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I am writing this from the mountain village of Lukla at the base of Mt. Everest. We had been a week on the trail visiting some of our most remote schools and students in the foothills. The schools are few and poorly funded; the people are living on what they can grow; and some of the students walk up to four hours a day to get their education. We need to help them.
It’s been over 4 days waiting for the weather to lift so that we can fly back to Kathmandu and have a hot shower. We now find ourselves with clothing so soiled and sweat-soaked they defy ever being clean again.
Landing in Lukla – Not for Sissies
As more and more climbers come down to the Lukla airport from their Everest Base Camp Trek, we find ourselves in good company – all of us stranded at the most dangerous airport in the world waiting for planes to take us back to KTM. Some have international flights which they need to catch and must pay $500 per person for a helicopter flight out! The runway at Lukla is pitched at 15 degrees uphill for short landings and take-offs. The end of the runway drops off a cliff which allows the plane to pick up speed after take-off! The runway is the length of a football field and 1/3 as wide, and each day I wait, the more I am inclined to take that helicopter!
Our little party of five includes a student Nikita and a sponsor Didi from Seattle. I lugged around my laptop in my backpack and now welcome the free time to respond to emails, writing sermons, stories, etc. We were fortunate to arrive just as a three day Buddhist festival (Dumjee) at the local monastery started-lamas, monks, horns, cymbals, masked dancers were all fascinating. There is also a Starbucks, a delightful knockoff with wifi and a happy hour with free popcorn! What more does one need while waiting for the weather to lift!
Meanwhile, in the preceding two months, we have delivered and collected almost 500 of our 600 letters, escorted 9 sponsors around Nepal, held a couple of AAA meetings and countless Film Discussions as part of Social Welfare Club. More immediately, I spent a week with two University of Utah medical experts exploring ways to improve medical care delivery in rural Nepal culminating in a Memorandum of Understanding. More to come.