Hidden away on the Tibetan Plateau at a height of 3500m and 800 miles west of Chengdu lies the small town of Dengke (in Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture). Technically situated in China’s largest Province of Sichuan, and strongly influenced by Tibetan culture, the people are warm and friendly but often struggling with both a severe climate and medical deprivation (leprosy is not uncommon).
Savage hailstorms, blistering sunshine and gale force winds frequently occur in 24-hour cycles creating 60°C temperature extremes even in late Spring. Indeed these were the conditions encountered by the World Record breaking Sino-British Hovercraft Expedition to China when they set up their first medical and scientific base there in May 1990, en route to the Source of the River Yangtze. Such was the goodwill created by the Expedition that the Governor of Sichuan Province and the Chinese Academy of Sciences left the Team an open invitation to return to this usually “closed area” to rekindle the ties of friendship and mutual kindness – a priceless opportunity!
Whilst Dengke is of course our main focus, we have also had opportunities to help elsewhere in the region. Whether through construction projects or unscheduled mountain rescues, the team is always willing and ready to lend a hand when required.