Ten adventurous trekkers from five countries set off from Kathmandu across the mountains through Langtang and Bridim in the Himalayas of Nepal on the 30th of September 2018. This happens all the time in the Himalayas. The mountains attract a stream of trekkers and adventure seekers during season. The Himalayas are one of the most challenging mountains on earth.
But here’s what was different. With an average age of 60, the group included trekkers from England, Scotland, Denmark, India and Canada. At 70, Rodger Clarke rounded off the upper end of the age spectrum. And what was even more special was these were mainly first-time trekkers.
Driven by a single-minded commitment to a cause they believe in, the group trekked for 12 days at altitudes around 5000mts. Their aim – to raise awareness and funds for Goa-based charity – El Shaddai Charitable Trust and UK-based Care for the Family.
“The first day was by far the most difficult for me,” said Roger. “We walked across narrow rope bridges, up steep slopes, climbed boulders. It was tough.”
The one driving force for Roger and the group was the supporters backing them and their cause.
“I’m 70, I knew this would be the last chance i got to do this and so I took it, adds Roger.”The fact that I had so many supporters who sponsored my cause is what drove me on. That and my belief in the cause we support.”
They stayed in local villages and tea rooms thereby benefiting the local economies following the horrendous earthquakes that so devastated the area. Their guide was born and brought up locally so intimately knew the area and came highly recommended.
But no one was ready for what awaited them up in the Himalayas. Aching knees, altitude sickness, and endless vistas of the most endurance-testing terrain on the planet, greeted the trekkers every day they spent in the mountains. Water was scarce, and wet wipes were all they could afford. But a strong determination to go the distance pushed them onward.
Every day was different – new views, new landscapes and vegetation, new lodges.
“I never expected the trek to be this hard on the body,” says Matthew Kurian, co-founder of El Shaddai Charitable Trust and a member of the trekking group, “I thought running the marathon was tough. This trek was like running the marathon, all day for over a week.”
The Himalayas can throw mighty obstacles at those who test its limits. But our brave souls took what the mountain tossed at them. Their belief in the causes they support greater than the hardships they faced.
In total, the trekkers raised 34,000 GBP thus far for their charities.
Nicky Cunliffe was responsible for bringing this group together and organising the trek. Nicky loves the drive of adventure – trying things people say is impossible.
“I was told I’m mad,” says Nicky who is 66 years young. “It’s wonderful to see what adventure can do to people. Adventure pushes you to challenge the limits. That carries into your life and nothing remains the same again.”
Seeing people change through an expedition is something that drives Nicky to organise more of them.
“I’ve seen people grow no matter the age,” says Nicky, “It’s wonderful. And the bonds that form in the face of difficulties stay with you as lifelong relationships.”
Roger is already ready for more. “Believe it or not, even at 70 I now believe I can do so much more” he says, “It’s only because of this adventure.”
Nicky is not just planning for the next expedition in 2020 but the subsequent one in 2022.
“By then I’ll be 70,” he says “I’m determined to go on as long as my body allows.”
For Nicky and Roger and the rest of the spirited group age is just a number.
El Shaddai in India was established in 1994 with the aim of rescuing children from the slums and streets. Children who have no safe future. With over 3,000 children in their care, the Charity provides these children with the basics – a home, protection, food and other necessities and goes beyond by providing them with an education that will give them a chance at life. Many of the children are now well placed in life with stable careers, good marriages and contributing to society.
Care for the Family is a national charity which aims to promote strong family life and to help those who face family difficulties. Care for the Family’s work was launched in 1988 by Rob Parsons. It all started with Rob leaving his job as a senior partner in a successful law practice to set up the family charity from a small office in a room at the back of a hairdresser’s in Cardiff. Now, a quarter of a century later, Care for the Family has become a national family charity running events and courses across the UK and creating resources that are used all over the world.
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Address: El Shaddai House Socol Vaddo, Assagao Goa-403507
Charity Reg. No: 009/IV/Vol.1 80G Tax Exemption No.: CIT/PNJ/E-1/142/80G/2009-10/944
FCRA Reg. No: 271830134, 12A Reg. No.: 718/E-2/12A/CIT/PNJ/1999-2000
Note: Donations to El Shaddai Charitable Trust is eligible for 50% Tax Exemption under 80G (Indian nationals only)
UK Address: 5, Manor Court, Victoria Square, Holsworthy, Devon EX22 6AA
Phone: 01409 254876 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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