ED'S GREATEST WORK AND A LIFELONG LESSON
George Hillary

ED'S GREATEST WORK AND A LIFELONG LESSON

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Many people have heard the famous quote that sparked the Himalayan Trust into life: “our children have eyes but still they are blind! We would like our children to go to school, Sahib” (Sahib is an endearing and respectful term in Nepali). Today, the Himalayan Trust supports over 60 schools in Nepal.

But there is more to the story than that famous line. In 1960, during a scientific mountaineering expedition, whilst the team camped at 16,000 feet high (4,800 meters) in the Himalayas, Ed asked a Sherpa called Urkien “if there was one thing we could do for your village, what would it be?” Urkien provided an intriguing response, which offered a glimpse into the mindset of the Sherpa people “of all the things you have, learning is the one we most desire for our children. With all respect, Sahib, we know you have little to teach us in strength and toughness. We don’t envy your restless spirits – perhaps we are happier and more content than you are. But knowledge for our children – that we would like to see!”

 

 

It’s an amazing insight into the lives of the people with whom my grandfather, and now my whole family, share such a rich history. Education was something the Sherpa people knew would provide their children great opportunities. But when it came to strength of character, loyalty and a passionate outlook on life, the Sherpa people are rivalled by no one. In fact, they have plenty to teach all of us. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gaining perspectives on life is one of the true wonders of travel; it is something I am looking forward to doing again soon. When the time is right to head back to the Himalayas, or wherever our adventurous spirit takes us, I think we will all do it with a new outlook on life.

 

Written by George Hillary

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