October 25, 2015
Dear Family & Friends:
Today, started with a departure blessing from the owner of the Panorama Tea House. This was an incredibly kind gesture.
After the blessing, we trekked to Khumjung, which is at an elevation of 12,600 feet. There was considerable earthquake damage in Khumjung, and the rebuilding is in process.
The Hillary School is in Khumjung, but classes were not in session because of the holiday. The Hillary School educates children through grade ten. The children come from long distances, including as far away as Thame. The children trek to school, in some cases as long as 3 hours each way. The trekking can involve an elevation gain of over 1,500 feet, and they trek in all weather, including rain, wind and snow.
We visited the hospital in Kunde, which is the next village up from Khumjung. My friend, Mingma Tshering Sherpa is a doctor at the hospital. He showed us around the facility. Mingma and the senior physician live at the hospital year-around.
The Kunde Hospital treats injuries, gastritis, infections, hypertension, diabetes, and various forms of illness. They have an x-ray machine, but they do not perform surgeries. They deliver about 3 babies per month, and a 9 pound baby boy was born just this morning (no pain medication for Moms in the mountain villages).
The young sister of a close friend of my family passed away recently. She was very talented at making bracelets and jewelry items. I brought several of those items with me to give to the people of Nepal. I gave an item of jewelry to the new Mom and her baby boy. You can see the bracelet around the wrist of the Mom. This same wonderful family made a $100 donation to the hospital and a $100 donation to the Hillary School.
Tomorrow morning, we trek to Dole.
We have an incredibly tight and close group, almost like we have been lifelong friends. Everyone is feeling well and doing great. This is the best mountain team I have ever had the privilege to trek and climb with. Captain Challenge keeps us in stitches with his non-stop jokes, stories and made-up songs.
Be sure to check out our location on my website at the Burke-Khang 2015/Where’s Bill? link.
ps: here is a recent article about our mountain that appeared in Outside Magazine