We’ve been speaking to some of our Peruvian team members, asking them about their experience in Nepal, and what they anticipate the differences and challenges to be in dealing with the lakes here. One statement got repeated several times: the Khumbu is vast. Jesus Gomez:
“Peru is very different from the Himalayas because here the scale is just huge.”
That brings up all kinds of logistical challenges. In Peru, roads made most of the dangerous lakes accessible within one or two days; but Imja lake is at least a week’s trek from Lukla, the nearest large village.
Jorge Recharte, the director of the Andean Programs at TMI and part of the team of social scientists present, spoke to us about his experience of the Khumbu so far: ”Here there is a sense of exotic – a wealth and richness of culture… I’m excited to explore the possibility of Peruvian and Nepalese exchange, working together with glacial lakes.” Jorge said the huge diversity of backgrounds and perspectives present in the expedition – with representatives from 13 countries – was especially interesting.
“There was a conversation last night between Ang Rita, a Nepali, and Cesar, a Peruvian, discussing what’s possible… and what’s not possible – it is just fantastic, the sparks of ideas that happen when you bring different backgrounds, different nationalities. [...] Social scientists are meeting to discuss the importance of responding to the physical threat of glaciers receding, by recognizing that it is a human response. It’s all about the people, and how they respond. The Sherpa people are interested in the solutions because they are the ones that will be responding, and they want to know how to do it. “
Most of all, it’s incredible that all these people have come to work together on a shared issue – and so far, it’s going very well.
“There is a common goal to understand glacial lakes, to share our respective experiences… the process of working through that, and then collaborating. If we continue as we have so far these two days, the result will be very powerful.”
It’s still a long way to Imja, but already people from opposite ends of the earth are trading knowledge, forming friendships, and speculating possible followup management strategies. With every step towards our destination, the excitement is more tangible.