Everybody knows that Carlos Soria is a mountain climbing figure and his drive to succeed at 76 years of age is legendary. Today, however, we won’t be talking about these defining features of his personality, but about the kindness in his heart. While not unscathed, Sama, a village he loves, managed to make it through the earthquake without any human losses.
Samagaon – or Sama- welcomed Carlos Soria during his first Himalayan expedition in 1973. Since then, a special bond has tied Carlos Soria to this village at the feet of the Manaslu, one of the 14 eight-thousanders and whose name in Sanskrit means “the Mountain of the Spirit”, which has become Carlos Soria’s solidarity summit.
The small northern Nepali village, which stands at a height of 3500 meters, between the Lho and Samdo villages in the western edge of the Nubri valley, is located just four hours away of the Manaslu base camp (8163m). Close to the Tibet border, the village, of Buddhist heritage, despite having no electricity, running water, or access roads (it takes about five days to reach the district capital, Gorkha, by foot) is home to a population of about 200 – primarily Tibetan – inhabitants.
In April 2010, during his unsuccessful attempt to climb the Manaslu (he would succeed in October of that same year), Carlos Soria visited the Sama village and the Pema Choling monastery, the home of the Lama, the village’s religious authority. It was then that the special bond between them was born.
A small school for 100 students had been recently built. 60 of the 100 students are boarders, hailing from villages located at a few days’ trek. The school lacked sleeping bags, mattresses blankets and bedspreads for the kids. Also, the school needed school material, clothes and food.
After his meeting with the Lama, who he knew back in 1973, Carlos Soria decided that he would do his best to bring materials and equipment for them in his next attempt. Carlos Soria and his friend geologist and mountaineer Sito Carcavilla, led a solidarity trek that carried several barrels of assorted materials to Sama.
The successful solidarity project was very helpful for a village with very low schooling rates, where kids start helping their parents work the land at a very early age to support an economy that’s based in annual potato and barley harvests and a yak population, the village’s main source of income.
Every bit of help is necessary, and thanks to Carlosº Soria and Sito Carcavilla, the children of Sama receive the education they deserve. BBVA also became engaged in the project, supporting it through an ambitious development plan aimed at helping Sama and its school become self-sufficient and stop depending on charity to survive. Once again, they need our help.