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Pillars 4


Our men waited
The porters to carry our gear
That were in blue barrels
They were filled with smiles
Happy to be on adventure
Despite that I estimated that they would be paid
around $10 dollars a day
It was more than they could make in a week
Farid led them with zeal
And they were allk grateful

An elderly man but still look quite young for his age
He commanded respect from the younger men
Sat in the truck
He was Isa
Our cook
He was small man and spoke english well enough
He greeted me with warm hands
“I am Isa,” Isa spoke “I am grateful to be on your expedition”
I introduced myself smiling
I knew I would get along with Isa
From his outward gentleness in his hands

Within minutes we were on our journey
The porters all crammed into one truck with the supplies
While the expedition team filled a jeep
We roared through the countryside
Watching the women plowing in the fields
And the men carrying the wheat
Readying for the upcoming winter

Excitement hit me
This was it
And everything I felt was excitement
Each mountain pass made my heart race
I wanted to climb them all
How exciting it would to of been an explorer
Travelling to unknown worlds
Experiencing a different terrain
Now I was alive

And soon we came to a stop
An avalanche had ripped into the mountainside
And crushed the roadside
The trucks came to a halt
“We are gona have to hike over this mess” Dan ordered
I looked at the mountainside
It was steep and rocky
I was up for the challenge and grabbed my backpack
And went straight up the hill
Following the porters lead

I watched the porters walk following their footsteps
Despite being in sandles
And carrying heavy loads
they moved with ease along the mountains side
Rocks slid occasionally and
I became aware of the dangers around me
The sun beat down on us
And it was unmerciful
I was soaked in sweat as we summited to the highest point of the mountainside
We were able to look upon the road side below
And we began our descent
The rock path was soft sand causing us to slip
I tripped and clutched for the rocks.
It held but my feet had knocked more loose sand and rocks down wards
Isa was right behind ready to pick me up

“Are you okay?” Isa spoke
“Yeah” I brushed myself
“No Doctors for many miles here” Isa spoke

We were close to the bottom
when we heard a scream
I turned to see a young porter who was where I had slipped
tumbling down the mountainside
Isa was first to respond
He dropped his bag and headed towards the porter
The porter had slid down the mountainside for 10 metres into hard rock
He lay dazed as the porters came to his rescue
I counted my stars that it had not been me

The other porters aided the injured porter down and we all met up
Blood profusely came out from his brow
The sharp rocks had cut deep
He put on a brave face ripping some of his tunic to make a bandage
We gave him water
And let him rest

“We pay him off for today and send him home” Dan told Farid
Farid and Isa looked at one another
Isa headed towards the man
The young man eyes began welling
I became concerned and headed over
“Is there a problem”
Isa spoke “Oh no problem, we have to send him home”
The young man spoke in Urdu
He wanted to continue
He spoke to me on Urdu showing his feet and hands,
They were strong and able
“Does the trip mean a lot to him”
“He needs the money, it will help his family” Isa spoke
“Then wait a second” I spoke and I went into my bag and pulled out a first aid kit

“What are you doing?” Dan asked
“I am going to stitch this man’s brow” I explained
“We can get a new guy in Askole”
“He reckons he can make the journey”
“Okay, this is your call,” Dan said heading off to rest up “We need to head to Askole soon”

I returned back to the injured man
I asked Isa to ask him his name
“Nazir” he spoke
“Okay Nazir, this is going to hurt but I need to do this if you still want to come” pointing at his eyebrow
Isa explained as I began to thread the needle to stich the wound
I gave him some panadeine and Isa help hold his face
The man held strong as I began to stitch his eyebrow.
The porters gathered watching
They applauded as I completed the last stitch
Nazir solemnly thanked me

Kris was amazed by my willingness to help
we gathered our things
And began our walk to Askole
Along the roadside
Now and again if I faltered to rest
A porter would offer to take my bag
I refused politely each time
But I would always get porters smiling

Isa sided with me
“You are a good man” Isa spoke “We porters don’t get such help”
“That’s okay”
“No, we are grateful, these boys are all from my village,
we are very poor village. Not many foreigners are so willing to help us.
You have our deepest respect” Isa spoke.
I blushed

Darkness fell and the stars came alive as we made it into the town of Askole.
The porters quickly set our tent as we rested
Nazir came to me
Clutching a beaded necklace
With a precious blue crystal.
I at first didn’t want to accept the gift
But he was adamant I take it

Exhaustion took over and I quickly succumbed to sleep…

Journal Comments

  • Adrian Rachele