4Facing fear

How I was brought to my knees on a mountainside in Nepal — and discovered excellence

The frontline of major disasters has been my office for nearly two decades, and here my role is always that of leader. I aim to inspire others with my passion and to be their cheerleader when things get difficult. When others falter, I become tough and resilient. On the frontline I find I have the courage and clarity to make hard decisions — I am super strong. 

Just over a year ago, I was leading a team to Thangdor, a remote mountain village in Nepal hit hard by the 2015 earthquake. My local Nepali team had learned about the widespread devastation suffered by the village through the network of Sherpas who climb the remote Himalayas for a living. We knew that many villagers had died and most of the survivors had lost homes and livelihoods. No aid had yet touched this village, so we were on a mission to reach these forgotten people.

Earlier that morning, together with my small trusted team, I had left Kathmandu by jeep and began the slow and hazardous journey to Thangdor. The few sealed sections of road quickly disappeared, and miles of rough track and sheer mountainous drops lay ahead. I was familiar with the route, but the earthquake had turned what had been a beautiful, awe-inspiring journey into a horrifying ordeal. The devastation throughout the region was immeasurable. Everywhere we looked homes and temples had been razed to the ground and a sense of loss and despair was evident ...

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