Mesajul lui Lama cu privire la tragedia din Annapurna

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Namaste fratilor mei si surorilor mele din Romania.

Inima mea e trista. Zilele acestea, Nepalul jeleste moartea celor surprinsi la data de 14 octombrie 2014 de un viscol neobisnuit de puternic si de avalanse in regiunea Annapurna. O tragedie fara precedent. Nu stiu sa se fi intamplat in muntii nostri, pe traseele turistice si in aceasta perioada a anului, o grozavie mai mare. Cateva zeci de persoane au fost gasite decedate, iar peste o suta sunt date disparute. Excursionisti din diferite colturi ale lumii si carausi nepalezi deopotriva. Inima mea plange si este alaturi de familiile indurerate. E a doua tragedie imensa care ne-a lovit anul acesta, dupa cea intamplata in aprilie, pe Everest, in zona Ghetarului Khumbu.

Cu lacrimi in ochi imi amintesc de alt viscol naprasnic, intr-o toamna prin anii ’80, pe vremea cand nu erau cabane din loc in loc ca in ziua de azi, cand turistii parcurgeau Circuitul Annapurnei cu ajutor multor frati nepalezi care le carau echipamentul, corturile si proviziile. Eram unul dintre acesti carausi, un tanar de 19 de ani. Caram 50 de kilograme in spinare (astazi limita e 30) si inaintam cu greu prin zapada pana la brau. Vantul sufla din toate partile, iar cerul se unise cu pamantul intr-o mare alba, orbitoare, naucitoare. Purtam o pereche de pantofi gauriti (pe atunci nu vazusem bocanci decat in picioarele turistilor), iar mainile mi le protejam cu ajutorul unor pungi de plastic. Fata mi-era complet inghetata, nu-mi mai simteam trupul din cauza frigului si a oboselii, iar in minte imi revenea mereu si mereu aceeasi imagine, cea a bunicului meu, care plecase din Tibet cu ani in urma, ducand in carca mai multe kilograme decat visasem eu sa duc vreodata. Bunicul meu traversase muntii in conditii vitrege, prin trecatori periculoase, la mare altitudine, mergand saptamani in sir. Din cati pornisera, au ajuns la Kathmandu mai putin de jumatate. Asa era pe vremea aceea si asa era pe vremea cand eu eram un simplu caraus. Dar noi suntem din neamul Tamang si stim ce inseamna Himalaya. Si, la nevoie, strangem din dinti si mergem mai departe, fara teama si fara sa ne plangem.

Am devenit ghid pentru ca iubesc muntii astia si vreau sa le arat oamenilor frumusetea lor. La viata mea am fost si caraus, si bucatar, si instalator de corturi, si vraci, si bufon, si psiholog. Le-am facut pe toate din dragoste si respect pentru drumetii care vin la noi, in Nepal, pentru Himalaya. Nu am calatorit in alte tari, dar nu cred ca pe lumea asta exista munti mai frumosi ca ai nostri. Ii iubesc din tot sufletul si nu-mi pot imagina viata departe de ei.

Responsabilitatea fata de turisti este primordiala. Adeseori, turistii nu cunosc fata cumplita a muntilor Himalaya. Ei vad fotografii cu oameni fericiti, zambind triumfatori, calare pe crestele acelea inzapezite, avand ca fundal cerul albastru. Turistii vor acolo si unii sunt dispusi sa plateasca un pret corect pentru asta; altii, insa, cred ca se descurca ei mai bine si pretul devine, din nefericire, mult mai mare… De ciclonul Hudhud, care a venit din India, dinspre Golful Bengal, si s-a abatut asupra Annapurnei se stia cu zile bune inainte sa se intample tragedia. Astazi, mai toate cabanele de munte sunt conectate la Internet, dar poate ca lumea a fost mai mult preocupata sa puna poze frumoase pe Facebook si mai putin atenta la buletinele meteo. Si poate ca anumiti ghizi si carausi, urmarind mai mult castigul financiar si mai putin siguranta clientilor, si-au impins grupurile prin vremea care se inrautatea, spre moarte. Nu vreau sa acuz pe nimeni, viata in Nepal e foarte grea si fiecare incearca sa se descurce asa cum poate. Probabil cu totii s-au bazat pe faptul ca Circuitul Annapurnei este de obicei lipsit de pericole in aceasta perioada a anului. Totusi, la peste 5.000 de metri altitudine, aproape de trecatoarea Thorong La, vremea poate fi oricand potrivnica! Un ghid responsabil stie sa citeasca semnele, chiar si in lipsa prognozelor meteo oficiale, si nu se aventureaza niciodata cu clientii sai daca aceste semne ii spun sa stea locului, in ciuda faptului ca asta ar putea sa insemne, de cele mai multe ori, cheltuieli suplimentare din buzunarul propriu. Dar viata este mai pretioasa decat o noapte in plus petrecuta la cabana si zece portii de dal bhat care n-au fost prevazute in costul initial al excursiei. Un ghid responsabil nu pune niciodata in pericol viata clientilor sai. Pentru el, cel mai important e sa-i aduca pe toti teferi acasa.

Anul viitor, la primavara, impreuna cu fratiorul Sega, voi conduce un grup pana la Tabara de Baza Everest si alte doua grupuri in regiunea Annapurna. Vreau sa le transmit tuturor fratilor si surorilor care vor veni cu noi sa nu-si faca griji. Traseele noastre nu trec prin Thorong La sau prin zona Ghetarului Khumbu, iar Lama cunoaste foarte bine locurile si semnele naturii. Ca de obicei, Lama ii va aduce pe toti inapoi acasa, teferi si fericiti.

Va imbratisez cu toata dragostea,
Lama – ghid montan nepalez

P.S. Scrisoarea a fost redactata cu ajutorul dragului meu fratior Sega, caruia ii multumesc pe aceasta cale.

Sursa foto: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/10/141016-annapurna-hiking-circuit-nepal-avalanche/

Alte articole despre tragedia din Annapurna:
1) http://edition.cnn.com/2014/10/16/world/asia/nepal-snowstorm/index.html
2) http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/10/141015-himalaya-nepal-avalanche-blizzard-deaths-annapurna/
3) http://www.outsideonline.com/adventure-travel/asia/nepal/Why-Did-So-Many-People-Die-in-Nepal.html

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A Message From Lama Regarding the Annapurna Tragedy

Namaste to my brothers and sisters from Romania.

My heart is sad. These days, Nepal is mourning the death of those caught on the 14th of October 2014 by a terrible blizzard and avalanches in the Annapurna region. An unmatched tragedy. I don’t know of a bigger tragedy to happen in our mountains, on tourist trails in this season. Several dozens found dead, more than a hundred still missing… Trekkers from many parts of the world and Nepali porters alike… My heart is crying along with the grieving families. This is the second immense tragedy that struck us this year, after the one that happened in April on Everest, in the Khumbu Icefall area.

With tears in my eyes I remember of another terrible blizzard, one autumn in the ’80s, a time when you couldn’t find teahouses from place to place like today, when tourists were doing the Annapurna Circuit with the help of many Nepali brothers who were carrying their equipment, tents and food supplies. I was one of those porters, a young man of 19. I was carrying 50 kilos with my back (today the limit is 30) and I was moving with great difficulties through the waist deep snow. The wind was blowing from all directions and the sky united with the earth in puzzling, blinding, white sea. I was wearing a pair of shoes with holes in the soles (back then I saw mountain boots only in the feet of the tourists) and I was trying to protect my hands with the help of some plastic bags. My face was completely frozen, I couldn’t feel my body because of the cold and exhaustion, and in my was coming the same image, again and again, the image of my grand father, who left Tibet many years ago, carrying with his back more kilos than I ever did or could. My grand father crossed the mountains in harsh conditions, through perilous high altitude passes, walking week after week. From that caravan, less than a half arrived in Kathmandu. So it was in those times and so it was in that time when I was a simple porter. But we are Tamang people and we know what Himalaya means. And, if needed, we clench our teeth and walk further, without fear and complain.

I became a guide because I love these mountains and I want to show their beauty to the people. In my life I was a porter, a cook, a tent builder, a medicine man, a clown and a psychotherapist. I did these all out of love and respect for the trekkers that come to us, in Nepal, for the Himalayas. I didn’t travel to other countries, but I don’t think there are more beautiful mountains than those we have here. I love these mountains with all my heart and I cannot imagine my life without them.

The responsibility for the tourists is primordial. Often, the tourists don‘t know the wrathful face of the Himalayas. They see photos with happy people smiling victoriously while riding those snowy peaks, having the blue sky as the background. The tourists want to go there and some of them are willing to pay a fair price for it; others think they can handle better and the price becomes, unfortunately, much higher… We knew days ahead about the Hudhud cyclone that came from India, from the Bay of Bengal, we knew it will strike Annapurna. Nowadays, almost every teahouse is connected to the Internet. But may be people were more preoccupied to post beautiful pictures on Facebook and less mindful to the weather reports. And may be some guides and porters, pursuing rather financial gain than safety for their clients, pushed their groups through the worsening weather, to death. I don’t want to accuse anyone, life in Nepal is hard and everyone is trying their own way to make a living. May be all of them relied on the fact that the Annapurna Circuit is usually safe in this time of year. At 5.000 meters altitude, though, close to the Thorong La Pass, the weather can be so dangerous anytime! A responsible guide knows how to read the signs, even when he doesn’t listen to the official weather reports and he never takes risks for his clients if these signs tell him to stay, in spite of the fact that this means additional costs supported from his own pocket. But life is more precious than an extra night in a teahouse and ten extra portions of dal bhat, above the negotiated budget of the expedition. A responsible guide never jeopardize the life of his clients. For him, the most important thing is to bring them all back safe and sound.

Next year, in spring, together with brother Sega, I will lead a group to EBC (Everest Base Camp) and two other groups in the Annapurna region. I want to transmit to all the brothers and sisters, who will come with us, this message: do not worry. Our trekking routes don’t cross Thorong La Pass or Khumbu Icefall and Lama knows very well the places and the signs of nature. As usual, Lama will bring you all back safe and happy.

I embrace you with all my love,
Lama – Nepali mountain guide

P.S. This letter is written with the help of my dear brother Sega, whom I thank.

Photo source: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/10/141016-annapurna-hiking-circuit-nepal-avalanche/

More articles about Annapurna tragedy:
1) http://edition.cnn.com/2014/10/16/world/asia/nepal-snowstorm/index.html
2) http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/10/141015-himalaya-nepal-avalanche-blizzard-deaths-annapurna/
3) http://www.outsideonline.com/adventure-travel/asia/nepal/Why-Did-So-Many-People-Die-in-Nepal.html