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  • Writer's pictureLaurel Werner

The Other Side of the World

Greetings and salutations! Sorry for being absent from the blog but I have been traveling through Nepal for the past three weeks on a trip to reach Everest Base Camp (17,500 feet altitude)! The trip was a success and our group of twelve people reached base camp at the foot of Mt. Everest, the tallest mountain in the world! The Himalayas are probably the most beautiful mountains and scenery in the world and I am blessed to have had the opportunity to travel there. We spent two nights at base camp and we got to meet the sherpas who work the ice falls and work for the climbers who are there to summit the highest mountain in the world! I was happy just to see the mountain, stay safely at just over 17,000 feet, and respect just being there.

There were twelve of us in our group, pictured left and led by renowned guide, Eric Murphy. Eric is on the ground front and center in the photo, I am first from the left, seated in the second row. After sixteen days of trekking through the Himalayas, our journey ended at the bottom of Everest mountain, 17, 500 feet.

While I enjoyed the beauty of the Himalayas I took notice of the poverty of the people who live in Nepal. Poverty is not biased nor selfish, it is everywhere, and with everyone. From street kids to the disabled, whether young or old, people need people to make it in life. I went on this trip not to make friends, not because I wanted a "cool" vacation. I went on this trip to learn more about Nepal, to experience the Himalayas, to see more of such a mysterious and legendary country. I asked myself, how I can possibly make a difference on that side of the world? No matter how small a difference, in some stranger's life, simply I went to learn, I went to experience. I met this little boy in a small village along the way. He was wearing flip flops in the cold and a flimsy coat. I only had a few short minutes but gave him my hat and a few rupee in hopes he would give to his mother. While not a big gift, or impactful donation, and I'm sure meeting me was not a life altering experience for him, I felt a small joy thinking maybe he will remember a kindness and maybe be happy for a moment.

While on the trek, I met a holy lama at a temple in Tengboche, a monastery built in 1916. The temple has been destroyed by more than one earthquake, and always rebuilt by the monks. The monks pray, meditate, and chant all day every day. They are faithful servants to the community, to each other, to Buddha. The lama was in the temple praying (chanting) and we went individually by the alter to give our respects and I caught his eye and he smiled. A little later on he was in the lodge sitting by himself and I asked if I could buy him a tea, beer, soda, and he said he would love a hot chocolate! His english was good and we spoke for over an hour about life's gifts, poverty, and personal challenges. He encouraged me to, "Help those less fortunate, meditate on your life, and be kind." All simple advice but oh so meaningful.

The photo on the left is of boys in a school learning how to use computers! They were actually looking at Facebook and then they asked me about President Trump. They asked about what I do, and I told them that I run a foundation building schools in Tanzania and showed them photos of KiliTech and the kids in Tanzania. They loved that! The school is in Namche and has three classrooms, built by individuals, or foundations, and the teacher was asking me if KiliTech could build a classroom for them in the future? I said we would try!

The photo to the right of the "satellite" looking dish thing is actually how they heat water! The silver reflects the sun's rays and heats the kettle of water to boiling! The water is then used for tea or washing. Power is limited, most lodges use solar power, and this is how they heat water. Few places had running water and because of the time of year all the running water was frozen anyway!

There was a memorial on the mountain for all the climbers and sherpas who have died doing their jobs, doing what they love, while climbing Mt. Everest. Around three hundred climbers have died climbing Mt. Everest and over 4,000 sherpas have died. In his book, "Disposable Man," Grayson Schaffer tells the story of how deadly the profession of Sherpas and guiding climbers through the Himalayas and climbing Mt. Everest. Photo below are the sherpas who came to meet us at base camp and were were waiting for the mountain climbers to arrive and train the two months it takes to attempt the summit of Mt. Everest. Some have made the summit of Everest five times and they all risk their lives so that people can reach the 29,029 foot summit.

"Be kind, meditate on your life, and help those less fortunate!" Words to live by!



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