Monday, 10 June 2013

Nepal comes to Old Buckenham

The Nepalese experience
The Nepalese evening in Old Buckenham village hall was organised by David Hannah, his friends and family as a thank you for all the support and sponsorship that he had received on his recent visit to Nepal. Approximately 90 people arrived at the village hall and all were given a Nepalese prayer scarf to wear during the evening’s activities. Nepalese music played, incense burned and the hall was decorated with Nepalese prayer flags and various other items with a Nepalese connection were placed on walls and tables around the room.

David started the evening by telling of his previous trip to Nepal and how the opportunity to go again had been hard to resist. He had given himself a challenge of reaching the summit of Gokyo Ri (5357 metres), something that had evaded him on his first visit because of the effects of altitude sickness. He decided to put effort into more fitness training and obtained medical advice on precautions he could take to minimise altitude sickness problems. As a further incentive he had asked for people to sponsor his attempt and to raise money for the St Martins Housing Trust who help exist to the homeless in Norwich and Norfolk. Derek Player, general manager of the St Martins Housing Trust, then gave the audience a brief summary of the work of the charity.

After a break to sample the homemade refreshments, have a drink and to chat to others in the hall, the second half of the evening was a slide show of highlights of David’s trip with Sheila, widow of Tony Freake and friends. Tony was the main inspiration behind both trips.Starting from Diss railway station the journey continued to Kathmandu (capital of Nepal) where they had the opportunity to see both the beautiful temples and the chaotic streets teeming with all sorts of traffic. Soon it was time to fly on in a small plane up into the mountains landing at Lukla. A week or so was spent around this area with the aim of getting acclimatised to the altitude. It was also an opportunity to visit Phortse, the village high in the mountains at 3800mtrs, that had been the reason for his first visit six years ago.
Despite all his training David never really coped with the reduced oxygen at the higher levels and was forced to return to Namche Bazaar at 3440 metres while the remainder of the group proceeded on to Gokyo Ri, David’s initial aim when he started getting sponsorship for this trip.
His journey back to lower altitudes on his own provided a chance to see more of the normal life of the Nepalese people and the country that they live in. David said he found it difficult to say whether he 'enjoyed' the experience, but was very pleased that he went. However he was even more pleased to be home again and still alive!! Having lost a stone in weight, during David's first week home he craved calories and sleep. He was often seen around the village either with a biscuit in his hand or hugging people !
To end the evening there was the chance for David to present cheques for the money raised by the many sponsors to Fiona Joyce, the ‘Under One Roof’ Centre Coordinator at the St Martin’s Housing Trust. The total raised was £3,837 which, when Gift Aid is reclaimed, will be worth £4,442.75 to the Trust.

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