Talking with the Hindu ascetics at Pashupatinath during a day of sightseeing. Photo by Brett Woody.
After a few days R&R in Kathmandu, it’s time to turn around and do it all over again…the stiff climbs, the steep descents, the landscape turning from lush to stark, the stars extra crisp in the sky with less intervening atmosphere. We meet Lama Geshe, play baseball with our sherpas, reach the peak of Kala Patar and the wind-whipped tents of Everest Base Camp before heading down, down, down, over 10,000 feet to the narrow airstrip in Lukla and on to Kathmandu.
Monks at Tengboche blow conch shells announcing the time for afternoon prayers.
Tiger-headed Bardo figures painted on a wall.
From a land still green to high above…
A blessing from Lama Geshe. Photo by Neil Asaba.
Everest Base Camp with prayer flags strung, meaning everyone is ready to climb!
Catching air over 14,000 feet is harder than it looks — but everyone is happy enough to try!
Strong Sherpa Mama says, “No cash refunds!”
When I visited the family in Phakding who had originally taken Maya in, I learned that Maya’s father had heard she’d been placed in a foreign-run orphanage in Kathmandu. He had come to demand some money (now that rich foreigners were involved). The strong wife of the family laughed at him and said no way. She had a signed paper stating that he’d given Maya away and didn’t want her. If he wanted a refund, she would give him his child back. He wasn’t interested in that.
Maya’s father is still a drunk, and I hear he beats his new wife. All the Sherpa families say how lucky Maya is, and I have to agree. Her life is completely changed by the interest and support of our trekking groups. I know there are thousands of children like her in the world, but it feels pretty powerful to have changed the course of even one. I’m so grateful for everyone’s support!
Having a 6-year-old is exhausting but fun. It has caused me to learn 6 months of parenting lessons, fears, and joys in about 3 days:
–No clothes will ever be clean for a second day of wear. Ever again.
–Tying your own shoes is supremely important, even if they come unlaced in 10 minutes.
–Beef jerky, bananas, and rice crackers are much easier snacks than say, japanese tempura.
–The best color is PINK. The more, the better.
–Actually, bananas are a mess, too.
–Children should take baths instead of showers so they don’t slip and kill themselves while washing their hair and dancing.
–Your food is whatever they don’t eat.
–Waking up to a cracker on the pillow next to you should not surprise you, even if you never saw the crackers.
–A sick child will generate a whole new breed of worry.
–Children are amazingly resilient and bounce back like I wish I could.
–Other people will feed your child sugar at every opportunity.
–The cutest clothing accessory may be 5-inch shoes placed neatly in the corner when you weren’t looking…unless it’s a scarf tossed jauntily over a tiny shoulder.
–It takes 6 years or less to form strong opinions.
–Holding hands is fun.
–Careful: Someone is watching you. All the time.
I just want to say to every parent I know: I have renewed respect and admiration for each and every one of you. Oh yes I do.
Here’s the video. Need I say more?