Earlier this year, my company Extollo adventures had about fifty travelers registered for many trekking trips in the Nepalese and Tibetan Himalaya. More registrations were rolling in for the spring and autumn climbing seasons for 2020.
In March, COVID 19 cases increased significantly pushing many nations into lockdown mode. California was shut down by mid-Match, followed by other states within a week and many other countries globally were forced to seek shelter in place to curb the virus.
By the end of March, after straight two weeks of shelter in place, cases kept increasing, making people realize that we were heading towards a massive pandemic, and it would be hard to get out of it. We canceled all the spring trips for everyone’s safety.
On the other side of the globe, in the Nepalese mountains, sherpa families who were waiting for the international tourists to flock the country were amongst those less-fortunate people who relied on tourism for the living and just like that, they lost their only source of income.
Along with the rest of the world, we secretly wished that the spread of the virus hopefully will get under control by the end of April and normalcy would regain in May. Our May travelers were still hopeful. The pandemic only got worse and as it engulfed more nations, we had to shut down the remaining operations for the rest of the year.
The government in the United States issued a major financial relief package to help the citizens who lost their jobs. People around us faced challenges but at least we had food in our plates and shelter on our heads.
Some poorer countries didn’t have resources to help their citizens and people were left to figure things out on their own. Stories like this became our dinner table conversation. We were trying to figure out the ways to help the sherpa families who helped our clients. This is when my son Anuj decided to run a go-fund-me campaign to fundraise for them. Unsure of how it would go and how much he’d collect, he just decided to make one regardless, any amount would be better than nothing he thought. I was sure that some of our past clients would surely pitch in to help their favorite guides and porters who took them up the mountains safely and comfortably.
This is what he created in early May.
To our delight, in just three short weeks we were able to exceed our goal of collecting $10,000 for these families. More donations kept coming from our generous donors around the world. All of our friends and families donated, hikers from our sister trekking company who hired the same sherpa guides and porters also contributed to these efforts. Finally, we were able to send $12500 to Nepal to help these families. It’s hard to describe how appreciative these families were to receive the donations, it helped them buy basic supplies like food and shelter.
While helping 35 families may seem a small drop in the large bucket, it sure feels nice to help others.
Anuj, I, and our family are greatly thankful to all who supported this cause. Global travel is not likely to restore soon, and these families will still have to survive the harsh winter conditions. The fundraiser is still open to receive more donations, thank you again for your generosity.
Here is a report from My Republica, Nepal.