When I first met local Nepali mountaineer, Vishu Sijali, he wasn’t at all what I expected from someone about to climb Mt Everest… but then again, when have I ever met someone about to climb Everest?
Well Vishu has inspired my wife and I to do something ‘a little bit crazy’ alongside his efforts, and we’d love for you to support us and this very special cause.
Who is Vishu?
Vishu is quiet and unassuming, but underneath his calm demeanour is an intense focus and steely determination. I’ve recently come to know Vishu as he is helping me to plan a trekking expedition for young professional men to come and visit World Vision Australia’s work with me in a remote Himalayan community this October (more on that to come soon!).
One day, as we were casually sipping coffee and making arrangements, Vishu dropped on me the bombshell that in three months, he’ll be summiting Everest for the first time in his mountaineering career.
He said it like you or I might casually mention that we’re going on holidays down the coast for summer, so relaxed and humble is the guy.
Well despite his best efforts to ‘play it down’, he sure caught my attention!
“Everest! What?!”, I said.
Vishu went on to explain.
I have climbed many peaks above 7000 meters. Many of them were very challenging. I have also lost some of my closest friends to these expeditions.”
“Though many of these peaks are just as dangerous and technical (if not more so) than climbing Everest, our dedication and talent remains unheard of until we conquer the jewel in the crown. Everest.”
“My expedition to summit Everest is not the whole story in itself but the fulfilment of a personal quest that started as a passion for me and my beloved friends as teenagers.”
“That is why I’ve decided to climb Everest, to summarise the stories of all my expeditions before this, and to pay tribute to my closest friends, some of whom are with me now and some of whom have left us whilst pursuing this mutual passion.
As we continued to talk, Vishu shared with me his desire to use this incredible opportunity to raise funds and awareness for a ‘good cause’. I told him about the work of Green Pastures Leprosy and Rehabilitation Centre, a local hospital based here in Nepal that was started by the organisation my wife and I serve with, the International Nepal Fellowship.
And before we knew it, this was happening. Check out the video!
How does this involve my wife and I?
Vishu is dedicating his Everest expedition to raise funds and awareness for Green Pastures Leprosy Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre. But alongside Vishu, a team of international expats who are also connected to the hospital, have committed to running the ‘Himalayan Rush Triathlon’ at the same time, for the same purpose.
This includes my wife and I.
So… We’ve never done anything like this before. But spurred on by Vishu’s example, we’re going to give it our all. This full length triathlon – set around a Himalayan lake, surrounded by hills and set against the snow capped peaks of the Annapurna Mountains – involves a gruelling 1.5 km swim, 40 km ride and 10 km run. And you guessed it… it’s not going to be flat.
The Hospital and The Problem
The hospital itself, Green Pastures, is an incredibly special place for us. We’ve made numerous trips to the hospital to meet with the patients and to share in their stories. We even celebrated Christmas there recently.
Because people living with leprosy or disability in Nepal are often so marginalised and stigmatised, they have no one to care for them and no ability to pay for their treatment. As a result their physical and mental condition can deteriorate rapidly, even costing them their life. Other times, families and patients run into immense debt as they are forced to pay fees at the government hospitals.
And quite simply, because Green Pastures patients cannot afford to pay for their own treatment, without external funding the hospital cannot afford to keep providing its vital services. And right now, times are tough for the hospital, which is experiencing a significant funding shortfall.
We’d love you to support us and you can do so by making a donation to our fundraising page here via JustGiving
Thank you so much for being a part of this journey with us.
Matt and Britt