A Porter's Life in the Khumbu
Last month guiding on route to Everest Base Camp, I was profoundly struck by the daily struggles for so many local porters. It had me questioning on so many levels. Why must they carry such insanely heavy loads? How do they even humanly carry so much weight? How am I contributing to this? What dreams do they have? Can they even stand up straight or lay down flat to sleep at night? What can we as visitors do to improve their plight? How many years does this work cut off of their lives? Who looks after them? The list goes on... I spoke at large with my local guides about this issue. They were former porters and would stop on the trail to document their lives and hardships too...questioning them...”How much are you carrying? Who allowed you to carry this much? Also poignantly pleading ...'We understand...but care for yourself...for your health and family'.
For me...I felt helpless. I don't have answers but have many thoughts. I know it affected me deeply. I told my guides and local friends I would document some of these struggles through my imagery. In turn, they will highlight these at the big tourism convention in Nepal in 2020 to see if some of these issues can be addressed.