When Hope is Hard to Find

We talk about hope a lot here. We share stories of how it is moving through dark places, saving lives, and changing the narrative of suffering in the Himalayas. And while we cling to the comfort these stories bring, we know that poverty, high death rates, and illiteracy still exist in plenty across the Himalayas. We know that while hope changes lives, it doesn't always change circumstances. And after a year like 2020, it is easy to feel like hope doesn't always pay out.

But that's how it always starts. We start with what seems like hopelessness and we fight through the adversity. And even though we know that the situation might not be remedied immediately, hope keeps us engages. It keeps us plugged in and positioned.

Hope, despite impossible circumstances, was the story for Tenzin and her family, a 4-year-old  HALO rescue. A request for emergency rescue came through our HALO line from The Compassion Project Health Post inLamagaun. She slipped on icy ground and hit her head. Upon initial treatment and examination, attentive health post workers noticed an eye injury that could worsen without proper and immediate treatment. After a consultation, the severity of her case confirmed her rescue, and HALO was put in motion.

But for Tenzin's family, there was more at stake than just maintaining her eyesight. The cost of a trip down the mountain, let alone hospital and operation fees, threatened to bring devastation to a family who survives off of day to day wages. This is the story for many of the families that need rescuing in the Himalayas. Often, this financial fear halts the rescue process altogether. While MountainChild and others do what they can to meet as much of the need as possible, the hard reality is, the need often outweighs the resources. We've seen many lives saved but, in our line of work, we see suffering and lives lost, too. Sometimes, hope is hard to find and heavy to carry.

Life in the Himalayas is unpredictable and the future is hard to plan for. Survival is left to the strongest, the most innovative, and perhaps, the most hopeful. And we believe a small glimmer of hope is what eventually led Tenzin's family to take the leap, to get onto the helicopter and save their daughter's eye, despite the impending financial burden it could bring their family. They hoped for good despite what they could see. In the end, Tenzin's examination showed no internal or lasting injuries and multiple resources came together to ensure she received proper treatment, that the family had a place to stay during their stay in Kathmandu, and that they received the provisions needed to help carry them after they returned home.

We hope Tenzin's story will be the source of courage to someone in her community who may desperately need it in the future. When hope is hard to find, when moving forward seems impossible, when it feels like the resources will never provide for the need, we remember stories like these: stories when hope did pay off.


We had a joyful run-in on the trails with Tenzin and her mom post operation while some of our staff were visiting Gorkha! We are happy to report that Tenzin's injury was barely noticeable. She's healing well and has a full range of vision!

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