The Humli people are strongly connected to the natural world, and the way they live requires this. Most villagers do not have running water or electricity and they rely solely on the food they grow and harvest themselves. There is a direct relationship between nature and their survival. The Humli people view the natural world as sacred and alive with forces that are visible and invisible. This way of intimately relating to the elements of earth, water, fire, air and space is interwoven throughout every aspect of the culture. Shamanism is an ancient form of healing practiced in Humla to restore balance to nature and the physical body. The shamans are the primary doctors and community leaders who find solutions to problems afflicting the community. The shamans are consulted by the villagers for a wide range of concerns, such as physical and mental illnesses, weather, harvest, protection, family and community relationships. As Humla slowly modernizes, this powerful and valuable form of healing and relating to life, to one another and to the environment is at risk of being lost.
In October 2014, at the request of the Torpa Village elders, Humla Fund donated the capital to assist the shamans and community in rebuilding two of their temples, which were in disrepair. One is the main shaman temple and the other a women’s temple. The donated funds will ensure solid and adequate shelter for the entire community to be able to gather for festivals and rituals at the main temple. The women’s temple is being completely rebuilt and will serve as a sacred space for the women of the village to gather, pray and reconnect with their inherent inner wisdom and to support each other. The women of this village feel strongly that the support to rebuild their temple will empower them to make decisions about what happens in their lives, homes and communities. Rebuilding the women's temple is a crucial part of the effort to invest women in Humla with greater influence in their homes and community.
The preservation of this rich shamanic tradition is a kind of stewardship of the earth and one another. It is relevant to all of us, as we all share one planet and the elements of earth, water, fire, air and space. The shamans are the wisdom keepers, promoting a sacred, healing relationship with the natural environment. This relationship and support for the ancient shamanic tradition contributes to the world’s larger growing collective respect for the natural environment that must evolve if we are to avoid degrading the quality of human existence.