and raised in a big city, I had only heard of such issues faced by people who lived far away from cities and modern life. Reading this story inspired me. The narrative had a simple, cohesive, and direct approach. Rod Setterlund went right to the point and shared his 20 years of hard work integrating himself into a foreign community to help improve their lives. He showed how hard it was to help Tawal and its people; the last chapter is a handbook for readers who want to make a difference in the world. It reminded me of Three Cups of Tea by David Oliver Relin and Greg Mortenson in the best way possible. I highly recommend this book because it deserves just as many awards, if not more.