Sustainable Tourism is the way

Sonam Sherpa: “from Expo we expect useful models for Nepal”

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He was once a Sherpa porter and now is one of the biggest businessmen in Nepal. Here is his incredible and fascinating story. The story of a man who, not only climbed the highest mountains in the world, but also reached the “peak of success” in his life. He did all this without forgetting his roots and without sacrificing ethical values in the name of Money. For these reasons, we all have to learn from Sonam Sherpa and his lesson is particularly important considering that we are approaching Expo 2015. In fact, in order to feed the planet, we need to remember that the Earth is the most precious good we have, and, consequently, it has to be protected and preserved.

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Sonam-sherpaSonam was born 54 years ago in a small village near Solu-Khumbu, almost 3000 metres from the sea, in the foothills of Everest. His family used to live in a little house made of wood and stones, without running water and electricity. Although he didn’t attend school regularly, Sonam speaks several languages fluently and manages his business activities successfully by himself. When he was still a boy, he moved to Katmandu where he worked as a porter for western expeditions to the Himalayas. Then, thank to his skills and determination, his life changed: from a local trekking company, to international success.

He met and, sometimes led, the most famous western climbers: from Messner to Lafaille, from Kammerlander to Batard. His first-wife, Pasang Lhamu, was the first Nepalese woman who climbed Everest. Unfortunately, she died during the descent because of an unexpected worsening of weather conditions. But thanks to one of the several Humanitarian Organizations operating in Nepal founded by Sonam, her memory lives on.

Nowadays, Sonam is the owner of the biggest Nepalese Trekking Company, he owns 17 airplanes and 5 helicopters, by which he can connect Katmandu to the Himalayan valleys. He employs, directly or indirectly, thousands of people. Despite the fact that he is the classic example of a successful self-made man, he has not forgotten the things that are truly important to our existence: values and traditions. Simply by speaking with him, you can understand that his fame hasn’t changed his way of being. He’s reserved and smiles and you can tell by his gaze that he doesn’t want to personify the stereotypical powerful man. Furthermore, his spirituality, so typical of his people, emerges from his dark eyes, through which he expresses his idea of the world. This vision involves respect towards all living beings and towards Mother Earth who needs to be fed so we can be provided with her Energy for Life.

 

Simonetta Faverio

 

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