by Marina Wynton
|The village of Thame.|
Thame is a small Sherpa village in Namche VDC of the Solukhumbu District in Nepal. Thame is one of the last year-round villages on the salt trading route that existed between Tibet, Nepal and India. It is the home to many famous Sherpa mountaineers, including Apa Sherpa, who holds the world record for summiting Everest 21 times. It was also a childhood home of Tenzing Norgay, who was (with Sir Edmund Hillary) one of the first men to climb Mt. Everest. The Thame monastery is one of the oldest in the Khumbu region, and is famous for the annual Mani Rimdu festival.
On the second day of our visit to Thame a woman arrived in the morning to see us as we were getting ready to depart. Dave Morton with the Juniper Fund had visited her recently and told her we would be visiting. She traveled an hour and a half on foot from Tarnaga - a small remote village beyond Thame. Drew and I met with her for about an hour, sitting in the sun on a stone bench, with a glorious view of the mountains shown in the photo. Her husband, Dorje Sherpa had been a guide for Alpine Ascents International and died on Everest in the avalanche April 2014. They had four children together, ages 6, 8, 10, 15. By the time we had met with her, she had received the first of five annual payments from the Juniper Fund, via Dave Morton. The payments are meant as replacement for lost salary. Her children’s education is covered by the Sherpa Education Fund which finances education for Sherpa students who come from the rural, mountainous areas that surround Mt. Everest in Nepal. "It is the hope of the Sherpa Education Fund and its sponsors that through education, these students will enhance their communities by sharing knowledge and generating resources in the future." -quoted from Alpine Ascent web page. Since her children are all in school in Katmandu, she lives alone now. She spends her days tending the communal garden with neighbors and her yak herd. She makes extra money renting yaks out to spring mountaineering expeditions.
|Thame in the snow.|