Everyone of us at Musa Masala would like to thank those of you who have helped support our projects in 2021. The challenges of continuing while being healthcare workers during this COVID-19 pandemic has been great. Certainly there are many things we have not been able to do, but what we did accomplish has felt significant.
Through the fundraising drive with Dr. Paul Auerbach, we raised over $5,000. With that and money from our general fund, we purchased a USG ultrasound machine for the Wongchhu Sherpa Memorial Hospital. This machine now provides a service that is used two to three times a day by the staff at the hospital. Before this, a patient had to travel three hours by car to the closest testing hospital.
At the moment, the Wongchhu Sherpa Memorial Hospital is open as the Tapting District Health Clinic as we await the accreditation for a 15-bed hospital from the government of Nepal. This year the hospital saw many patients and served as a vaccination center for COVID as well as treating COVID patients. The work continues as staff is hired and equipment is put in place.
Musa Masala again supplied the Musa-branded Altitude Cards to the Himalayan Rescue Association in Nepal. The cards were available at the high altitude clinics in Manang, Pheriche and Everest ER.
We teamed up with mountaineer and cinematographer, Thom Pollard, for The Great Everest Mystery: Mallory and Irvine. Thom interviewed a who’s who of the mountain and shared his own firsthand experience on two Everest search expeditions. The show was a huge success and met with a lot of comments online. It is amazing how passionate people are about this great mystery, and about commenting on others hard work! Follow the mystery here!
Our second show with Thom Pollard was called Who Takes the Trash Out? Solutions to the Trash Problem on Mt Everest. It featured interviews from Peter Hillary, Damian Benegas, David Gonzales, Dan Mazur and more! Our own Phula Sherpa described his work with the Nepal Army Expedition to clean the mountains. We will continue sharing this story as time goes on. The situation with glacial melts, trash and large amounts of tourists descending on the Sagarmatha National Park at the same time requires some definite positive action. We are seeing this and will continue to highlight the important work being done. (Again, the comments…. While many were helpful, considerate and positive, some people…whoa!) Check out that show here.
Through the GoFundMe in honor of Gary McLean, we raised $8,000. With additional funding we have been able to secure two scholarships for students local to the hospital. One student is in nursing school and the other is studying to be a radiology tech. Thanks to your donations, these students will receive degrees that will allow them to earn a good wage and help their families. We will share a full introduction story soon. For now, let us say that we are forever grateful to all of the donors who made this possible.
Also in 2021, Musa Masala has provided our personal accounts of working in healthcare and EMS during the pandemic. We have done our best to supply important information and firsthand accounts. We also followed Jeff Sweat, a writer and healthy adult who found himself intubated and in the ICU for 28 days with COVID. We will follow up with an interview with Jeff on his personal take about this treacherous experience.
In 2021 we also aimed to highlight some of the changes that are happening in the mountain environment. This was a year of drought for much of the West Coast of the United States, causing enormous melting of the Cascades and Sierra mountain ranges. This resulted in dirt summits and even a complete loss of snow on many peaks. The year was a bad one for guiding in these ranges, as conditions were often dangerous, not only because of melting glaciers, but from poor air quality from enormous fires as well. And the Himalayan range saw massive avalanches and flooding.
Toward our goals of educating and helping people stay safe and more aware and considerate in the outdoors, we did several Good Trekker articles on new travelers in the wilderness, decision making and knowing your strengths and limits. We decided to concentrate on hyperthermia, putting up several posts on the topic, and we are now debuting our new card on hypothermia. It will be available along with our cards on heat illness and altitude sickness.
Our 2021 was a difficult one. We lost two of our greatest friends and inspirations. Gary McLean and Paul Auerbach will forever influence our every act and decision.
Paul was a good friend of Musa Masala. From first meeting him in Nepal at our book release event in Kathmandu, Paul stood with us and pushed us to do more. It really is hard to measure, when someone like him leaves us, what we could have accomplished with his fire.
Gary came to Musa Masala through Dr. Jennifer Konopka, who we lost in 2019. Gary had so much knowledge and his ability to work with everyone was truly an inspiration. We were so grateful he chose to work with us. We are struggling to understand these losses. Wonderful family men, amazing healers, inspiring leaders and passionate humans. So we will push ourselves with these great examples to do better and help underserved people receive healthcare, and provide materials to allow people to have fun, educational and safe experiences in the outdoors.
Already 2022 is moving fast. We are making huge strides as new ideas and projects start sprouting up as we work on our current plans. Next year’s report is gonna be a big one. Jam Jam!!