The Mardi Himal Trek is one of the most accessable and spectacular trails beneath the Annapurna Himalaya.
The incredible ridge line to the summit point
Dan at Base Camp 4500m
DAN KEYS – ‘On the decent I made way way through the forest trails to Sidhing village. There was one tourist lodge available for hikers. However, i’d spoken to a man with a little shop in a lovely clearing a few days earlier. He had told me that just opposite the tourist lodge his wife had a small basic local style homestay and to look for the buffalo!’
Dan decided to say hello to his wife Laxmi and spent the night in her humble yet cosy guest room. Over a delicious Dal Bhat dinner and Laxmi told him about her job as a kindergarten teacher at the local school. Sidhing school sounded very small and had been badly affected by the earthquakes the year prior. Dan asked to see the school the next morning before he departed.
DAN KEYS – ‘The next day I met Arjun, the vice principal, who showed me around the school. There had been some international NGO assistance with destroyed classrooms. The school didn’t have any library facilities and were desperate for better resources.’
Dan agreed to look into creating an Active Hearts Foundation library for Sidhing school.
A plan was put in place to help fund the refit of a current room, stock the new shelves and facilitate a small functional library on behalf of Active Hearts. The teachers shared their wish lists of curriculum related book they needed to further enhance their teaching capabilities.
In March of 2017 the refit was well underway and the Kathmandu Active Hearts team had begun sourcing the books.
By April 14th it was complete, the books were transported to the hills and the library was ready to be opened. Dan was guiding a trip for Active Adventures and the library opening coincided with the tour’s free day in Pokhara. A number of his trekking guests had the special treat of being VIPs at an Active Hearts library opening!
The team drove out of Pokhara in two jeeps loaded with dozens of beautiful hand knitted jumpers and beanies from the kind ladies in New Zealand who knit garments for us to distribute; Pauline Thomas, Kath Wicks, Shirley McCormack, Margaret Smith and Lorraine Penny.
The local villagers all came for the occasion complete with a trumpet band, drummers and many beautiful flower leis to adorn us. It was a wonderful day.
With the monsoon rains fast approaching that afternoon, we had a ribbon cutting ceremony and speeches by the Principal, Dan and Arjun.
The team then distributed the knitted garments. It would not be an occasion in Nepal without loud Nepali music and big group dancing circles. So, as the rains approached and slowly made their presence felt, the Hearts team along with the teachers and students danced around the dirt field shouting and wooping with joy and gratitude.
We had another library complete, another village full of new friends and many local children with a new woollen jumper for winter and a room full of books to advance their education. We thank those who donated to us and continue to support our cause. We also thank the kind people of Sidhing for their friendship and hospitality during our time there and wish them and their children the best of luck with their education and lives.
THANK YOU TO ALL OUR KIND DONORS X