Earlier this week, the Soleri Archives received a package from Jaye George, Arcosanti’s Ambassador to Nepal. Ms. George, of Paradise Valley, Arizona, took a trip to the Himalayas in October 2007. With her, she took the gift of a bronze Soleri bell named “Temple of Understanding.” Here she is with Paolo Soleri at Cosanti prior to her departure.
“We made it!” Jaye George stands proudly, with a group of Sherpa guides at “The School in the Clouds”. On her right is the Head Master, Ang Rita, who was only too excited to receive the bell.
In 1953, Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay made worldwide headlines as the first people to reach the summit of earth’s highest peak, Mount Everest. After that event, Sir Edmund Hillary continued to work closely with the people of Everest, enabling the construction of the first schools and hospitals for the people there. Here, Hillary poses with a younger Ang Rita (far left) and others in front of one of the schools built via Hillary’s fundraising efforts.
I want to tell you about your very special bell’s journey – first to India, then 4 days in Khatmandu waiting for the weather to clear, then in a Russian helicopter to Lukla, the shortest runway in the world.
The Lukla Airport is where we picked up the trail. This was the start of an eight-day Trek, which included several high swinging rope bridges, high altitude villages, and the sound of yak bells echoing through the mountains.
There were many difficult days of challenging breathing and physical exhaustion while being treated to the most beautiful visions I have ever seen, on the way to the “School in the clouds” at 13,000 feet.
As we approached the school with our Sherpa guides, the Head Master came to greet us. He was the only one there as the school children were on vacation. Several members of my trekking group took a turn at carrying the bell as it became heavier and heavier above 10,000 feet.
Ang Rita Sherpa, 3rd from the right, was overwhelmed with the gift as were the other Sherpas. One had summitted Everest 9 times and the other 11 times. You should know that your gift truly gave joy to many people. It was a great joy for everyone to see it for the first time when the School Master unwrapped it. The bell facilitated everyone’s connection with the Sherpa people and the importance of Sir Edmund Hillary’s work.
Mission Accomplished, Jaye George