If you’ve visited this page before, you might remember that I hoped to trek to Everest Camp for the first anniversary of Mum’s death (12.10.16), or on her birthday in April 2017, to raise money (most likely for the Red Cross or for the Nepal Earthquake Appeal). I’ve been wanting to do this trip for nearly ten years – ever since I registered interest for my former school’s community trip but had to pull out due to work commitments. Wilderness School, in South Australia, supports the Bhadure School in the Annapurna region of Nepal and often organises trips for the wider school community (old scholars and parents) to help with projects in at the school or to a health centre in Junbesi. A trip had been scheduled to help with re-building Junbesi, which was badly damaged in the 2015 earthquakes, but this was postponed to April 2017. My Challenge 5 trip was due to be done in that month, so I considered options for swapping around Challenges 4, 5 and also Challenge 6, and looked for another re-building project arranged trip that I can join in October 2016.
Why Nepal in 2016?
As October 12th will be an emotional day for me – one year on from losing mum and also from having to leave my work contract (I’m self-employed) to travel to the funeral and my sister’s wedding. However rather than dwell, there are hundreds of thousands of people in Nepal who not only lost loved ones in seconds in April 2015, but also their livelihoods and home. I had a great support network after Mum died and the ability to find more work, but those affected by natural disasters on a mass scale can’t do that. Re-building the tourism industry and wider businesses is vital to Nepal as the earthquake damage bill alone was 50% of the country’s GDP. I intend to write about the personal experiences of remembering mum on the anniversary, and being at one of the highest places on Earth (and therefore feeling close to her), but also about being humbled by the sheer scale of loss experienced by others.
The trip is on!
So I’ve now booked! I evaluated a lot of options, including charity treks and ‘voluntourism’ (not sure that’s the right word!) and eventually decided to choose to book through Trailfinders on two Exodus trips with a mini-extension between them. It was important to me to choose a trip that gave porters employment and stayed in tea houses that missed out on so much vital revenue since the earthquake. I also had attended Exodus’s evening ‘Himalaya: One Year On’ which showed so much of the devastation in videos, but more importantly videos showing what the company had helped achieve in rebuilding and health clinics since. The footage also included some hilarious videos of the porter’s families which really showed the resilience and humour of the Nepalese people. (p.s. if you click on the link to the event blog above, you can watch some of the videos).
So the decision now made and the training begins! My itinerary is below: