Saturday, June 20, 2015

Trevor leaves Nepal

Mingma's monsoon shelter.
Now we wait. We wait out the monsoons that will dump four feet of rain upon northern Nepal. The photo above shows the shelter Trevor and Mingma built for his family. They will last out the rains there, until we arrive to begin construction this October. It will be a tough haul for people who have already endured plenty, but now they know help is coming. 

Trevor flew home from Kathmandu today. During his time in Nepal he accomplished everything we had set out to do, and then some.  But the months ahead will be busy times at One Sherpa Home. We will turn over designs to our engineering team, begin ordering materials, consult with our Board, and generate media exposure while our fundraising continues. I will be introducing you to the members of our construction team, and sharing the ins and outs of what goes into building a home at 13,000 feet, half a world away. Stay tuned. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Friends in high places.

Networking in Kathmandu.
Trevor has spent the last few days hunkered down at the Hotel Tibet in Kathmandu. Anxious to assemble his findings into a formal report owed to the Board of One Sherpa Home, he has tapped away at his laptop while drinking copious doses of strong Nepalese coffee. This report, now in excess of 25 pages, includes sketches, interviews, measurements, and detailed assessments that will prove vital as we plan our mission in the months ahead. 

But, being Trevor, he has also engaged in extensive networking among locals who share his passion for helping the people of Nepal. Pictured above, Trevor dined recently with "an Everest Guide, top Professors, famous Nepalese actors, the Chief of Police, a world renown surgeon, and the director of Nepal's second largest relief organization." These are good friends to have in a country where the right phone call can make anything happen. 

For my own part, I connected with an important businessman from Vancouver, B.C. during my flight to Munich yesterday. He took particular interest in the mission of One Sherpa Home. When I showed him photos of the devastation in Nepal, the lone crumbling school in Phortse caught his eye. As a member of the West Vancouver School Board, he immediately seized on the teaching opportunity that would exist in adopting the reconstruction of this vital resource  ...One Sherpa School???? We exchanged information with the promise that I would make an Everest Presentation to kick off the discussions. 

Meanwhile, the tragic news of a church shooting in Charleston, S.C. has filled the media and, with it, another national discussion about the darkness we are capable of. But the experiences of Trevor and I attest to a much greater light that shines upon all we humans can be, all that we truly are, and the broad-based caring we pour forth to heal man's wounds. 


Monday, June 15, 2015

Settled on a design.

Trevor's rendering of the proposed rebuild. 
This is the design that Trevor and Mingma settled on. Though it would have been both easier and cheaper to build a single-story structure, the norms of Sherpa culture are such that doing so would have relegated Mingma to a much lower place in the social order of the village. As we are trying to remain sensitive to such intricacies, our final plan will include a second story, which should also allow the family to resume the traditional practice of housing livestock in the ground floor. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

First report from Phortse

Trevor returned to Namche last night and began posting the first images of the earth quakes destruction in Phortse. Scenes like the one above were all too common. Buildings like this one will be salvaged for their windows and doors, then torn to the ground. 

This home was probably doing OK until that giant boulder (now sitting in the living room) came crashing down into it. 

The monastery in Phortse held up quite well. 
But the school did not. 
Ditto the community center. 
Mingma's outhouse and rain barrel survived just fine. 
But his home, not so much. Walls that didn't come down entirely were so structurally damaged that they may as well have. 
This corner of Mingma's home stood through the quakes, but the fissure running down the side of it promises to drop the adjacent wall onto the roof of his neighbor. 

Part of Mingma's roof has been reinforced and a small corner tarped off inside. However Trevor has judged the structure unsafe for living in and has urged Mingma to keep his family clear. So for now they will last out the monsoon season under a makeshift shelter, improved by Trevor and Mingma, while they wait for our team to arrive this October. And indeed the monsoons have begun. Here is a short clip Trevor posted, announcing the arrival of the rains. 

Mingma and Trevor, visiting the home of Phinjo Sherpa.

Saturday, June 13, 2015


This is the village of Phortse. It is not a place that enjoys much trekker traffic, so the people here make a very modest living farming their terraced land. But many also supplement their earnings by working as trekking guides or climbing sherpas. These families rely heavily on wages made during the spring season to get them through the following winter. Owing to the tragedies of 2014 and 2015, the spring season of trekking and climbing have, for the most part, not happened. So the 400 people that occupy Phortse, at an elevation of 12,600 feet, are presently both homeless and hungry. 

While our organization plans to build one sherpa home, we hope to impact many sherpa lives. To this end, we will hire approximately 30 local sherpa to help with the construction of Mingma's home this October. We will be paying a daily wage rate considered generous by local standards and, for 9 days hard work, will provide enough money for these workers to feed their families through the winter. 

Trevor made the 5 hour trek from Namche to Phortse 3 days ago. As there is no communication available from Phortse, he has not reported in to One Sherpa Home since time. But we expect to hear from Trevor sometime in the next few days and will post an update here. 


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

One Sherpa Home sets up shop in Namche.

Trevor and his Office Assistant Osmati (7)
"This is my office helper Osmati. She dresses better than I do and also loves the shiny apple on my computer. She can speak some English so she'll be answering my calls from now on." -Trevor

Trevor spent today acclimating to the altitude in Namche Bazaar while seeking out potential sources of building materials. His discussions with Mingma have led them into exploring the use of gabions for wall construction instead of rice bags filled with dirt. Gabions are rectangular wire cages that are filled with rocks. They are cheap, sturdy, and Phortse has no shortage of rocks to fill them with. Here is a photo of a winery in Napa that was built with gabions. 
They are not yet set on this idea, but simply exploring it as an option that is not so great a departure from the traditional dry-stack stone home enjoyed for millennia by the Sherpa people. 

In the mean time I continue to drive the fund raising effort back home. Having already raised $8,465 in our first 20 days, the One Sherpa Home campaign on GoFundMe has met its basic goal of $8,000!!!!!!!! We are SO grateful to the many caring and generous people who have contributed. You are heroes! Thank you thank you thank you!

Since we don't actually know how much it will cost to build Mingma's home, we will continue to seek donations. Any residual funds after completion of the home will go toward repairing the school in Phortse, which was built by Sir Edmund Hillary. We would like to see the kids get back in school. So I'm doing interviews and such to raise awareness. Channel 10 News in Phoenix featured a great story about One Sherpa Home during their evening broadcast today. You can see it by clicking this link:

And for anyone who has not yet got around to contributing to One Sherpa Home, you can do so with a simple CLICK HERE. In demonstration of our gratitude we will perform an interpretive dance depicting the tectonic collision that created the Himalayas! Let's see the Red Cross do that!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Trek to Namche Bazaar.

Trevor arrived in Lukla yesterday and immediately set out with Mingma on the trek toward Phortse. Having left Kathmandu (4,600 feet) and landed in Lukla (9,383 feet) he gained a serious chunk of altitude right at the get go. Everest climbers usually descend at that point to the village of Phakding (8,500 feet) to sleep and acclimate for a night. But Trevor and Mingma trekked the entire 18 miles to Namche Bazaar (11,286 feet) in one day! Damn!

He wrote "Mingma keeps the pace and I bounce around taking too many photos and asking too many questions and it's just great. Check the suspension bridge in the background, one of many - lots of fun. Too tired for hashtags today."

Trevor will rest for a day in Namche, where he can find a decent meal and a cup of strong coffee. Then it's off to Phortse. 

As Trevor's father, I feel something special stir inside of me as he walks the foot steps I took to Everest. Some aspect of that important chapter in my life becomes tangible to Trevor, speaking to him of the spiritual pilgrimage through the Khumbu that is, in many respects, much larger than the mountain. 

click HERE to contribute to this relief effort.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Post from Trevor: "They stuck me on a cargo plane full of plywood and noodles.
And then they put a flight attendant on it to keep me company hahaha I think they found the prettiest one. Jokes on them." (Trevor is gay).

Lukla is officially the most dangerous airport in the world.  Carved into a cliffside at 9,000 feet, it offers equal punishment for landing too soon as it does landing too late. Trevor landed successfully. Now he meets up with Mingma and begins the 4 day trek to Phortse. 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Trevor arrives in Kathmandu

These are used nails, salvaged from the wreckage of Kathmandu. Trevor posted this photo this morning as he walked about the city. When you have next to nothing, you think long and hard before throwing anything away. That is the people of Nepal right now; resourceful, busy, broke but not broken. I find it easy to help such people. They are in need, but not sitting around waiting for a handout, and there is a dignity to how they conduct themselves in the face of such horrific loss. 

This image shows how a crumbled building is now sorted into a pile of bricks and a pile of busted timbers. 

Unable to re-enter their structurally suspect homes, many Nepalese now live in makeshift shelters. It is doubtful this will change before the monsoons arrive in two weeks. 
Yet, even in this state there is hope. There is faith. And there is room for a smile. 

Click HERE to give to One Sherpa Home