How is life of porters in Nepal?
Porters in Nepal
In this blog post, I would like to talk about porters in the Himalayas.
I remember my first stay in Nepal in 2013 and the meeting with the term: Nepalese porter. I remember hating the word: PORTER. I formed a bad association in my head. It seemed to me that a porter sounds like a servant or an underling. In any case, I did not feel comfortable with the term. I preferred to call the porter a helper, trekking staff, part of the crew.
And then I met those guys – they made our days with their incessant smiling.
A porter in Nepal will help you throughout your trekking by carrying your larger expedition bag or backpack. And this does not mean that we should pack whatever we can get our hands on. The expedition bag is the one in which the most essential things for the trekking are to be packed, i.e. clothing for the whole expedition, spare boots, hygienic products, etc. Out of respect for the work of the porter, it is important to prepare properly for trekking and reduce the number of things we take with us for a trip to Nepal. It is best to pack it as if we had to carry it ourselves, this way it’ll be easier for us to decide what we have to take and what will be just unnecessary ballast.
Porters most often come from the mountainous regions, so they are adapted to altitudes and, in most cases, feel great at 5000 m above sea level or higher. And even if we train in the gym, prepare for months and then go on trekking with a light day backpack, the porters usually reach our destination first every day, although they carry about 30-45 kg on their shoulders. “Freight” porters, carrying everything other than luggage for the trekkers, can carry even 120-140 kg.
The work of a porter is, of course, a part-time occupation and is an opportunity for them to mend their household budget, because the fruits of everyday labour, i.e. harvests or animals bred for sale, are not so profitable.
Some porters, who do a great job and know some English or other foreign languages, are chosen by guides as as assistants or group leaders and provide invaluable help to larger groups of trekkers.
However, the work of a porter is more than that. So far, I haven't met a single porter on my expedition, who wouldn't care about the happiness and well-being of his customers. If they see that you are more tired by the altitude or have any health problems, they are ready to carry your day backpack or even help you by guiding you by the hand.
The work of a porter seems quite simple, but it is inextricably connected with care for human life, so the most important thing for each of them is to reach the destination happily and to return home with a smile. Every porter, after reaching the goal, wants us to run straight down rather than contemplate the mountains and nature, because they simply miss their homes.
In fact, anyone who is not able to carry their backpack on their own at high altitudes should understand that a porter is the key to success, a person who enables us to fulfil our dreams and walk the Himalayan trails.
Thanks to porters, trekking is simply easier and more enjoyable. I respect the work of others, but in the case of porters – this respect increases in direct proportion to the altitude
It is customary for tourists to tip the crew, i.e. the guide and the porter, after the trek. Such tips are always an opportunity to say thank you for the hard work of our staff. Let's remember that although on the trek our goals are a bit different, because we make our dream come true and they earn money to support their families, we are one crew on the trail. So let's not forget how helpful they are to us and take care of them in the same way as they do for us, sometimes inviting them for some snacks or a coke.