Humans of AEIN – Magdalena, the Conqueror – Part II

Apart from the mountains, I came across various social and environmental matters such as gender diversity. Factually speaking, historically, the climbing community has been male dominated, but the gender distribution has been shifting in recent years. Traditionally, climbing was often seen as an adventurous and physically demanding activity, which contributed to its popularity among men. We can still see however, especially in the regions where mountaineering is the main source of income, that the guidance and leadership services are only provided by the men and women still are mostly responsible for maintaining the family households and are not involved in the strict climbing activities.

However, this trend has been changing, and more and more women have been getting involved in climbing. Over the past decade, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of female climbers, Sherpas and the climbing community has been actively working to promote inclusivity and diversity and creating welcoming environments for climbers of all genders. To be fair, I’m thrilled to see so many women joining the club and climbing world’s highest peaks! Its incredible source of motivation and empowerment!

Another topic worth to mention is climate change. Unfortunately, in the higher mountains we could already experience global warming and climate change consequences, especially glacier melting, occurring changes in the weather patterns, avalanches that we have witnessed, thankfully, only through the window. Also, the Sherpas and their families living in the villages situated closer to down range of mountains are experiencing how those changes impact their agriculture, availability of freshwater resources, irrigations, hydropower generation, tourism industry, local economies, infrastructure, and livelihood, but also their safety.

And actually, funny enough, just right after I came back from the expedition, I saw a post on LinkedIn about the recent visit of Luxembourgish officials to Nepal at the newly constructed Kaper Mahankal Basic school in Kamidada of Bethanchowk Rural Municipality, that has been co-financed by the Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and Foyer Group. I was very intrigued as I was not aware that there is any organization leading sustainable development projects, supporting the local communities, women, youth and children, and contributing to provide quality education and digital learning to students in remote areas of Nepal. Then, I looked up AEIN’s recent initiative and was intrigued by the launch of Magrid Learning Solution program, which brings digital learning to remote areas of Nepal. That was the moment where I decided to contact Francoise and the team if they need some additional hands on to work as volunteers on certain projects.

Somehow, I feel it was destined to happen…

The greatest lesson I’ve learned so far is the importance of striking the delicate balance between the professional ambitions I have in my career and my personal ambitions in the mountains. I like what I do and wouldn’t trade it for the world. I enjoy working in a team in an environment combining legal matters with sustainable financial investments and projects across Europe. The challenge, however, is that I also love big mountains. Working to manage the ‘moving parts’ –the priorities, time-commitments – within the two worlds, to ensure that they stay ‘in sync’ is not an easy task and builds on those early lessons learned on Mera Peak – courage, commitment, discipline, and a bit of creativity thrown in for good measure.

I work hard and I train hard… and I take every opportunity to learn from both environments and the people that I meet along the way. I love every moment I spend in the mountains however I also love the time I spend in the office working on agreements, drawing insights and inspiration from my colleagues, helping individuals and teams to reach both short and long-term goals. I feel that the contrast between these two environments has helped to shape the way I approach challenges, make decisions, manage risk and manage my time. The greatest lesson is therefore finding such ‘balance’. I wish each of us to find such a passion in their life that this balance, no matter what they do and where they live and work, will be achievable. And being so high up there and standing in the front of Mt. Everest, Ama Dablam and Makalu and seeing this Himalayan panorama was definitely the best reward for such effort and dedication made along the way.

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