17th March 2014

So here we are again

Bhim and I hit the main Everest trail and within 5 minutes I had seen twice the amount of trekkers than I had in the whole of the last week!

We pushed on as I knew we were catching the guys up – texts flying between me, Namgel and Roger updating on our whereabouts. Soon they arrived in Phakding for lunch – we pressed on again with minimal breaks.

But soon we saw Birkha and his client having lunch so decided to have a quick teabreak (OK, it may have been chyaang…) with them. We had a final team shot before leaving them to finish their lunch.

Through Ghat and pushing on in the sunshine up to Phakding. 20mins out we texted through our lunch order. We came up the hill into Lower Phakding and there they were!

Cue massive hugs all round – we were back together and ready to start our next adventure.

The guys had decided against pushing onto Monjo – tonight we would stay in Phakding. Lunch was done, tearful goodbyes to Bhim and we headed off to our teahouse

Spent an interesting evening watching a Japanese couple sink beer after beer, after bottle of local rum after beer! Better than a soap opera!

Next day and Namche beckoned. Off we set up through the pine forest through the dusty trail winding up and down steep stairs. Over a bridge and uphill into Monjo and the Park entrance – cue group photo!

Quick lunch stop in Jorsalle with our friend Kumar (from Rocham) and we were heading upwards towards Namche and the new high bridge. Cue another team shot, this time in the middle of the bridge.

Namche Hill, aren’t things like this supposed to get easier? Good god I had forgotten the pain of that!  We carried on, up, up, up and then when we were done with that, up a bit further!!  Roger kept promising sprite and coconut crunchees when we got to the army checkpoint……but when we got there the shop was shut!

We were allowed through and had soon made our way up the killer steps and into Namche which can mean only one thing – coffee and apple pie x4 in Everest Bakery.

An inventive night ensued in Cafe Danphe fuelled by much Everest Beer – tomorrows filming with the yaks would be brilliant! One problem though – we were locked out of our teahouse and the weather had closed in so we couldn’t get any signal on our phones to call anyone.  The intrepid explorers known as Nads and Hazel headed round to the back of the teahouse and managed to get someone to come and let us in, lots of giggles all round.

The next day dawned bright and sunny – perfect filming conditions. A quick shopping trip round Namche ensured we had the right equipment for our shoot. Much hilarity was caused by us walking through the town with our makeshift mike and sound boom! The yaks arrived with Dorje and the interviews started. Roger has clearly missed his calling! Lots of videos and lots of pictures taken – we were ready to finish this part of our project

Early start so that we could walk along the trail with the yaks – oh and we had woken up to snow!! The pictures on the trail looked amazing before the sun hit, the shadow of the mountains, the snow, the yaks, and only us guys on the trail made it a magical couple of hours.

We smashed the Tengboche Hill and arrived at the monastery with our yaks – cue more pix!

A dodgy dash down the muddy and slippy hill to Deboche and we were safely at our next stop, Namgel’s sisters tealodge

Another bright sunny morning with amazing views of Everest and the yaks were loaded ready for the last leg of the journey – 4000 books to Pangboche seemed so ambitious last September, but we’d nearly done it!

A couple of hours later I found myself taking the perfect picture. I dropped back to get the yaks on the trail – then I realised, in one shot I had Everest, the school and our yaks – it was too much for me, we’d come so far and yes, of course I blubbed like a baby!

Roger came round the corner and we had a mutual hug and a proud look up at the school, then we headed off to catch up the yaks. Quick tea break for us and porridge break for the yaks and we headed up the hill to the school.

All the kids were lined up to greet us with prayer scarves and each of them said in perfect English “Thank you, welcome to our school” we all received numerous scarves then were ushered into the main hall for our welcome programme, more scarves and dancing by the children with a couple of speeches by the locals.

We unpacked some of the books and gave out rucksacks bubbles and balloons to very excited and happy children who then all unpacked their rucksacks and proceeded to fill them with their new found booty.

So many pictures, so many happy smiling faces, when we came back to our teahouse we were a very happy team. But there was still more to do.

Next morning we had a late start – didn’t need to be at the school until 10.30. Dorje arrived and we all set off up the hill via the easy route this time.

The kids were in the middle of PE when we arrived. We went through plans with the locals for where the playground would be then headed back to the classrooms, we had work for these kids to do!

There were special photoframes to sign and Roger and Nadine had a production line going in one room. Next door Richard and I had the kids drawing pictures of their school. It was a very productive morning.

More pics of kids with new SJP tshirts and looking at their new tablets then we got some of them out in the sunshine reading to us from their new books. This was awesome. They all read so well, stumbling on some words, asking their teacher then being confident enough to ask me. I sat next to them happy to have my sunglasses on so they couldn’t see my tears!

After lots more photos and video of the kids with the books, twister appeared! Nads explained the rules and the kids got it immediately and were soon fighting to take part. In the shadow of both Everest and Ama Dablam, a game of twister was finally happening – Matty Forbes would be so proud!

Then we were back in the main hall watching another meeting happening and, although it all being conducted in Nepali, we got the dymanics of what was going on! A new committee was being formed and both Namgel and Dorje were going to be heavily involved which pleased us. Turns out it’s a building committee to ensure the school playground happens smoothly.   Namgel will be the man in Kathmandu liaising with the NYF for us.

45 mins later the meeting was over, the committee had been formed, the minutes had been written up in triplicate and signed by the movers and shakers – everyone was happy!

We were waved off with more prayer scarves from the teachers and committee members and we headed back down to our lodge to celebrate a job well done!

4000 books delivered and the start of our plan to improve the school facilities…..Raju from the NYF will take this forward for us along with the help of Dorje and Namgel. (more details of our projects can be found at http://www.supportingnepalschildren.org.uk )

So now we can start to have a little bit of fun and enjoy the next week in the hills as just 5 mates enjoying a bimble round the hills!

Thanks for bearing with me – hope I haven’t rambled on too much! Next instalment to follow soon, probably from KTM when the other guys leave to head back to the UK and I then have an extra week to explore and catch up with new found friends!

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