Rinzin was the videographer and producer of “Mingmar,” a 24-hour shoot from our Lives in Transit series. In Mingmar, Rinzin tells the story in one day of living in a subsistence economy in a remote village in the mountains of Nepal with a dangerous and difficult path to obtaining currency for purchasing outside goods.
My wife and I first met Rinzin in 2011 when he was our guide to the Tsum Valley in Nepal. Far more than a guide, he was a videographer, story-teller, local activist, and humorist. It seemed he knew everyone in the valley and he introduced us to his parents, brother, sister, aunt, and many friends, and we stayed with some of them during our trek. He became a friend, and eventually a videographer for Global Lives, as the producer for “Mingmar”.
Rinzin was an amazing person. Always cheerful, with a grin that lit up the space around him, he was interested in everything and had a wicked sense of humor. He seemed to effortlessly span the distance from his rural remote village to modern Kathmandu. He was the first person in his valley to go to school in Kathmandu and to be schooled beyond elementary grades. He was deeply rooted in his valley, and after the 2015 earthquake, arranged for several helicopters-full of supplies and food to fly to Tsum, then organized the local youth group to build a demonstration earthquake-resistant house and help distribute supplies. In Kathmandu, he made a video for the hospital on recycling that was used to promote the hospital and recycling in Kathmandu. As a videographer, he was always looking for projects. After we trekked with him, we put him in touch with the Global Lives Project, and he shot and produced the video about Mingmar, now one of the Lives in Transit videos.
Two years ago, Rinzin started feeling ill, and was diagnosed with liver cancer. He needed a new liver and no one in his family was eligible to donate. Eventually one of the monks in Tsum who was distantly related, matched, and was willing to donate, so Rinzin got a liver transplant. He had rejection problems. His transplant and follow up care was in India, a long bus ride or costly flight away, but he made the journey many times. As difficult as things were, he was always cheerful and interested in the rest of the world.
Finally, in Fall 2019, it looked like he had turned the corner and was beginning to get better. We had planned a trip to Nepal and arranged to visit with him in Kathmandu. We had a wonderful time with him, and he cooked us a special meal, since he had to be careful of his food. Over the winter, his health took a turn for the worse, as apparently his liver cancer had metastasized. This spring, he ended up back in the hospital in India, just as Coronavirus struck, so he was isolated. While in the hospital, he contracted pneumonia and died quickly. He was 34 years old.
We miss a good friend, a force for support of his local community, and an amazing spirit. We are glad that his contribution to Global Lives lives on as a memorial to him.
by Glenn Fisher, Board President, and Global Lives volunteer for the past 5 years.