Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Thanks Jennifer from Inc. Magazine!!

How One Person Is Making a Difference

Jennifer Mahran, Senior Events and Merchandising Manger for Inc. Magazine, contacted Soles4Souls after returning from a trip to Southeast Asia. The account that follows is all too common in our world. With the work that Jennifer is doing here to help S4S set up shipping and distribution logistics in Nepal, her life is making a difference thousands of miles away.

By Jennifer Mahran
I was several days into an eighteen-day trek of the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal. Every day of the trek was a grueling adventure. The sunny 90 degree weather of the first day was demanding, but nothing compared to the temperatures that quickly followed as elevations reached higher and higher and temperatures dipped easily below freezing.

One night early in the trek Shai, my Israeli trekking partner, and Subas, our Nepali porter, stopped at a guest house for dinner and sleep. We were met by another group of Israeli trekkers and their guide. Later on their two frazzled porters joined us. One of the porters was a local man from a tiny town along the path. He was ill-prepared for the weather ahead, wearing only a tattered white sweater, ripped cotton pants, and flip flops.

The dilemma for the Israeli trekkers was what to do with him. They needed a porter, but this one, obviously, wouldn’t be able to make the 15,000+ foot pass called the Thorong La which was covered in snow year round. The Israeli’s, by hiring him, were responsible for his safety and realized that as the temperatures dropped they were putting this porter’s health at risk.

The morning after meeting all of them I was getting ready to start my day when I heard a light knock on my door. It was the local porter. I couldn’t really understand what he was saying to me in Nepali, but through hand gestures I realized his dilemma. He was begging me for clothes and shoes so that he wouldn’t get fired. I honestly can’t remember if I had anything to give him, but I do know that he did get fired a day or two later. You simply cannot do the Thorong La Pass in flip flops and expect to keep your toes. But, this man, and many others are willing to take that chance in order to earn just a few dollars to feed themselves and their families.

If you have any winter boots (preferably waterproof) please send them as soon as possible as Soles4Souls prepares to ship winter boots into this region.

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