Hike for Help is dedicated to bringing a better way of life to the people of the Solo Khumbu Valley of Nepal. We do this through myriad of ways but ultimately we go on annual trip to Nepal. One of the very main reasons I decided to do this trip is the leader of the trip, Lhakpa Sherpa. He told me we will have a lot of chance to interact with the locals, and I think that going on this trip can make me learn a lot about the local people. To live with them, eat with them, do the same things like what they do and I think about it it’s a very great opportunity and at the same time I can make a difference. The trip just sounded so worthwhile and like I’d be truly dedicating my time to something amazing While I was there, the whole thing sort of changed for me. It kind of changed from me being there and wanting to help out but really just wanting to be there to really seeing how big Hike to Help really is, and how much Lhakpa Sherpa and his associates have done. I wanted to get involved in Hike for Help after I had seen their mission statement and realized that I could provide meaningful help to a region that needed it. I think the most rewarding aspect is seeing the students change and develop throughout the fall semester before we went on our service trip to Nepal. The leadership skills that they developed were particularly impressive. The students created a fundraising campaign, organized a fundraising dinner and raised over five thousand dollars to help support our Hike for Help project. And i was really impressed with the enthusiasm that they went into that project with. I really couldn’t quite figure out what my expectations were before. I’d never really been to a foreign country, so I really had no idea. And when I got there some things that I expected were pretty similar, except I imagined a one in what was really a hundred. So everything was just mind-blowing for me and way more incredible than I could have ever imagined. And coming back, I think about Nepal every single day and I’m just constantly thinking about when I can go back. I realized while I was there, how important everything was to the locals. You know—how important they saw all these projects from Hike for Help were. And that really hit home when the village of Ghat actually invited us to celebrate with them. So they threw us a big party and they gave us a lot of food and you know, we danced all night. It was a lot of fun. But it really—the whole ceremony people stood up and they gave speeches and they talked about how important all of this was to them and how much they appreciated it, and how much they appreciated both Lhakpa and Mines and the involvement of the students. And they went around and they gave us blessings. It was a big ceremony and that really emphasize really just hit home how important all this was. You would think that flying past Everest in a helicopter would be your most memorable experience. 20,000 feet up with a mountain looming another 10,000 feet above you… And that was pretty good. But the most memorable experience by far was meeting the Sherpa community. Living with Sherpas in their own houses, experiencing part of this region that tourists never see, the climbers never see—they bypass it entirely. And we were privileged enough to be able to live with Sherpas, for at least a short time. One of the most memorable moments of the trip was when we were returning from a day-hike from around 14,600 feet. We had gotten lost, there were a number of other complications between myself and a couple other staff members of Hike for Help. We came across the water bottle that was left behind by one of our previous groups, and it had a note. Something along the lines of “don’t die and enjoy this water.” It was that small act that just completely made our day and allowed us to really finish the hike with a smile on our face. The biggest take that I got out of this trip was about the people there. They are the most generous, caring, happy, wonderful people that I’ve ever met in my life and it was eye-opening to live with them and see their lifestyle. And you see how amazing they are. So, I was expecting the trip to be about eighty percent volunteering and manual labor, and then maybe twenty percent of this cultural learning experience. In reality, we only spent a couple days doing some volunteer work and the rest of the trip was dedicated to immersing us in the culture You know, living with the Sherpa people, experiencing their day-to-day life and seeing what prospects there are for their families. It was an incredibly eye-opening experience. If you’re worried that the experience is going to change you, you’re right. It’s going to change you. And for a very good—in a good direction. It was so worth it. It was incredible and like nothing I’ve ever done before. And if you have a chance to go out and do it, I fully recommend doing it. And make sure to pack light.