From Monday 4th May, Paul Mattin will march 170 miles from his Devon home to the Nepali Embassy in London where he will deliver prayer flags and pay respect for the thousands of lives that have been lost.
Paul Mattin from Woodbury Salterton is a former Royal Marines Officer (Captain) who specialises in leadership and training. He has led numerous expeditions to Everest and is in close contact with friends from a Sherpa family living in the Everest Valley.
Follow his journey on social media using #NepalYomp and donate here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/Nepal-Earthquake-Mega-Yomp
Paul writes below his thoughts on why we should help this proud and special nation;
As I write this piece from the comfort of my Devon home, I picture the situation in Kathmandu and around the tiny village communities of Nepal. In fact, I am trying not to picture it with too much focus as it moves me to tears.
Nepal is beautiful. Its mountains, its glaciers, its temples, religion, wildlife - and its extraordinary people. I am lucky and privileged enough to go there most years, generally leading treks, introducing folk to the calmest, most caring people in the world.
In all my ventures, both as a Royal Marine and traveller, I have never met a more beautiful clan of people. They are the best.
I take my trekking groups to the mountains; to either the Khumbu region below Everest, or to the Annapurna range (further west from the capital Kathmandu).
Our attentions have been drawn to the Kathmandu Valley and Everest region this last week - as the earthquake disaster unfolds there.
Allow me to paint a picture of what normal life is actually like in a typical high-altitude Nepali village.
In the high Khumbu valley the people are generally poor. If not for the trekkers and climbers bringing opportunity, these people exist on very simple agriculture and local trade. They exist, just about, and they raise their wonderful children (despite the most shocking child mortality rates in Asia).
When I arrive in the Khumbu valley it’s by light aircraft where, leaving the hustle of Kathmandu behind, I land on a mountain runway and I’m instantly immersed in the culture and generosity of the worlds very best human beings.
These are the Sherpa people. The Buddhist Clan of the Everest valley. The people made famous by Hillary and Hunt in 1953; Sherpa Tenzing's very own kin.
Although I miss my own family when I travel to Nepal I slot straight back into my 'other' life here. The welcome is immense. Sherpas and porters (the people who carry tourists bags and kit for a few pounds a day) embrace you. They sing, smile, laugh and care for you as if you really are family. Their family. And so starts the experience, the rhythm of mountain life that is exceptional and unique to the Khumbu.
In a monetary sense, these are the poorest people in Asia but as a visitor to their world, looking beyond their trappings and tiny huts, I know this to be inaccurate. They have everything. They possess a level of joy and a strength of heart that we in the Western World (sadly) cannot come close to. These dear people would give you the shirts off their backs, their last meal - their bed, water, shelter.... and they'd probably even offer to carry you too.
Why? Because they are the most genuine and self-sacrificing people on the planet. They care, they want to please and they take joy in giving.... even though so many of them have nothing.
Right now many of them, literally, have nothing.
Two days ago I contacted my guide and great friend Lhakpa Nuru Sherpa, a man who lost his own father, aged four, to an avalanche on Everest. I asked him for news on his family and this was his reply:
“All families are safe and fine here but my village is devastated and badly affected by earthquake. We are living on open ground under the sky. My house is also badly destroyed by earthquake and there is nothing left...but thanks to God that we are alive..”
Their village is 'devastated', livelihoods deleted, trekking income removed, and the monsoon season approaches. But they still thank their God. They still ask after me in the UK, of my family, and they send their love. We need to do the same.
As the death toll rises - we must help this proud and special nation. A nation that has supported Britain through its Empire ambitions and Summit exploits. We have to help Nepal back to its feet and return the love and care that they have given so selflessly to us.
In Nepal - when you visit in the future, you will be met by this phrase; Namaste. It will be delivered, with eye-contact, with hands held high in a praying shape, and with a tiny bow.
It means, roughly; "I worship the god within you" - and they mean it; totally.
Namaste. Paul Mattin