Thursday, July 13, 2017

Porters of the Mountains

Nepal’s beauty is tantalizing with unbelievable scenery, iconic trekking routes and unbelievable experiences. Thousands of tourist flood into the country to feel these mesmerizing beauty. Due to the good flow of trekkers, thousands of people have been employed and making their living. Guides, lodge operators, tea houses and potters are some people that are heavenly dependent on trekkers in the mountain. But among these potters are the one that makes less fortune.
During my trek to the Annapurnna, Mustang and Everest region, the condition of potters was very similar. All of them were exploited - more iconically, the potters carrying loads of tea houses and lodges. The potters have from 90-100 kilograms of load in their back. When we people find difficult to lift 15 kilograms of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) cylinder then imagine the pressure exerted by this weight on the back of these potters. You may imagine that these potters may be paid a handsome money but it’s false. They are paid way lower wages than that you think. Ethically, it would not allow me to reveal the exact amount but with that amount these potters will have difficult time to earn their living.
Porter in the Everest trail
Lower wages might be considerable when you see the way that these potters are treated. The lodge owners do not allow them to rest in the tea house even when they are ready to match the amount that visitors pay. Fortunately, there are system of porter quarter implemented in some trekking routes which are especially designed for them. However, these quarter are often dingy, dirty and dark with minimum facility. In the peak season, the potters are compelled to sleep in dining room or even have to make arrangements for themselves somewhere under the open sky when the cold winds from the mountain is blowing.
It’s amazing how these potters keep themselves happy even after this. The porter quarter is generally filled with gossips and laughter. The porters of different clients get together and in no time turn into good friends. Usually, they share their stories, the places that they have travel to, how their guides and clients are. The talk is generally accompanied by a local alcohol and rice wine ( Chhyang) which serves as a pain killer after all the days hard work.
These porters have been exploited and the trekkers who are from the country where human rights matters the most do not question anything. Either they may be ignorant or they may be lust in the beauty of the Himalayas.



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