Nate’s Journey: 14 May

By 5:30 AM I wasn’t able to sleep anymore. I gathered some things for the start of the day and walked downstairs to find the restaurant was not yet open. So I left to walk about the still morning as the city began to wake up. As I walked through the streets, the residents and vendors were busy conducting their morning Puja.  Flowers, burnt offerings and fresh paint made of spices were being placed on the various shrines I had seen the day before.

By around 9 in the morning, people began to open up their shops and make fried dough treats in vats of super heated oil. The smells sent me back to the hotel’s restaurant, where I enjoyed an American style breakfast.  Beside eggs, sausage and potatoes I got to try corn flakes served with a side of scalded milk. This was a first for me, no longer cold cereal and certainly not porridge, the blend was tasty and paired well with chai.

After breakfast I got to meet Murari from summit trek. I had first learned of him in Seattle, where he was mentioned as a leader of MEFSD (Mount Everest Foundation for Sustainable Development). We talked about the biogas project and went over the plan for my next week, while consulting a topographic map. I learned that in the initial stages of my trip to Gorak Shep, I will stop in Deboche for three days, while trekking with some Nepali engineers and architects. Their purpose in Deboche is to conduct a site survey of a Buddhist nuns’ monastery.  The group represents AWB (Architects Without Borders) and I put myself forward to help with the total-station work.

I later had a chance to speak with Dan Mazur, head of Summit Trek, on a Skype call from Everest base camp.  We talked about my trek in, the next steps of preparation and the work to be done at Gorak Shep. A full site survey is in order, including a visit to the first base camp. I will be meeting with the residents of Gorak Shep.  But most importantly, I will be hanging out with the porters who deal with the human waste, conversing through my guide and interpreter Mingma Sherpa. If the people who are to operate and maintain the biogas digester are not interested, then there is no project. No matter how sound the engineering, no matter how much money can be raised.

Once the logistics of the day had been handled, I walked about the shrines of Dubar Square and drank tea while the sun set.  This city is amazing, but I am anxious to get into the mountains and get to my real work here.