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BASECAMP EVEREST HIKE: WHEN GOD SAYS YES

May 18, 2015

when God

I have had a lot of people asking me to share my Everest Basecamp (EBC) trip. I have thought of the shortest possible way to try and tell this story from beginning to end. Unfortunately this cannot be done in one single blog. Hence a book is on the way (Why not).

My blogs also usually have a sentimental meaningful message attached to them, some life lessons of sorts, and because every single minute spent in Nepal had a lesson attached to it, it was also hard trying to summarize and put all of them together. So I have had to choose one, and hence the subject of today’s blog: WHEN GOD SAYS YES!

Hiking EBC was not something I thought I would do anytime soon. It was in my bucket list, but I did not see myself doing it in the next 2 years, because the mention of “Everest” was clouded by the thought of walking along a trail covered with corpses as one tried to figure out how to stay alive. This is the picture the world has painted about hiking the highest mountain in the world.

After our hiking group failed to secure hiking the Inca Trail in Peru, a good friend of mine, Lilly Seema told me about another group that were planning on going to EBC. I thought to myself… oh well, why not, go for it. I started and continued to pray about the trip long before it happened, and as the departure date grew closer and closer I prayed even more.

I had not been training as I usually would, and I had just gone through an emotionally challenging streak in my love life, and as much as my body was not prepared for challenge, my mind was also all over the place. The day I was supposed to leave, as I sat on my couch waiting for my friend Portia to pick me up, I thought about chickening out of the trip. But the thought of losing out on my financial investment quickly brought me back to reality.

As Portia walked through my front door all excited, she asked me, “Are you ready?” – My response was, “I’m not going anymore.” She laughed at me and dragged my suitcase out the house to the car. That was the end of that conversation (LOL).

Fast-forward. Flying to Kathmandu, required connecting in Dubai. We (being our group), landed in Dubai as scheduled. I quickly felt the need to share on twitter that we had landed and were headed to Kathmandu. I got a response, “Are you aware that there has been an earthquake in Nepal.” I shared that little piece of information with the group, and our unanimous response was one of ignorance, “Oh these things happen.” When I heard that it was an 7.8 magnitude earthquake, I quickly thought back to standard 5 geography lesson to figure out what was the highest magnitude the Richter scale hit. “Eight” – I thought to myself. “wait no, it’s 9. No Molele it’s eight.” Then I realized how big this problem was.

As I was still involved with my thoughts, one of the airport officials walked towards me, with a smile on his face. “Kathmandu?” he asked with a slight whisper. I nodded. “Do you know what’s happened there?” I whispered back, “There’s been an earthquake.” He nodded. “Yes,” he responded, “and the Kathmandu airport is now closed.” A feeling of despair went straight to the bottom of my heart.

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We looked for a spot and settled in making ourselves comfortable, as we waited for an inevitable end. Five hours later, we were still waiting. I watched Google, Facebook, Twitter and every other piece of media to see what was going on where we were destined to go. Then more news hit. Basecamp had been swept by an avalanche! “Whoa! Noooo! Why Lord! I really don’t want to go back home not having conquered this trail. I don’t want to take this trip again next year. It has to happen now!” And then I remembered, Katlego Letheo was up on that mountain.
A couple of weeks before, I had learnt of an amazing woman who had left to try and conquer and summit the mountain. Not Basecamp. Hers was to make it to the top of Everest. I stalked her a bit on twitter and we ended up swapping telephone numbers. I immediately texted her to check if she was ok. She responded. She was ok. She was on the Tibet side of the mountain, not Nepal. There was no immediate danger on that side. Relief.

We continued to wait to hear if there would be any flights to Kathmandu at all. By sunset, it was clear that there was no hope. The domestic part of the airport was filled with Nepali residents who were desperate to get home to their families. Amongst the crowd, we met a young lady who had been studying in the US, who was headed home to get married. She hadn’t been home in 7 years, and this one time when she was going home, the earth shook.

By this point in time I was saddened more by the fact that I would have to go back home with my tail between my legs, than by the lives that had been lost in Kathmandu (It’s selfish I know, but that was the reality at that time). The fact that I was bombarded with calls and messages by concerned family and friends  back home didn’t help. They all sang one song, “Come back home, you can always do it again next year.” No matter what anyone said, going back  was not an option.

I found a secluded corner at that packed airport and had a conversation with God.
Me: Lord, WTH… (Ok – I didn’t put it like that). What’s going on? Why is this happening?
God: *Silence*
Me: Please tell me what to do? Should I continue? Should I go back home?
God: *Silence*
Me: Lord, if you knew this was going to happen, why did you allow me to come this far. What’s the point of flying all the way to the Dubai airport? It doesn’t make sense.
God: *silence*

I hate those times when God just doesn’t say a thing. They are my worst.

Me: Aiiiiight Lord. Be like that!

I opened twitter to check messages, and a verse popped out at me.
“REMEMBER THAT I HAVE COMMANDED YOU TO BE DETERMINED AND CONFIDENT. DO NOT BE AFRAID OR DISCOURAGED, FOR I THE LORD YOUR GOD AM WITH YOU WHERE EVER YOU GO. JOSHUA 1:9. (It came out exactly like that. Good News Translation.)

God: There you go.
Me: Then onwards we go Lord.

Long Story Short: The airlines arranged entry Visa’s into Dubai, we were booked in a hotel and spent the night there. Next flight to Kathmandu was for 14h30 the following day. By 11h00 the next day we were at the airport, excited and happy that we were finally going. Just as we arrived at the airport… Breaking News: 6.8 Magnitude aftershock hit Kathmandu, and Kathmandu airport is closed. Whooooaaa!
At that point I had lost 90% of any hope of making it to EBC. Then we heard that Lukla airport (where the trail actually starts) was jam packed with people trying to get out, and that making it to there was near impossible. That was my ultimate its-all-over minute.

My conversation with God after that:
Me: Daddy, if this flight is cancelled, then I will give up and go back home.
God: Aiight girl.

An announcement came to say that further flights to Kathmandu had been delayed.

Me: Lord, I said cancelled, not delayed
God: Aiiight girl.

An hour and half later, we boarded a flight to Kathmandu and were on our way. 5 hours later, in the middle of the night, we landed in Kathmandu to a devastating airport. Cracked floors, cracked walls, luggage all over the place, aid packages lying around, and very few officials at work. After 3 hours we finally received our luggage and made it to our hotel. I won’t get into the details of how that first night was. You are going to have to buy the book to get more details.

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Fast Forward:
Lukla is the most dangerous airport in the world; seriously – Google it. If it’s raining, flights can’t land there. If it’s misty/cloudy, flights can’t land there. As Murphy would have it, 2 days later, the day we were supposed to fly to Lukla, it was overcast without any hope of the sun coming out. *sigh* Once again we were stuck at the airport for a full day waiting for the weather to clear. It didn’t. We went back to the hotel saddened by the fact that we were losing all opportunities of making it to Basecamp. If we didn’t get on a flight the next day, it was all over.

Conversation between God and me:
Me: Lord, you gave me that Joshua verse Dude. You said you would be with me where ever I go.
God: Yes… and? I’m here ain’t I?
Me: Look, if Joshua can pull off that making-the-sun-stand-still thing, so can I right? Well the weather better be clear tomorrow. Please sort it out.
God: Let it be done according to your faith.

The next day the sun was up just in time for us to take off and land in Lukla, and the moment we landed, it started raining. The trek could officially begin. I was so happy!

We started off by having tea in a nearby tea-house where there were a lot of people who had turned back from trekking because of the earthquake and avalanche. They had nothing but negative and scary things to say, “The trail is damaged. There’s gonna be another earthquake. You can’t go up.” The ultimate was a gentleman from Taiwan who felt the need to sternly reprimand us and scare the wits out of us. He even managed to bring one of our team members to tears, “Do you people have earthquakes where you come from?” he asked shouting across the room. “No? Well we do, and when there’s an earthquake, you stay away from the mountains before they land in unstable. You people are crazy to go up.” Now that got to us. BUT we went on…..
The point is, when God says yes, no-one and nothing can stop something from happening. Besides the long hauls at the airport, there were no more quakes until we finished trekking. We were always safe. Because most people had turned back, we practically had the trail to ourselves.
Even the delays at the airport were part of God’s plan for us to make it. Had we arrived a day earlier, we would have been shaken by the earthquake and probably decided not to trek. Everything worked out PERFECTLY, Because God said “I will be with you.” He had already said YES, so nothing and no one could stop that trip. When God has given you a Word, stick to it with dear life. Don’t listen to any other murmurings from other people. Focus and meditate on His Word. Don’t be deterred. Keep your eyes on Him.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight” – Proverbs 3:5-6

That’s it for now….. Will share more soon…

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Faith permalink
    May 18, 2015 18:42

    Thank you for sharing Lerato! You are a courageous woman – wishing you well in your endeavours!

    Luvies

    Faithy

    Ps. I can’t wait for the book:)

  2. Tebatso permalink
    May 19, 2015 13:44

    Such an enjoyable read this book, I mean excerpt 🙂 Faith building stuff. Well done my friend, may this kind of faith testimony be the pillar in all areas of your life ♡

  3. May 19, 2015 22:12

    Wow!

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