Tuesday, 4 January 2011

The Genesis

Thame Lower Secondary is a school that was set up with the help of  Himalaya Trust Fund by Sir Edmund Hillary. The scenic village claim to fame is Apa Sherpa, who holds the record for being the person who has climbed Mt Everest most number of times, 20th times, to be precise. His last attempt at Mt Everest was in May this year. Thame is Apa birthplace. His spacious lodge by the name of Everest-Summitters is now being managed solely by his younger brother. The other attraction in Thame is a old Tibetan gompa called Thame Gompa which was built right into the cliff overlooking the plains of Thame. This is one of the three oldest gompa in the Everest region.
Flanking Dose and myself is Apa's younger brother
Everest-Summiter Lodge
Apa Sherpa - world record holder 

On November of 2009, I went on a trekking expedition to Gokyori in Khumbu with three other friends, Ting Sern, Cheng Chwee and Danny. After Danny and myself has successfully reached the peak of Gokyori(5460m), we scamper down to Namche Bazaar. With a rest day in between before making the final descend to Lukla, the port of departure for our climb, I decided to trek to Thame with another guide, Dose.
Thame is an easy three hours trek from Namche. Enroute, you will bypass an old Sherpa village called Thamo and some beautiful waterfalls. Hydroelectric plant here generate a large share of electricity for most of the homes in Namche Bazaar, the world’s capital of Sherpas.
Namche Bazaar - Sherpa capital of the world

Water catchment area for hydroelectric power
 Thame village

Thame gompa

Thame Lower Secondary house about 66 students. Many of them walk for miles to reach the school. The journey is long and arduous. How fortunate and blessed are we to be able to live in Singapore where everything is easy, convenient and within reach. I mused. School starts at 9 am and finish at 1pm. There are about nine teachers currently, four of which are funded out of the Himalaya Trust Fund.

Picture taken at the teacher lodging, to my right is Lagendra.
Thame lower secondary

The plan….

After talking to my family, Liwen my wife , Lynn and Hann, we decided to do something special last Christmas 2009. We wanted to make a difference to other people’s lives. I have earlier donated some used children clothing (~20kg) on my maiden trip to an orphanage in Kathmandu. Since Ting Sern is going back to Nepal in two week, I’ve kindly asked Ting Sern to bring another two Netbooks for Thame Lower Secondary as my Christmas gift for the people of SoloKhumbu.
Out of the 2000+ photos that I have taken, a wall calendar make up of the 20 best taken shots was sent for printing. I have successfully raised a couple hundred of dollars to fund the purchase of  IT equipment for the school.

I have told many of my friends and colleagues after the trip. Singapore is in such a blessed position in this region. We are well endowed with a good education, strong government and well established infrastructure.
We have plenty to contribute if only we ourselves are willing to step out of our comfort zone to bring the same blessings to our fellow beings.

Lastly, allow me to quote John Ruskin’s vision of the common wealth which I think is very profound.

“There is no wealth but life. Life, including all its powers of love, of joy, and of admiration. That country is richest which nourishes the greatest number of noble and happy human beings; that man is richest who, having perfected the functions of his own life to the utmost, has also the widest helpful influence, both personal, and by means of his possessions, over the lives of others.”