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02 October 2023

'Live' blog of Dubai resident climbing Mt Everest - Week Three

By Atte

I started my two-month expedition to Mount Everest with a flight to Nepal’s capital Kathmandu yesterday.

The Democratic Republic of Nepal is a land-locked country located in the Himalayas in South Asia, bordered in the north by the People's Republic of China and to the west, south and east by the Republic of India.

Nepal is probably best known for being home to the world's highest mountain, Mount Everest, or Sagarmatha as the mountain is called in Nepali. However, the country is much more than just Mount Everest. In fact, Nepal is home to eight of the 14 highest mountains in the world, known as the eight-thousanders: Mount Everest (8850m), Kanchenjunga (8586m), Lhotse (8516m), Makalu (8485m), Cho Oyu (8201m), Dhaulagiri I (8167m), Manaslu (8163m) and Annapurna I (8091m). In addition, there are 240 peaks over 20,000 feet (6096m), so it’s a real dream destination for mountaineers like me.

This is my third trip in the last 18 months to Nepal. The previous two trips have been related to helping out a local school, Surya Vinayak.

The school is located in Bhaktapur, a small town about 13 kilometers east of Kathmandu, on the old traded route to Tibet. We came across the school a bit by accident when my wife Delanii did a volunteering holiday in Nepal last year and were impressed with their commitment to accept and integrate children with disabilities into the normal classrooms – something not customary in Nepal.

The school operates on a very small budget and still struggles to make ends meet, so last year we raised some money from my classmates at London Business School in Dubai and then worked with the principal Mrs Bina and her husband Mr Suresh to identify and prioritize a number of projects to improve the school.

Surya Vinayak manages to educate a child for a year for just US$100, so realizing how a small amount of money can make a huge difference in the lives of the children has been a great experience as comparing whether to eat out or put the money aside to educate a child for a year doesn’t require a long consideration.

I visited the school this morning and as usual was met with happy faces. Mrs Bina and Mr Suresh showed me how the donations had helped establish many improvements including bathrooms linked to the sewage system as well as hand washing basins to replace the previously used buckets.

The children were in the middle of their exams, but had a few minutes to also tell me how they were enjoying the paving on top of the old clay yard as well as a table tennis table, which left me with no doubt that the efforts of our friends were much appreciated. Now I can shift my focus to the main project I’m here for – climbing Mount Everest!