Monday, November 7, 2011

Namaste To The Men Who Helped Us Climb Mountains:

The Sanskrit greeting 'Namaste' used by Nepali people, literally means "I recognise the Divine in you..." There's something wonderful about a culture that affirms this shared Spirit more than fifty times a day when encountering fellow humans... and it's not just lip-service, people's eyes really light up when the greeting is shared. So I wish Namaste to these gentle men who helped us up and down the mountains: without them we would not have been able to enjoy this amazing journey.

The superb Sanjaya Tripathee, CEO of Sacred Journeys Nepal... from the moment we set foot on Nepali soil, Sanjaya cared for us so incredibly well, making everything about travelling in Nepal seem easy. He opened Kathmandu and the Himalayas to us in ways that would otherwise have seemed impenetrable. His wisdom and support are precious gifts indeed. Before his current incarnation, Sanjay worked for 10 years in Everest Rescue, saving people daily from impending death due to altitude sickness, or from accidents in the mountains. He now works for an NGO improving the conditions of disadvantaged people in Nepal, as well as managing and fundraising in support of an orphanage of 18 small children in Kathmandu. He is also training in Craniosacral therapy, Massage and singing-bowl healing. His kindness and generosity are inspiring beyond measure. Check out the Sacred Journeys website for future adventures into the Heart of Nepali culture.

The delightful Danhe - who could help but feel happy with this sweet man looking after you?! Danhe is almost psychic in his ability to anticipate people's needs - he looked after our group with the utmost of care and cheerfulness. He is 26 years old and a father of two girls and has worked with travellers in the mountains for 10 years. If you want someone to take you to Tibet or the wilder parts of Nepal, Danhe is your man.

The wonderful Ballaram, the Uncle of the Nepali porters who helped us so kindly up and down the Himalayan mountains carrying our excess baggage.  "Slowly, Slowly..." Ballaram said to us on more than one occasion, "One Step, One Breath..." Ballaram has been working in the mountains of the Everest region for the past 27 years. The other porters below are his relatives - his son, his brother-in-laws and his nephews.

This handsome young man is Ballaram's youngest son, who at 16 was experiencing working as a porter for the first time. He was on his school holidays and all his uncles and relations were telling him he should stay at school so he has options to do other things in his life. Portering is hard work, and though done with amazing grace and cheerfulness by these strong and gentle men, they all wish for another life for the next generation.

Notice the footwear?! While the westerners were decked out with ankle-supporting hiking boots, trekking poles and tiny day-packs, half of the group of gentle porters were strolling up the 'hillside' in a pair of thongs or flip-flops, and all the while carrying over 50kg of luggage each! Experience (or lack of it in our case!) shows!!!

and here's all of us just after we had completed our 12 day journey together - the organisers, the porters and the participants in the Beth Yahp WritingWorks / Sacred Journeys Nepal Himalayan Trek 2011. NAMASTE all!