Lucky Chhetri, 39, founded Empowering Women of Nepal to teach poor women to be trekking guides. To my astonishment, Lucky admits that she grew up as “a delicate child.” She did not trek until she was 24 when she and her sisters decided to try, starting with an exhausting five-day trek. (“We didn’t know what we were doing!”)
Ultimately, Lucky graduated from the Himalayan Mountaineering Training School in Darjeeling, India and has trekked some of the highest mountains in the world.
Since 1999, EWN has trained 400 women trekking guides---in violation of the tradition that only men can be guides.
“At first, everyone was against us. They said, ‘You are destroying the girls, taking them the wrong direction.” Some thought our business was training girl guides for sexual tourism (One company thought that was a good idea and actually tried it but
failed). Some people thought it would ruin their reputations if they talked to us. We had not expected these reactions. We felt weak. We wondered if we should change professions.”
At the Nayapul trail head, I get a nice surprise. Lucky herself will be my guide. The 3 Sisters Trekking Company website defines “guide,” as “friend, guardian, teacher, student, advisor, attendant and sometimes mother.” I am about to experience Lucky in all those roles.
Lucky's company site is http://www.3sistersadventure.com/EWN/.