Day 13th – From Lukla 2886mts/9469ft to Kathmandu.
Today we are sadly departing Lukla back to Kathmandu. Once there we’ll be doing a little planning with our girls, reflecting on the trip and also projecting the next stage.
The Lukla airport is tiny: all the flights happen in the morning and whether they go out or not just depends on the clouds – the Himalayas mountains are so close that the visibility needs to be perfect. We got the update we were on the 2nd set of flights leaving Lukla, so that meant we would be departing around 9:00am.
Everyone had bittersweet feelings about leaving. Though everyone was excited to give their body a break and reconnect with our families, our journey and sisterhood had been so amazing that departing had a sad feeling.
Morning selfies in front of planes was exciting. Three of our girls had never been on a plane in their lives, so even being on a tiny propeller was quite the adventure.
As we boarded around 10:00am, I started feeling the sadness of leaving such a magical place. Knowing that I’d be back in about four months kept me in check.
As we landed in Kathmandu, we got the update that a fuel strike was still on full force, so students from all over Kathmandu would be peacefully protesting. As we drove back to the hotel, we saw students expressing their discontent about the ongoing crisis. Quite patriotic and amazing to see their passion.
As we all got to the hotel our rooms were not ready, so we went out for lunch. Once lunch was done, the rooms were ready and everyone rushed for a hot shower. The girls were staying in the hotel with us, and watched cheesy Bollywood movies. Tucka developed a bad cold and was hoping to depart on a flight that same evening; Amy would be in Kathmandu through Saturday night.
By 4:00pm everyone was clean and ready to sit and discuss the learnings from the journey. The girls were really excited and shared reflections about what this adventure brought to their lives. The consensus was to really focus on their education, learning English and computers. They also want to keep exploring the possibility of helping guide the next trek, and it’s a potential opportunity when we bring our US girls that they could be their mentors.
I was really touched by seeing every girl really describe how their future dreams didn’t seem impossible anymore. The growth in their confidence through this experience is such a beautiful gift to watch. Their resolve to really push themselves to achieve anything they want is the whole premise of Courageous Girls. The next stage is supporting the educational and technology component, which is being formulated by my co-worker Prashanthi.
By 6:30 our final group dinner was ready. Tucka had gotten a flight for later that evening and so it was an opportunity for her and the girls to spend a last bit of time together.
I had invited my dear friend Dr. Tshering Lama – who was my key connector to Shakti Samuha and the Everest Women Trek mountaineers. Dr. Tshering was truly amazed by the way the girls described their experience and was pleased on how everything turned the way it did. So was I.
As we said goodbye to Tucka, we wrapped up the evening, since tomorrow is a big day. We’ll have the opportunity to visit one of the shelter homes – aka rescue home – of Shakti Samuha. It’s been a dream for me to visit the first home of my Courageous Girls and have the opportunity to meet some of the girls who are still in transition from just being rescued. I know it’ll be a tough day on many fronts.
Treat for the evening: Our yummy celebratory Indian dinner at the hotel. One of the best Indian meals ever!