In November 2019, 21 Computershare employees from Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong trekked through the Annapurna region of Nepal to raise funds for World Youth International and their school in Gokarna. Trek Nepal 2019 had the goal of raising AUD 143,000 to:
> complete the construction and fit-out of a student home on campus
> purchase solar panels for the school
> purchase new laptops and multimedia equipment for student use
> redevelop of student play areas
> construct a sealed road to lead into the school
The Ghorepani Poon Hill trek offers panoramic views of the stunning Annapurna Himalayan range while passing through beautiful forests. At a maximum altitude of 3210m above sea level, it is one of the most popular short treks in Nepal.
The team spent their first day exploring the streets of Kathmandu. They visited Bouddhanath Stupa in the morning, then paid a visit to Swayambhunath (Monkey) Temple. They learned how to perform mantra meditation while spinning prayer wheels, and picked up some hiking poles from the local shops in the city centre.
The next morning they took a short flight to Pokhara, where they enjoyed some free time to explore before the beginning of the trek. Then it was time to split their bags - one packed with the essentials that they would take with them for the next six days, and the other to leave in Pokhara for their return.
After a very bumpy bus ride to Nayapul (1,070m), they were ready to begin. After the first day of trekking they arrived at Tikhedhunga (1,540m) around 2:30pm. Their newly acquired poles got a test run the next morning, which brought with it a very steep climb up to the highest overnight stay, Ghorepani (2,840m).
The group had an early start on day six, beggining their hike at 4:30am to make it up to Poon Hill (3,210m) in time for the sunrise, just before 6:00am. Days seven brought with it hours of walking, from Tadapani to Jhinu Dada. The group enjoyed a quick stop at natural hot springs, and later got chatting to locals who taught them some traditional Nepalese songs and dances.
A welcome sleep in was enjoyed on day eight. Starting the trek at 9:00am, the team crossed one of the largest suspension bridges in Nepal. The bridge is 287m long and 180m high.
Over the last two days of trekking the team began their descent, stopping at Australian Camp (1,760m) on day nine, and completing the trek at Pedhi (1,130m) where the group were picked up and taken back to Pokhara.
The group bonded over very early starts with spectacular sunrises and long days spent climbing up and down the stairs which cut a path through the mountainside terrain. Dinners spent together at tea house accommodation along the way was a welcome opportunity for group to wind down, play games and get to know each other.
After a few days of rest and sightseeing, the team took a 10km bus ride from Kathmandu to the World Youth International school in Gokarna. They received a tour of the grounds, including a walkthrough of the 50-bed boarding home currently under construction. Groups of students performed traditional dances for the group, and the Computershare group returned the favour by leading a group 'nut bush' dance before the break for lunch.
The Computershare group split into teams of four and led classroom activities for the students, including Australian indigenous dot painting and a lesson on how to make paper planes. A game of cricket between the teachers and Computershare group and a friendly, but highly contested tug-a-war.
The team enjoyed their last dinner together before spending their last day in Nepal walking the streets of Kathmandu and taking in the sights of the city before returning home to Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong. The trekkers raised over AUD 195,000.