One of the joys for our trekking group was meeting all of the children along the trails. In each village there would be a small group of them together watching the hikers pass by. Sometimes they would give us a “namaste”, but usually they were very shy and would just keep to themselves. Seeing children sitting outside in the sunlight is actually a rare sight for us because kids here are either at school, in the living room watching television, or at the computer. An American youngster couldn’t stand to loiter outside for no purpose over an extended period of time. The younger members of our group (well, not to be a hypocrite, I include myself in this) went out of their minds with all of the long stretches without diversions. It’s not that the Sherpa children had made a lifestyle choice, there probably just wasn’t anything useful for them to do. They were enjoying their temporary relief from the kind of hard work their parents were doing. On occasion we saw children who were not much older (starting about 10 years old) who were hauling loads and starting their lifetime of hard work.
The young children we saw were very polite and charming. Despite the fact that their parents couldn’t chase behind them at every step and keep them perfectly presentable, their faces had striking character. Their eyes were perfectly innocent and genuine, their cheeks were deeply darkened from the cold and exposure, and when they smiled it was a light from their soul. I’m used to doubting the motives of children because to me it seems like they run on manipulation, but it was as surprise to find that the young Sherpas that we met looked on us without guile and were genuinely curious about us. When we would get to our camps each evening we would horse around with some elaborate games next to our tents. We hop around, chase each other, and tumble in the mud (I’m still not sure what the rules were). Kids from the village couldn’t resist flocking over and watching, and we invited them to play along. That was the greatest icebreaker and we all have a great time. Between our group and the locals we were all just kids having fun, and as long as I could keep my GameBoy hidden we remembered we were in the Himalayas.games kids mountains Sherpa society travel Trekking in Nepal