Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Psst! We Love our Job!

As we walk the lonely trails of the Khumbu today we are among only a very small number of

trekkers and next to no climbers during what is normally the busiest tourism season for Himalayan routes. Some lodge and homeowners qualified for government loans ranging from $20,000US to $40,000US to rebuild after the earth quake are now left in a situation of considerable loss paying 15%
Will Goodon photo: Dry peaks, empty lodges. 
interest on these loans.

Budgets were extended to bring in enough food and fuel to accommodate what they had hoped would be a healthy come back of tourists. Sadly this is not the case. I've never seen it so quiet and everyone is starting to get very concerned what will become of their businesses and livelihood.

Many Sherpa families educate their children in private schools in Kathmandu or abroad,  and some are fortunate to afford sending them to universities.  Many men in the city and remote villages are leaving the country to work in place like Dubai and may never have the means to return again as they have to pay back their airfare,  or worse yet, die.

Excerpt: Asianews.it

Many Nepali migrant workers dying in Saudi Arabia, but Riyadh blames "natural causes"
by Christopher Sharma 
Since 2000, more than 7,500 Nepalis working in Arab countries have died under suspicious circumstances: 3,500 in Saudi Arabia alone, 65 since October 2013. Kathmandu launches an investigation to shed light on the deaths. Doctors and human rights groups blame torture and violence against foreign workers.

In Qatar-One Nepalese migrant worker dies every two days.  http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/23/qatar-nepal-workers-world-cup-2022-death-toll-doha

As a guide myself working the mountains alongside my Sherpa staff,  I get really miffed at the press who portray outfitters as "forcing" our staff to work in their beautiful homeland sharing it with the world while being at arms length to their families allowing them to go home for rest days and play with their children, hug their wives and go back to work in a day or two. They are working with their brothers and friends. Each season the excitement builds for them as they prepare for the season, just like guides at home. They love it! I love it! all guides love this work. The rewards are incredible and yes there is risk but not as much as industrial hazards. There! I said it!  I don't know any guide that doesn't love his job. My wife doesn't like me being at risk climbing just like my friends wives don't like it, but it's what I do, it's what they do, and we all love it. We share the beauty- the experience and  offer safe approaches to the sport and teach respect of the environment while doing it.

Mountaineering and heli-skiing have preserved mountains for sometime.  In Canada there was an
Will Goodon receiving Lama Geshe's blessing for safe passage.
Lama Geshe is second to the Dali Lama. 
area I guided in that was slated to be logged. Those forest stands were spared because our operator was able to prove that more tax dollars could be created for the Canadian government in tourism dollars than if if they logged it and cashed out the idilic skiable terrain.

I see the same situation here whereas the Khumbu's mountains could easily be ripped open and mined

in the future because of the thirst of the two super powers on each of it's borders. Or perhaps power plants being built alongside streams of what was once famed trekking routes. I fear this, I fear this a lot.  It will be a very sad day not hearing the yak bells strolling, or the Sherpa men and woman singing as they work the trails. Sad, sad day!

Ok, that's my rant!  We are all doing good up here. Visited Lama Geshi today in Pangboche and everyone is now peacefully sleeping in Pheriche. Pangboche took a beating from the earth quake, many of the homes here are very very old and not built very well. Lots of reconstruction has gone on here.

We're all together and looking forward to our outing tomorrow to acclimatize before moving up to camp and in a few days make a summit bid on Lobuche East at 6145m.

On ward and upward!


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