The Official Opening, October 2006

Machermo Porter Shelter and Rescue Post is now officially open!

The official sign at the postOn the 10th October 2006 the Machermo Porter Shelter and Rescue Post, in the Everest National Park, was officially opened.

This project was started as a reaction to the numerous deaths of porters (and trekkers) in the Gokyo valley. IPPG started running a rescue operation from two rooms in a lodge at Machermo in 2003. The intention has always been to build a shelter for the porters, who often slept in caves or behind boulders in sub zero conditions. This dream became a reality when Community Action Nepal (CAN) offered to build the facility.

guests of honourGuests of honour at the opening ceremony were Tenzing Tashi (chairman Kumbila Buffer Zone), Namgyal Sherpa (local construction committee), Doug Scott CBE (founder of CAN), Ian Wall (CAN trustee, IPPG rep and building overseer), Gobhinda (CAN  building projects manager) and Rejane and myself (IPPG). It goes without saying that we represented all of you who have worked as volunteers and supported the IPPG over the years.

Tenzing Tashi accepts the key to the building from CAN Local Sherpa families and the Lama from Khunde along with his retinue provided a wonderful welcome and blessing of the facility. After the blessing ceremony, speeches were made, Sherpas danced and tea was served. At the end of the ceremony, the ‘key to the door’ was officially handed over to the Kumbila Buffer Zone (Sherpa) committee.

That afternoon, the volunteer doctors Matt and Dave (from Wales) gave the first altitude talk in the new sunroom, and that night a dozen porters bedded down in the brand new dormitory, complete with mats and blankets.

Monks meeting guests

Due to the success of this project, Ian Wall has already been asked by the KBZ committee to build a porter shelter at Gorak Shep, below the main Everest viewpoint of KalaPatar. IPPG will be providing funding toward this project.

The facility will have a strong educational and research component. Porters need education in high altitude survival, first aid, hygiene, environmental matters, English language and STDs. Medical students and doctors will learn about high altitude illness and carry out research. Trekkers will benefit from the altitude talks.

The ceremonial butter offerings (Namgyal Sherpa in the center)This auspicious project has been a close and fruitful collaboration between The National Park authorities, The KBZ committee, the local Sherpa committee, CAN and the IPPG. We all look forward  to collaborating on porter safety in the years to come. Well done everyone!

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