Category Archives: Everest Base Camp Trek 2015

Sherpa – Movie Screenings around Australia – Tickets Giveaway

We’ve now given away 3x double passes to Sherpa Film which opens around Australia on 31st March, 2016. I’m so excited to see this movie after trekking to Everest Base Camp in 2015 and seeing how incredible these sherpas really are!

Read the blog for details and leave your comment to enter!! Just two double passes left.

Check out screening dates here: http://sherpafilm.com/cinemas/

LovellyCommunications

Sherpa is an awe inspiring, emotional and epic story of one  of the biggest tragedies to ever occur on Mount Everest. See this film to learn more about what life is really like for those who work and live on the World’s largest mountain. 

SherpaA fight on Everest? It seemed incredible. But in 2013 news channels around the world reported an ugly brawl at 21,000ft as European climbers fled a mob of angry Sherpas.

In 1953, New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay had reached the summit in a spirit of co-operation and brave optimism. Now climbers and Sherpas were trading insults – even blows. What had happened to the happy, smiling Sherpas and their dedication in getting foreigners to the top of the mountain they hold so sacred?

Determined to explore what was going on, the filmmakers set out to make a film of the 2014 Everest climbing…

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My Top 6 photos from reaching Everest Base Camp

I guess I’ve held off on posting these since the terrible devastation that was the #nepalearthquake. I had planned to write post after post about my experience and share my story of reaching Everest Base Camp with Team World Vision Australia in March 2015. But 3 weeks after I returned… disaster struck and my focus was changed.

As the Nepalese people begin to gain some strength and encourage tourists to go to Nepal and see their beautiful country, I want to share some of my most special moments.

I advise checking with companies such as Royal Mountain Travel for the possibilities of safe travel and locations that are accessible. It’s best to be safe but I hope that sooner rather than later people can return to see the beauty in the people and the country that is Nepal.

My Top 6 from my Trek to Everest Base Camp with World Vision Australia. 

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#everestbasecamptrek2015 we’re so close now…. 🙂

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The view out my window the morning of trekking to #everest from #Lobuche … Yes! #icicles -19!!! #everestbasecamptrek2015

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Jumping for joy over #prayerflags at #everestbasecamp! @worldvisionaus $98,000 raised! @inspiredadventures thank you! #everestbasecamptrek2015

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My incredible guides from Royal Mountain Travel Amar, Gopal and Bikram! We can’t do it without these amazing guys! Namaste and Dhan ya vaad.Welcome_to_my_mountains__Represent__worldvisionaus_._Between__Lobuche____gorekshep__everestbasecamptrek2015

Welcome to my mountains! Represent @worldvisionaus . Between #Lobuche &#gorekshep#everestbasecamptrek2015Team__worldvisionaus__inspiredadventures__everestbasecamptrek2015_we_did_it___

Team @worldvisionaus @inspiredadventures #everestbasecamptrek2015 we did it!!!

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Here is the whole #WorldVision #EverestBaseCampTrek2015 team standing proudly at their goal – 5,360m up in the #Himalayas! The team raised over $100,000 for World Vision’s work in #Nepal – an incredible achievement!@inspiredadventures


Updates from the #NepalEarthquake from someone on the ground!

Thoughts are with World Vision Australia staff member Matt Darvas today as he heads to one of the hardest hit areas by #nepalearthquake. Matt is in the heart of the epicentre near Gorkha and heading to the most remote villages in this region to offer supplies and support.

Donations can be made here to support the efforts of crews on the ground: 

Driving into Gorkha

Driving into Gorkha

You can hear him speaking on BBC radio about his experience in Pokhara. My team and I were there less than a month ago. A peaceful lakeside town now over run with casualties from this disaster.

“The ground shook for 3 minutes” @mdarvas descibes the aftershocks in Pokharabbc.in/1EFiywH #Nepalquake

Pokhara one month ago.

Pokhara one month ago.

Just can’t believe the destruction in ‪#‎Nepal‬‪#‎durbarsquare‬ ‪#‎patan‬yesterday. I was there in 2006. See the bell…. Now look around … Support @worldvisionaus to get aid to ‪#‎Nepalquake‬ ‪#‎nepalearthquake‬https://emergencies.worldvision.com.au/…

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I’ve been watching news and updates all day and it’s starting to really affect me now the severity of the situation. The reality of the devastation that people are living through is inconceivable. I stood in these locations a few weeks ago… and now these places are rubble. The death told is 3200 and counting. To hear from friends today living through this turmoil is heartbreaking.

We can do something, we can donate and support non profit organisations on the ground to provide relief and supplies to those most in need:

Donate Nepal Earthquake Appeal

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Some updates from Matt today:

Tune in for interviews today with updates from the situation in Nepal‪#‎Nepalearthquake‬. Some may broadcast LIVE or be included in a later news bulletin.

8:15am Nepal time, 12.30pm AEST – Eternity – Australian Christian newsonline interview

9:15 Nepal Time, 1.30pm AEST Sky News Australia

10:45 Nepal Time, 3pm AEST – Radio 2UE

11:30 Nepal Time, 3.45pm 702 ABC Sydney

//::—-

PM Schedule

12:45 PM Nepal Time, 5pm AEST ABC Statewide Drive Victoria

Follow Matt on Twitter @mdarvas


My heart goes out to Nepal after the devastation of the earthquake

Devastating news yesterday and further this morning as I learn that the country so close to my heart, Nepal, is in mourning. 1800 lives lost and counting as a 7.9 magnitude earthquake hits Kathmandu, Pokhara and other regions of Nepal. My thoughts and prayers are with the families who have lost loved ones and the citizens of Nepal who are as we speak trying to manage the chaos.

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These beautiful historic cities now in ruins

It was just one month ago that I was in Nepal trekking to Everest Base Camp with World Vision Australia and Inspired Adventures. We loved exploring the city of Kathmandu and then trekking through the serene and peaceful mountains. Sadly it also looks like 18 people have died on Mt Everest due to an avalanche – part of the Base Camp was buried. The peaceful and comforting place for so many is now reminiscent of a war zone.

My team and I are so happy. My prayers are with those currently trekking in this region

My team and I are so happy. My prayers are with those currently trekking in this region

YOU CAN HELP!

World Vision Australia have set up a donations page for sending aid to the areas most affected. Organisations such as this need support in these times of need to help the people in these devastated countries.

http://www.worldvision.com.au/Issues/Emergencies/Current_Emergencies/7.9-magnitude-earthquake-kathmandu-nepal.aspx

Article here from The Guardian stated that 1000 people were killed. ABC News Australia have just declared it is in excess of 1800 and counting.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2015/apr/25/nepal-earthquake-nation-worst-tremor-80-years-kathmandu-live-updates

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More information from World Vision Australia:

The Nepal government has declared a state of disaster and has committed to respond in 13 of the worst

affected districts, including Kathmandu. Hospitals have reportedly run out of wound management kits in

the capital and hospitals in districts are struggling. Five sites have been set up to help manage impacted

families and the Indian army has been called on to provide support.

More than 4 million people are thought to be in the affected area. WVIN is praying that the death‐toll

will not climb significantly higher overnight, that aftershocks will be minimal, children will be sheltered

and protected and that relief will come quickly to the people of Nepal following this powerful tremor.

Neighbouring India and Bangladesh also reported a number of deaths and injured due to the earthquake

‐ there are no reports of ADPs affected in either country at this stage.

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WVIN currently has 73 projects managed by 205 staff. WVIN currently works through 16 Area

Development Programmes in all five development regions including 10 of the 75 districts of Nepal.

Projects in earthquake preparedness are ongoing in Lalitpur district. WVIN supports 27,000 sponsored

children with sponsors from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland,

and Taiwan. WVIN operates a budget of USD 7.1 million including projects funded by DFAT, DFID and

WFP grants.

Quotes:

Sunjuli, World Vision Nepal staff member. Her son is 9 years old — “My son is very terrified. He

does not leave me and lays on my lap. Do not know what to do. I need to go inside the house —

don’t know if it’s safe — but it’s very cold here in the car.

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Some photos from my time there, it’s changed dramatically and I fear for the people in the massive efforts it will take to clean up! Visiting my sponsor child in Nepal, Kamala. Seeing my dear friend Sundar. And trekking with amazing guides to Base Camp. My prayers are with you all at this time

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The day I trekked to Everest Base Camp

This is what it feels like to reach Everest Base Camp ….

“3:20pm: We had done it! We reached Everest Base Camp. There was lots of emotion, tears flowing and hugs all round. Elation! Pure elation. We jumped, we lagged, we cried, we cheered, we were ecstatic! So many months of preparation and it was all worth it to be standing here at this pinnacle!!”

This is an excerpt from the blog I wrote for Inspired Adventures. You can read more about that amazing day trekking to the base camp of the World’s tallest mountain: http://blog.inspiredadventures.com.au/2015/02/25/everest-base-camp-trek-2015/

Here are some of my favourite photos from that incredible day!

Rugged_up___ready__How_can_you_not_be_excited_when_snow___mountains_are_involved___everestbasecamptrek2015__inspiredadventures__worldvisionaus Welcome_to_my_mountains__Represent__worldvisionaus_._Between__Lobuche____gorekshep__everestbasecamptrek2015 The_famous_sign_Way_to__everest__was_gone____One_of_our_sherpas_found_the_misplaced_sign___our_head_guide_put_it_back_in_it_s_rightful_place__What_a_thrill_to_see_this_sign_and_be_so_close_...__everestbasecamptrek2015 Reaching__everestbasecamp_with_the_best__Nepalese_guides_ever_____worldvisionaus__inspiredadventures Jumping_for_joy_over__prayerflags_at__everestbasecamp___worldvisionaus__98_000_raised___inspiredadventures_thank_you___everestbasecamptrek2015 Thank_you_to_Deepak_my_incredible_Sherpa._He_carried_my_pack_all_the_way_to__everestbasecamp___kept_me_company_with_Nepalese_songs._He_clung_to_my_hand_or_arm_if_he_thought_I_might_slip_or_there_was_a_tricky_rock_section__They_are_sure_footed_as_moun Team__worldvisionaus__inspiredadventures__everestbasecamptrek2015_we_did_it___

The Team reaching the pinnacle… Everest Base Camp ONE with World Vision Australia!

team world vision

This is an excerpt from the blog I wrote for Inspired Adventures and you can read more about our entire amazing #everestbasecamptrek2015 here: http://blog.inspiredadventures.com.au/2015/02/25/everest-base-camp-trek-2015/

Here are a few of my favourite photos of that magical day trekking to Everest Base Camp!


My 5 favourite photos from visiting my World Vision sponsor child Nepal

It’s hard to choose, but these are the five top photos that I posted to friends and family from my day with Kamala, my World Vision sponsor child. I sponsored her with my mother for 5 years and to meet her was a dream. Seeing her school, looking into her eyes and hearing about her life was just incredible. We also got to see projects in the community and learn how World Vision has made a difference here.

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The moment I realised I was meeting Kamala, my #sponsorchild through@worldvisionaus. Her mother began to cry as her little daughter stood between us. So much emotion.

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A special moment with Kamala. It’s hard to connect sometimes when there are so many people and it can be so intimidating for the #sponsorchild. After some time sitting together, we started to make faces & I saw her relax and feel comfortable. I loved this moment. I said in “Nepali” are you ok!? Tik sa? She said “Tik sa.” I’m ok.

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The incredible elders of Kamala my @worldvisionaus #sponsorchild watch over our meeting together. Their smiles meant the world to me.

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My final moment with Kamala at #kailaliADP #worldvisionnepal@worldvisionaus we hugged and looked in each other’s eyes and smiled.

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My Darling Kamala and her little brother ran after the car until they couldn’t keep up. @worldvisionaus #sponsorchild visit. They then waved until the car was out of sight.

You can experience what it’s like to help those in communities such as this by sponsoring a child:

Learn more about how Sponsorship works here:

Follow my journey with World Vision Australia in Nepal on a number of channels:

#tag: #WVAbloggers

Instagram: @Lovellyem

Twitter: @Lovellyinc

Blog: www.travellerem.com

Facebook. www.facebook.com/lovellycommunications

What’s the other reason I’m in Nepal?

I’m climbing to Everest Base Camp on March 7, 2015. Sponsor me and support the work of World Vision Australia: https://everest2015.everydayhero.com/au/emma-takes-on-the-best-trek-everest. You can follow our adventure on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram with the hash tag #everestbasecamptrek2015 and by following @inspiredadvntrs on Twitter and the blog here.


Project visits after meeting Kamala, my World Vision Sponsor Child

After the emotion of meeting my darling Kamala , a little girl in Nepal I have sponsored with my mother for 5.5 years, I was treated to a tour of the local area with the World Vision staff. It’s important with World Vision to not only learn about and meet the child you sponsor but the greater community which is also supported by our generous donations.

Meeting Kamlaa

Meeting Kamlaa

The visit was of course the highlight and I have shared my experience and story here.

In the morning, my first stop was to the ADP office to meet with staff of World Vision. I was met at my hotel by child sponsorship manager, Kiran. He is a kind and sweet man who clearly has a passion for seeing children live a better life. Soon after I met the lovely Absara, a young intern at World Vision. I was the first child sponsor she had met and she was very excited to see my experience. We sat with the manager of the ADP, Mr Rajan and then met with the entire team. I always like this process with world vision. We are all introduced and each person tells their role. I also introduced myself and shared my many experiences with World Vision and my role now as a #WVAblogger for World Vision Australia. Most importantly, I thanked them for their efforts and tireless work. As a sponsor the best part is seeing the lives of our children in foreign countries and how our support helps.

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Kiran showed me around and also showed me the folder of Kamala’s entire sponsorship history. It was magnificent to see her development over the time and the correspondence we had had over the years. I also got to see the computer system where they keep all the updates on the children. It’s meticulously detailed and I was so impressed and pleased to see that World Vision are so invested in the children’s lives.

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After my visit to kamala’s school we went to another local office. This office was manned by two staff members and they explained their role in more of the nutrition and health side of the projects. They ran Early Childhood Development centres, mothers groups, Outreach Centres for immunizations and childs health and general nutition and health information for the wider community. They have a group called the Unity Society and again this main focus is health. Great to hear of so many programs being run and I would get the chance to see some today.

Staff building the Community Outreach Centre

Staff building the Community Outreach Centre

We went then on some very treacherous and bumpy roads and even had to stop short and walk due to mud and huge divots in the road. We were met by community volunteer, beautiful Padma and walked to amothers group. At the site, they were also building an Early Childhood Development Centre. This is where mothers could take small children and start their education and basic life skills.

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Mothers and babies met under a tarp and sat on a mat to greet me. I don’t like to be so formal and separated so I asked to sit amongst them and chat. We talked about their monthly meetings and what they learnt. Some were also members of savings groups, one of my favourite programs run by world vision. Through being a member they can save their own funds into a large pool with other women and take out small loans from the group to fund business growth or help in times of need with chidlrens health and education. It provides financial empowerment and business skills to women in these communities.

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The leader of the group was a Governemnt health worker and she was actually the mother of Padma. It was so lovely to see that the World Vision passion and support continues through the generations and really becomes a sustainable part of the community. I asked her questions about her role and what the group is able to achieve. She helps the mothers with health advice and they talk to them about nutrition and caring for their child. They meet once a month to share their stories and learn together. It was sucha pleasure to share time with them.

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We next went to visit a school. I love schools!!! This school had 1100 children…. Ummmmm!! They swarmed towards me as we approached and I remembered it was the festival Holi. There was colour flying everywhere and cheeky boys were chasing girls to smudge bright colours to their cheeks. I saw one looking at me slyly so I patted my cheeks and he gladly walked over and smeared pink all over my face. I was inducted to holi and the children roared with laughter.

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As I walked into the group and through the grounds, I was surrounded 360 degrees by fascinated children of all ages wanting to catch a glimpse. Another young man approached me, this time with handfuls of red dust. I welcomed him and he really got stuck into putting the colour all over me. Wow! If you’re going to do it, do it well. A few other boys came up and I now had a completely covered face and they found it very amusing. I smudged some colour off my face and patted it on the cheeks of the smaller children around me. I could have played all day. Except, when they started sparing water, we were outta there. My hosts led me upstairs to the teacher’s office to meet with staff.

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We sat in a room with six teachers and were joined by another young volunteer for World Vision. We again did the introductions of ourselves and what our roles were. They told me about working with the children and that there were 1100 kids in the school. I was pleased to hear 600 are girls and 500 are boys. So many girls in school is so great. There are approximately 100 registered sponsor children through World Vision at the school. World Vision run teacher training programs as well as the “One Goal” program here. That’s a program for children to play soccer and then take part in other activities such as hygiene, sanitation, child protection and awareness and other such important life skills. It was so nice to see the teachers engaged in the program and working with World Vision to help the children.

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Our final visit for the day was to the Outreach Centre, ORC. This is being built at the time and the community project manager was so proud to meet me and show me their work. I was one week too early as they plan on being finished and in business for the community next week. Governemnt health workers will come here and help with immunizations, weighing of children, health checks and running nuritiuon and basic care clinics for mothers nad children. Helath workers and volunteers will go around to the 300 households in the community and tell them about when they can go to the outreach centre. These are extremely important programs for World Vision as it gives people who would otherwise not have it, access to basic health and to education for a healthy child and family.

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We returned to the office. A long drive along bumpy roads and then down a busy highway. I stared out the window and let my mind wander. The thing about these project visit days is that it puts you on a whole new plane of awareness. The world is so much bigger than all of us. There are people and places we will never see, there are issues we will never know about and our role in context is so small. But great things start from small beginnings. Through sponsoring one child in a village, you can be a part of a community of supporters that help them to grow and develop for a more quality life.

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“Don’t do nothing because you can’t do everything.

Do anything. Do SOMETHING!”

– Colleen Patrick – Goudeau

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Thank you again World Vision Australia and World Vision Nepal for giving me this opportunity to meet my sponsor and child and see into her world.

You can experience what it’s like to help those in communities such as this by sponsoring a child:

Learn more about how Sponsorship works here:

Follow my journey with World Vision Australia in Nepal on a number of channels:

#tag: #WVAbloggers

Instagram: @Lovellyem

Twitter: @Lovellyinc

Blog: www.travellerem.com

Facebook. www.facebook.com/lovellycommunications

 world vision

What’s the other reason I’m in Nepal?

I’m climbing to Everest Base Camp on March 7, 2015. Sponsor me and support the work of World Vision Australia: https://everest2015.everydayhero.com/au/emma-takes-on-the-best-trek-everest. You can follow our adventure on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram with the hash tag #everestbasecamptrek2015 and by following @inspiredadvntrs on Twitter and the blog here.


HAPPY HOLI!!! Celebrations at a school with World Vision

In March, the Hindu culture all over the world celebrates the festival of Holi. Basically, everyone runs into the streets, throws vibrant coloured powder at each other, spashes each other with water and enjoys themselves. There’s music in the street, laughing and shouting everywhere and the day is for celebration.

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The description of Holi from Holi Festival:

“It is said the spirit of Holi encourages the feeling of brotherhood in society and even the enemies turn friend on this day. People of all communities and even religions participate in this joyous and colouful festival and strenthen the secular fabric of the nation.”

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I was lucky enough to be in Dhanghadi, Nepal, this year visiting my sponsor child. As part of the program day we went to visit a school of 1100 childrenwhere World Vision runs programs such as the “One Goal” program for children wanting to take part in sports. We were quickly welcomed and noticed the colours flying around.IMG_1731

I was inducted into the play by a cheeky little boy who had been chasing girls and smudging the pink dust into their cheeks. I welcomed him to add the colour to my face and laughed with him as I made an annoyed face.

The cheeky first culprit

The cheeky first culprit

As we walked through the grounds being stared at with fascination by the children, more and more cheeky boys approached with handfuls of colour to welcome me into their fun game of Holi. It’s kinda weird when it goes on, and the dust flys up so you have to close your eyes and blow out your nostrils and mouth. I could taste and feel the powder in my throat for many hours after.

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I loved posing with the kids for cheeky selfies, and they were asking me to take pictures of their coloured faces too. I was doused in pinks, reds and purples and it managed to dye my hair a lovely shade of off pink too.

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It was such a great day to be there with World Vision and to see the children so happy and playful. They would get a five day break for the Holi festival. The only trouble … getting the stuff off! I had facial wipes that I used before getting in the car so as not to ruin the upholstery for my taxi driver. I thought I did a pretty good job until we reached the next project and had a group photo and I realized I was looking like an oompa loompa gone wrong. Arghhhh many showers ahead.

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And! One more day of Holi as they celebrate on the 5th March in Kathmandu and I will arrive back there by then.

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You can experience what it’s like to help those in communities such as this by sponsoring a child:

Learn more about how Sponsorship works here:

Follow my journey with World Vision Australia in Nepal on a number of channels:

#tag: #WVAbloggers

Instagram: @Lovellyem

Twitter: @Lovellyinc

Blog: www.travellerem.com

Facebook. www.facebook.com/lovellycommunications

What’s the other reason I’m in Nepal?

I’m climbing to Everest Base Camp on March 7, 2015. Sponsor me and support the work of World Vision Australia: https://everest2015.everydayhero.com/au/emma-takes-on-the-best-trek-everest. You can follow our adventure on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram with the hash tag #everestbasecamptrek2015 and by following @inspiredadvntrs on Twitter and the blog here.


Trouble with flying in Nepal

I’ve woken up this morning wondering if my flight to Kathmandu will go today after some issues yesterday with weather and a plane… incident. See Turkish Airlines landing into Kathmandu. Noone was hurt.

This is rather scary, and does not put me at ease once again for my flight today, domestic small carrier, into Kathamandu. My flight in internationally was one of the worst of my life, terrible turbulence and an electrical storm, I really said my prayers.

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I get a call this morning from a friend. International airport is closed but domestic seems to be ok – hope the flight goes. Soon after I get a knock at the door and reception have come to tell me that a call has come for me saying that my 1.30pm flight… is now at 10.30am (might I add it was 8.45am).

Dhanghadi is a lovely small town

Dhanghadi is a lovely small town

It’s a tiny town and tiny airport, but still, I would like to be there with some time before the plane actually leaves. I was told my taxi would come at 10am – to get me there by 10.15am as it’s only a 15 minute drive. Sorry… you want me to get to the airport 15 minutes before my flight. Nope. I said a car needs to be here asap. Ok 9.30. Still too late for me but it’s the best we’re going to do.

So then I went down for breakfast… nothing was there! I went into the restaurant and was informed due to Holi festival, there are only 3 guests in the entire hotel. I order to my room and proceed to inhale my delicious breakfast of cold coffee and Aloo Paratha (indian breads stuffed with curried potatoes, my favourite) with curd.

Hotel Devotee, Dhanghadi

Hotel Devotee, Dhanghadi

Hhaha oh Nepal. Ok. So bring on this flight and hope to see you soon Kathamandu. Oh… and just before I leave the hotel, I get a text saying “No worries. Flight time is 11.30. You will need to be at the airport at 10.30, so plenty of time.” What!! Was this not valuable information at the time I was running around my room packing and inhaling food? haha Oh Nepal!

It’s also HOLI Festival. So let’s see how we go with Taxis, getting through the streets etc when I reach!!!

At a school with World Vision Sponsor Children yesterday

At a school with World Vision Sponsor Children yesterday

HAPPY HOLI!!

I’m climbing to Everest Base Camp on March 7, 2015. Sponsor me and support the work of World Vision Australia.https://everest2015.everydayhero.com/au/emma-takes-on-the-best-trek-everest. You can follow our adventure on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram with the hash tag #everestbasecamptrek2015 and by following @inspiredadvntrs on Twitter and the blog here.


Meeting my sponsor child Kamala in Nepal with World Vision Australia

Sitting in the car as we approached the school I felt a rush of emotion as the time was fast approaching. More than five years of sponsorship, close to a year of planning and hundreds of hours of travel and I’m only minutes from meeting my sponsor child Kamala.

Meeting Kamala

Meeting Kamala

I stayed in the car a minute longer as my hosts Kiran from the World Vision Nepal Dhanghadi Office and Intern Absara climbed out to wait for me. I took a short video of my nervous anticipation, braced myself for the hundreds of little faces that would greet me and prepared.

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As we strolled into the schoolyard we were surrounded by children, they are fascinated by this tall blonde visitor at their place of learning. They giggle as I glance in their direction. I’m sweeping their faces, searching for my Kamala, my sponsor child. I don’t know how the meeting will happen or when, or what’s the next steps. I have so many photos of her, but she has grown up over the years and a person can look so different in the flesh, I hope and pray that I recognize her.

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Standing and observing the playing children, a few come close to ogle me and I smile and make a face to them. Suddenly a girl strides toward me from my left and strikes out her hand “ Hello. Nice to meet you.” The girl is not wearing school clothes, and his followed by a woman in a sari and some others. Kiran approaches me from my right and I flick my head back and forth between them and ask quietly, still holding her hand “Is this her? Is this Kamala?” The mother takes my hand and shakes it and greets me in Namaste. I raise my hands to my face and take in a breath as I begin to shake and cry. I can’t help it. The emotion! I scoop up Kamala’s hand again and embrace her. I apologise for my crying and Kiran explains to her that I’m not sad, I’m happy.

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The family soon come to join and there is now a gathering of close relatives. I walk to Kamala’s mother who has also been crying while watching the greeting. We do the Namaste greeting and I bow my head to show respect. She holds my hands tight and shakes them. She introduces then her Ama, her mother. The grandmother of Kamala. I begin to cry again as I move to greet not one, but both of Kamala’s grandmothers. These respected elders also greet me with a Namaste. I’m then introduced to her father, elder brother, younger brother and younger sister. I’m rapidly losing count of family members and before I know it, we’re huddled together for a family photo. Four or five cameras point at us and shoot off photo after photo as we pull together. Wow! So much emotion in such a short time.

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Family portrait

I’m taken by the arm on my right by the mother of Kamala and on my left side gathered in by the two grandmothers. Kamala walks in front of me and I’m led to the meeting room where we can get to know each other and chat about their lives here. As we settle in, I ask a number of times “Tik sa?” “Are you ok?” to Kamala. This is overwhelming for me, but as a child of 12 with her entire school and family watching on, I can imagine this is extremely overwhelming. Kiran, our World Vision guide, also translates and asks her if she’s ok and assures her I’m a friend. She smiles faintly as her family begin the ritual of welcoming me and the other guests to the village.

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After having a traditional welcome, it’s time for me to get to know Kamala. She is a little shy but was so bold when she first greeted me. I wanted to make her feel at ease and decided gifts and fun things were a good start. As I sponsor Kamala jointly with my mother Sarah, I had been loaded up with some amazing Australian gifts for her. Mumma loves to shop and she’d done a great job of finding education and fun things for Kamala to share. We gave her a game, books to read, puzzles of Australia, pencils and Australian colouring books and stickers. We also looked at a giant map of Australia together and a card filled with Australian animals. It was nice to share with her these things from my home.

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I got to learn about the family and the siblings of Kamala. Her cheeky younger sister hovered between the two of us the whole time. I could feel her lounging on my arm and twirling my hair in her fingers. She was a funny little thing and seemed to adopt me right away. Kamala said thank you for the sponsorship and it meant a lot to her to receive the cards and letters. When I first got there, I had shown her the cards and drawings that we had received and that I had brought them with me. I also got to see our correspondence and the history of the sponsorship in her folder at the office, which was a beautiful walk down memory lane.

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Kamala started to smile a little and I could see her watching me. She would just look up at me, I would smile at her or make a cheeky face and she would smile modestly. I told her “sundari” – it means beautiful in Nepali. I asked them to translate a story for me too. My friend in Nepal is called Sundar, meaning the male version of beautiful, handsome. He calls me sundari but he failed to mention that it also means female monkey. The girls laughed at this story and told the World Vision staff that I was definitely not a monkey. I felt at this moment closer to Kamala and I held her hand and squeezed it. She held my hand back and seemed much more at ease.

Kamala's relatives and friends

Kamala’s relatives and friends

It was time for me to share some of my family. I took out the trusty iphone and showed pictures of my mother, father, brother and sister. In Nepal, family is very important. They want to know about your background, where you come from and what your family has been doing. Not so much about what happens next, it’s your history that’s important. They all agreed my family was beautiful and enjoyed comparing the pictures of them with me.

Showing my family to Kamala

Showing my family to Kamala

The parents and the World Vision staff engaged in conversation and I had some time to just sit with Kamala, her sister and another little friend. It was time for selfies!! I wanted to see the big beautiful smile of Kamala and so I showed her my big smile – she caught on and we both smiled together with the cheeky monkeys hanging behind us. It was so lovely to laugh and relax with these little sweeties.

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After all to short a time, it was time to leave. I wanted to make a reason to stay. I wanted something else to see here or do here. I knew it wasn’t possible and felt our time coming to a close but I just couldn’t bare it. All this time, for what seemed like just a few minutes. Kamala took me by the hand and her sister launched onto me and grabbed my other arm. The girls walked me out and seemed to be leading me a bit astray. Kamala’s father had to yell out to her and direct her back to the driveway where the car was, I think they were trying to unsubtly kidnap me and keep me there.

Grandmothers and friends

Grandmothers and friends

Kamala looked up at me and had asked me before we left the meeting if I could come to her house. Due to child protection policy of this World Vision ADP there are no home visits allowed. I completely understand this and am happy to comply, but how does one explain this to a 12 year old girl who wants to invite you into her home and share her world with you? I left that for the staff to do in Nepalese and with my eyes said sorry. As we stood near the fence and the other children came rushing out to farewell us, I could feel the sadness mounting. Kamala gazed up at me and we held hands. I embraced her for a hug and touched her face and said be good.

The World Vision Volunteers, Kamala and her mother

The World Vision Volunteers, Kamala and her mother

There were tears and hugs with mum and the grandmothers. They kept holding my hands and touching my face and pulled me in for long big hugs. I think it’s important for them to meet the person who is involved in their child’s life from a distance. It’s certainly important for me to know them and have a connection with them. I’m so glad I could be there. The goodbyes seemed to drag on and on, none of us wanting to say goodbye. With each round of handshakes and hugs, I again went back to Kamala and pulled her in for another hug. I wanted her to know how much I cared.

Kamala's mother

Kamala’s mother

My parting words to mum, dad and the World Vision staff were “School is so important. Her education is number one.” It was translated for them and I said it’s so so important that she remains in school and gets her education. It’s my wish for her and it’s something I believe so passionately. Every child should have access to quality education and the opportunity to learn. She’s a healthy girl and I hope for her a bright future.

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I climbed in the car and it looked as though the entire village had come out to see us off. Amongst the hundreds of little faces I could only see Kamala’s staring straight back at me. She had a gentle smile and she seemed so calm and content. I waved and waved as we pulled away.

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Usually I don’t like to turn back, I like to say goodbye and go. This time, I turned my head and I looked back to see her running after the car. She was running and running, powering her legs along. Her little brother joined her and they chased the car waving and smiling. It was breaking my heart but I couldn’t turn away. I was laughing and commentating their approach of the car and their running. They ran for as long as they could keep up and then stopped as they approached the turn off to their home. From there they stood and waved, the three little siblings waving until we were completely out of sight. What a moment, I’ll never forget seeing them run with such joy and warmth to bid us farewell.

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The afternoon was a full program of local office visits, program observations and site visits. It was wonderful to see what the area was up to but my mind was awash with the warm memories of my meeting with this little girl I’ve known from afar for so long. I look forward to sharing the stories and things I’ve learned from this project in many more blogs.

Mothers group in the same area. Also an Early Childhood Development centre.

Mothers group in the same area. Also an Early Childhood Development centre.

It was an honour to have the opportunity to meet Kamala and now I can’t wait to share many stories of my visit with my friends and family back home. Especially my mum Sarah who I share the sponsorship of Kamala with. I wish more than anything she could have been there to experience the meeting. It’s proven to me once again how important child sponsorship is and how we really can make a difference to the lives of so many.

Sharing with Kamala the gifts from my mother

Sharing with Kamala the gifts from my mother

Thank you Kamala. Thank you for the joy you’ve brought me and for your beautiful smile.

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You can experience what it’s like to help those in communities such as this by sponsoring a child:

Learn more about how Sponsorship works here:

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