Pauline volunteered to lead a two week trip in Nepal to raise money for IYH. There were 7 keen participants and they are now loyal members of the IYH club.
The trip started in Kathmandu but soon moved to the Everest region. This involved the world famous flight to Lukla aka 'the worlds most dangerous flight'. Our intrepid explorers were not put off by this misdescription and instead were in awe of how low and close this 2 prop plane could go to the mountains. There is sometimes a fine line between awe and horror.
The next 8 days saw them trek up and down in the foothills of Mt. Everest, surrounded by some of the highest and most spectacular scenery in the world. Needless to say there was the inevitable chat about digestive systems given the effects of altitude and Asian food sources. However, along with the fantastic Sherpa team from Equator Expditions, every day was full of laughter a ridiculous amount of bad humour.
The highlight of the trek was waking up in Tengboche and going to the morning puja ceremony at 7am where 2 monks allowed us to sit through their religious ceremony. It was a wonderful time to reflect on how lucky we had been with the weather, the group and life in general. Along with this went a huge amount of posing in front of Ama Dablam and Mt. Everest. Why? Because it is there!
Our trek ended with an equally exciting flight back to Kathmandu from Lukla and just as many nervous giggles and adrenalin driven 'whoops!' . It really is a very short runway off a very big cliff!
Our next stop was to go and visit the school that this trekking trip will be helping to fund. Sita Primary School has up to 135 primary school children. This is an opportunity to help children have a better future. All the team were hands on especially Mhiari. Was this sewing the seed of a future IYH teacher volunteer?
Pauline had great fun trying to copy all the tricks she had learnt from watching Jane Halsall work her magic teaching English at the opening of our other school In Bishinagar. She may have enjoyed it more than the children!
All the team left feeling that this was a worthwhile and quite emotional visit. The financial support coming from the proceeds of their trek meant more than it had ever felt before. Their contribution will be making a difference to so many children's lives.
However, there was still more fun to be had while doing good. We arrived at Sukete Beach Resort on the banks of the Bhote Kosi river for a day of rafting and rock jumping. Although the river was not at its highest, it still provided enough adrenalin moments for the team as they ran rapids, got stuck on rocks and jumped from boulders.
We finished with a tour of the oldest city in the Kathmandu valley, Bhaktapur. It was a mix of fascination and sorrow. The city was badly effected by the earthquake and has lost many temples and buildings that have been there for hundreds of years. There is a rebuild programme in operation and enough of the city to continue as normal so all is not lost and the Nepalese spirit of resilience shines threw as strongly as ever.
The team had an exceptional few weeks sharing adventures in the mountains, rivers and cities of Nepal. They saw snapshots of the devastation of the earthquake and the inspirational stories and opportunities that they are part of in making Nepal a better and stronger place for the future generations.
Huge thanks to the team, Paul Ratigan, Mhairi Martin, Mike Blanchard, Will Watson, Helen Hawkins, Jo and Camilla Diamond. Also, the team from Equator Expeditions who made the whole experience go with clockwork precision which is quite something in Asia.
The funds raised from this trip will be going to Sita Primary School.