Newsletter 1414 May 2001
All Dressed Up
Yak men are guiding their teams of Yaks through ABC, here to drop off one team's gear and pick up a departing team's unrealized dreams. It is great to see the yak men, dressed as they are in warm and cozy fleece jackets that were donated by our friends at Carphone Warehouse.
Carphone Warehouse gave Russ over 200 fleece jackets, knowing that the yak men, villagers and monks that live at the base of Everest, would greatly appreciate the gift. A fleece jacket really is the perfect gift for these folks, who live in unheated houses and scratch a living from an inhospitable environment.
Russ, having worked with these proud people for many years, knew just how to distribute the jackets. They came in three colors: green, red and yellow. The yellow jackets match the traditional dress of the Buddhist monks perfectly. On our journey to basecamp, Russ presented these to the monks of the Rongbuk Monastary (the highest year round monastary, and one of the highest year round residences in the world). An additional bundle of jackets were given to the monks to distribute to the poorest and sickest people in the valley. This donation will play a significant role among the care-taker responsibilities of the monks.
More than one hundred other jackets were distributed in mid-April, through the colorful, yet chaotic process of loading the yaks with the expedition's gear. The proud yak men were presented with the jackets after all of the negotiations were finished, allowing them to feel that they had earned the jackets through their hard work. It was a remarkable experience to see them dress in their new uniforms and then march toward ABC. Even now, after a month of hard wear in a dusty environment, the yak men are proudly wearing their jackets. They even stop by our camp, and smile as they pull on the sleeve of the jackets.
The jackets have earned us a tremendous supply of good will. We're thankful to the team at Carphone Warehouse for making this gift possible. Now the Yak men want us to install mobile phones on all their yaks, perhaps rigging the antannae between the horns.