Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Based in Lafayette, California, Tom Velken serves as president and owner of Viking Real Estate Group, a real estate agency assisting individuals and companies in the acquisition and financing of their individually held real estate investments. When he's not working, Tom Velken spends time traveling. In June 2016 he ventured to Norway, where he hiked in the mountains above the Sorfjorden village of Reidsete. The trail head which leads up to the Folgafonna glacier has been partially fortified with stone steps recently reconstructed by Sherpas. On the other side of the Sorfjorden, near the city of Odda, the Sherpas have also worked on the more famous Trolltunga trail.
According to an article on the website, The Norwegian American, Sherpas first began working in Norway in 2000 and have built paths and stairways in over 100 different Norwegian locations. Much of their work has been filmed by a documentary team from national broadcaster NRK, who interviewed a number of the Nepalese mountaineers.
“The film sets out to show the trails seen by the Sherpas in Norway,” filmmaker Jannicke Farstad told NRK. “I’m not sure people realize how much they’ve contributed to the country. “We also wanted to find out what it means for Nepal that the Sherpas come here to work.”
According to the article, Farstad told NRK that she had personally witnessed the effects of the Sherpas’ Norwegian wages in Nepal, particularly after the April 2015 earthquake in which over 8,000 lives were lost.
But it is not just the potential for earning a wage several times larger than would be earned at home, according to the Sherpas themselves, who spend between seven months and a year working on the Norwegian paths.
“Money comes and goes. The things we have learnt in Norway will be with us for the rest of our lives. I feel like we are creating history. One day, my grandchildren will be able to come to Norway and see what we have built,” Nima Sherpa told NRK.