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Using PayPal at 20,000ft

May 18, 2014 by

Another beautiful and quite unique element of a Himalayan adventure is the need to bring only cash to pay for your purchases, whether food, accommodations or other services on the trail – something that I almost forgot about in the US. Credit cards are at best used to cut a fruit.

The at times sporadic gift of connectivity brings a trekker back to the endless world of web opportunities and, fortunately in my case, the forgotten payments due.

DSC02648 smallWhether it was a bill for gear I sold and purchased on eBay, a due payment for glacier training I did back home or a surprise bouquet of flower ordered from Base Camp to send home, PayPal came to the rescue and helped me make those happen with a couple of clicks.

As you all know, the Everest expedition is combined with my fundraising support for the Nepal Youth Foundation (it was an absolute delight to meet them in Kathmandu and see first hand how their work positively affects the lives of local underprivileged children). PayPal has been an essential instrument to enable donors to contribute to this cause. Fundraising happened on the crowdfunding platform we used as well as through the multiple donations I accepted using the mobile apps.

Funny enough, during the meeting at Base Camp between the Sherpas and representatives from the ministry of tourism, one of the Minister’s people noticed the PayPal logo on my hat and said:” PayPal, global payments!!”

Does it mean that in the future I will pay the Himalayan tea houses for my delicious momos or ginger tea using PayPal?!

Whether you’re an user or never tried PayPal, our fundraising campaign to build a New Life Center for children affected by HIV is still open: make a donation and help us make this dream become possible.

Visiting the Nepal Youth Foundation in Kathmandu

May 8, 2014 by

My last day in Kathmandu was dedicated to the visit of the Nepal Youth Foundation, the non-profit organization that I have been supporting for my Everest expedition. I was really looking forward to seeing in person the great work they do and hearing first-hand about their accomplishment and plans. Som Paneru, NYF President and and a former NYF scholar, greeted me and acted as my Cicero to the visit of NYF Centers in the south part of the city.

We initially visited the Nutritional Rehabilitation Home, where Nutritional centermothers and their malnourished children are welcome for a treatment period of about 6 weeks. During this period, children go through a nutritional rehabilitation and the mothers receive education about preparing nutritious meals with food and ingredients available in Nepal. The NYF has established 16 similar centers all over Nepal and the model is such that after 5 years each Center is handed over to the local government who will continue the implementation of the programs. Insofar, the Kathmandu Home has counted 258 admissions in 2014 and 3400 since its inception.

Our next stop was at the New Life Center, where children affected by New Life CenterHIV are hosted and treated. HIV is a growing health problem in Nepal and, even more worryingly, it causes discrimination and as a result abandonment for both children and their caretaker. During their staying at the Center, food, housing and medical treatment are provided for free – an ambulance is also parked in the garden, as trips to the hospital are often necessary. During my visit, four children were permanent residents and the Center has the capacity to host up to 20 people. We reached the Center just before lunch and we briefly interrupted a singing and dance class – several young volunteers from Europe and US were assisting the children and the energy of the kids was wonderfully joyful (no, I didn’t sing fortunately …)

The New Life Center offers a very comprehensive approach to HIV treatment and for this reason is very costly. The New Life Centerwork NYF has been doing over the last 20 years is truly phenomenal and their success in Nepal is proof that their commitment and approach are what makes the difference.

The fundraising I have been championing during my Everest expedition will support NYF’s plans for the New Life Center: I encourage you to learn more about it and consider making a donation. Think about this: if a single dollar goes a really long way in Nepal, how big can your impact be?!

Dreams are possible if you believe!