On October 12th, 2022, the dream of the late Wongchhu Sherpa, to provide a hospital for his home village, came true. Musa Masala is excited to share the details of the day with you.
The difficulties the local population had in seeking proper care before the hospital was built became a present day reality when poor weather made getting to the opening ceremony difficult to impossible!
Lots of too-late monsoon rain kept Dr. Luanne Freer, one of the driving forces behind the project, stranded in Lukla, along with the entire Wilderness Medical Society trek team. Pem Dorjee Sherpa of Imperial Expeditions and the Himalayan Yokpu Foundation was also stuck.
AC Sherpa of 7 Summits Foundation was not able to make it. The foundation had donated the ambulance for the hospital and had also donated funds for the new birthing center that has just been completed. The absence of our friends was felt by everyone. Bad move, Mother Nature, with the weather window!
Planning for the opening ceremony had been going on for many months. The Himalayan Yokpu Foundation worked nonstop, along with Wongchhu Peak Promotion. The results of their labors resulted in a beautiful event.
Main stage with the speakers and honored guests Dancers in the rain and mud, the weather was less than ideal…. Traditional Sherpa greeting dance was one of the openers for the ceremony.
A stage had been built at the area where the Musa Masala team had camped when they visited in April to paint the pediatric room. Prayer flags flew from all corners and the scene was breathtaking.
Still, there was a stellar list of dignitaries who made the event. The mayor of the SoluKhumbu district, Namgyal Jangwu Sherpa, the district commissioner and many others. We were also joined by honered guest, Raj Silwal, of Nepal TV who was a friend of Wongchhu Sherpa.
Dr. Eric Johnson read a blessing for the hospital from his holiness, the Dali Lama. Phil Toohey represented Rotary International, a major donor to the hospital. Cami Hobbs, who was on the WMS trek but had been delayed in the United States and was now trying to catch the team, took on the responsibility of representing the Wilderness Medical Society. “Miss Cami,” as she is known to the press, took the stage and gave one of many rousing speeches that drove the audience into a near frenzy. (Almost?)
To see everyone come out to celebrate was heartwarming. There was an awesome feast for everyone, performances by traditional dance teams and a great song by Tsering Doma Sherpa. The emcees for the event, Badrik Gurung and Smithu Ghising, did an amazing job of keeping things rolling, speaking in both English and Nepali.
To reenforce the importance of the hospital, Dr. Garung delivered a healthy baby after midnight! The hospital averages five births a month.
The evening ended with a sunset dance party in the mud that only slightly resembled Woodstock, complete with a Rudra Rai light show/dance review.
The following day the skies cleared—late, sadly—and the WMS team flew in to get a tour of the hospital and meet up with Dr. Eric and the hospital staff. AC Sherpa flew in and got a tour as well. If only the good weather had arrived a day earlier!!
Musa Masala wants to thank everyone in the villages of Khamding and Changba who welcomed us and made for such a special event. We want to thank the team at Wongchhu Peak Promotion who set up the camp for all the groups, and Mingmar and his cook staff who spoiled us all.
The amount of work that went into this program shows how important this hospital is to everyone. Thanks to the Himalayan Yokpu Foundation, Lakpa Sherpa, Pem Dorjee Sherpa, Phula Sherpa, Ngwang Sherpa, Mingmar Sherpa, Ang Diku Sherpa, Sonam Sherpa, Ang Dawa Sherpa, Dome Sherpa and the entire team who made this possible.
Wongchhu Sherpa had a dream to bring healthcare to the people he grew up with. His family, friends and neighbors made it happen. And now, there’s a hospital for everyone. Jam Jam!!
Himalayan Times article on the opening ceremonies
Nepal News article on the hospital opening
7 Summits Foundation video on AC Sherpa’s visit to the hospital and the new birthing center! Great video of the hospital, the Pediatric room named after Dr Jen, and the WMS team at the hospital.
National Television of Nepal’s a broadcast about the hospital opening and history:
Rudra Rai painted the sign for the new birthing center then topped it off with painting the roof! Making the hospital easier for helicopters to find it, this became important as the weather and surrounding mountains can make finding the hospital difficult from the air.Jam Jam Rudra!!!