The café, owned and
operated by husband and wife Dale and Bethsaba Nafziger, and supported
by Mennonite Mission Network, serves as a community gathering place. The
complicated recovery from the South Asian nation’s worst natural
disaster in 80 years has been overwhelming, but the Nafzigers have been
able to count important humble victories: taking part in a
coffee-growing training session in nearby Nuwakot District; being able
to fill up their auto at the pump for the first time in more than six
months; and, finally, seeing the monsoon rains saturate the parched
dry-season earth, and enjoying the fresh mangos that the monsoon season
“The earthquake brought a totally unexpected boon of
emergency relief workers to Nepal,” Dale Nafziger said. “This generated
However, with the relief workers having
now nearly all departed, the present challenge for the café is to
maintain customer volume and hopefully provide more jobs, opportunities,
and eventually reach profitability, he said.
Nepal was known
for farming, but has become more known for exporting migrant workers
who leave to provide for their families. The Nepal Institute of
Development Studies estimates that at least 2.2 million Nepalis (nearly
10 percent of the population) work abroad.
literally no family in Nepal that is immune from the immense social
impacts of what is locally called ‘man power,’” Dale Nafziger said. “Top
of the World Coffee stands against this phenomenon as a testimony that
Nepal is an immensely resource-rich country offering a broad scope of
opportunities … for those who are willing to look for them.”
the Apr. 25, 2015, earthquake, the café became an informal operation
base for a team of volunteers. Dave Mansfield, who, like the Nafzigers,
is supported by Vincent (Pennsylvania) Mennonite Church in the Franconia
Mennonite Conference, led a team of 17 to the heavily damaged outlying
villages – situated well outside Kathmandu, the capital city where
earthquake damage was minimal. The Nafzigers provided a place to store
equipment and to organize medics and aid workers. They connected the
team with Nepalis who were leading efforts and could offer vital
cultural guidance, such as language translation.
7.8-magnitude quake was followed by a 7.3-magnitude aftershock on May
12, 2015. There have been more than 450 aftershocks exceeding Local
Magnitude 4 in the following year. Nearly 800,000 homes were destroyed.
More than 8 million people were affected across 39 districts.
Nepali government has not been able to promulgate an effective
post-earthquake building code. Reports are that millions of committed
reconstruction dollars remain on hold, Dale Nafziger said. The
government estimated rebuilding would cost more than $10 billion. Much
debris has since been cleared, but there has been little reconstruction.
More than 600,000 Nepalis remain in temporary or unsafe housing.