We are now in Namche, a relatively large village at 11,600 feet above sea level. It has been about 6 hours of walking total from the town of Lukala, which we departed from two days ago. We have done the trek here in two days, mainly to stay with our porters, who are humping our 100+ loads of baggage for us and thus take a little longer (although not much). It is an understatement to say it’s impressive to see them, teenage boys wearing flip flops, jeans, and cotton hoodies with huge loads slung on their backs. They tie our giant duffels together, rest a large strap on their foreheads, and bend forward almost 90 degrees when they walk so the weight rests evenly on their backs.
I am happy to be here, my slight homesickness has transformed into contentment about being removed and far away from my home and all the distractions that go along with it. Walking for many hours a day forces me to withdraw into myself, focus on my thoughts and surroundings, instead of turning to other sources for entertainment. The beauty of the valley is stunning and overwhelming. It’s almost impossible to take it all in at one time.
Our final destination is Phortse, a village deep in the Khumbu Valley and base camp for the Climbing School. At nearly 13,000 feet, it is one of the last signs of civilization before the trail that leads to the tallest peaks in the world, the highest being Chomolungma, also known as Mt. Everest. According to Tibetan Buddhism, the Mother Goddess Jomo Miyo Lang Sangma resides on the mountain. I am currently reading a book about Sherpa culture that I picked up in Kathmandu. I am learning several neat facts about the Khumbu and the surrounding regions inhabited by the Sherpa people. It’s an intriguing and spiritual culture, and I have only encountered kindness and compassion from them during my time here. I look forward to the days ahead in Phortse living and working closely with these people. Namaste until then.