I had the privilege to participate in the fourth international Women of the Mountains conference that was held at UVU on October 7-9, 2015. During the conference many speakers provided insight on the current situation of the women living in the mountainous regions of their respective countries.
I was honored to be able to accompany and help one such speaker named Yankila Sherpa. She is from Nepal and is a great example of the fortitude and resilience of the women that live in that rugged part of the world. She was a State Minister of tourism and currently she is President of the company Snow Leopard Trek. When I first met her she wanted to do a quick run through of her speech before her actual presentation. We found a room and set to work on making sure that her power point would work, and that there would be no hiccups when the time came to present her information. By the time she finished with her brief run-through it was already time for the other speakers to begin. After listening to several interesting presentations we headed off to the library where Yankila would give her presentation.
We parted ways for a while as I went upstairs to set up her power point and ensure that there would be no problems. Then we met up again and went up to the presentation room. Yankila was the second to present and it went well. I enjoyed learning about the situation of the women in Nepal and about the organizations that were involved in helping them. The only downside was that the conference was a bit behind schedule therefore Yankila was not able to go through everything that she had prepared beforehand. I could tell that she was a bit upset at not being able to finish it because she kept reminding me that she had not been able to do so, and that she wished that they wouldn’t have rushed her through it.
We watched the other presenters and then headed down for lunch. It was delicious and a great treat to see everyone that had participated in the conference there in one place. I learned a lot that day, but what I think I enjoyed most about the whole experience was that I was able to start a new friendship with a great person from another part of the world. Before parting ways she gave me a poster of Mt. Everest, and a necklace made in Nepal for my mother. Yankila was so sweet to me and I will never forget her. I hope that I have the chance to see her again wherever that meeting may be.
Aaron Smith, UVU student, member of the organizing committee of the conference