Each spring for the past 21 years I have been going to Nepal. And each spring since the 1920's mountaineers have made their way to the Himalaya to climb, discover and test the limits of their abilities – each with his or her own hopes and motivations.
The Sherpa expedition climbers first visit monasteries to do divinations and obstacle-removing prayers ahead of the precarious journey they are preparing to undertake. It is a spring rite which takes place in Sherpa households across the Himalaya and now the world – sometimes by Skype in New York and California. If their prayers are answered, the men will return in mid-May, smiling broad faces burnt from exposure to the sun, with the spoils of their hard work. They're home safe and will replenish physically and spiritually until the fall when they must go back to work again.
On my trip this year, however, the entire Himalayan range, including Everest, was shrouded in clouds. Below, I could not begin to imagine the magnitude of the sorrow, the angst, the pain felt at the funerals of the 16 who died in this year's avalanche.
AHF is committed to helping the families of these brave climbers through the challenges they will face in the coming years. They have lost their primary bread-winner, and their futures would be uncertain without our help. Whether making sure the 31 children can go to school or covering basic living expenses for the families, we are going to make sure their needs are taken care of now and into the future.
I assure you that the comfort the families will receive as a result of your kindness will give them some peace that their loved one is not forgotten and they are not abandoned. Thank you so much for your caring and concern.