April 2010. Trek around Annapurna, Nepal.
When trekking around Annapurna you come across two kinds of porters. The first kind are those hired by (lazy) tourists/travelers to carry their bags. You can call those porters lucky – their load is not suppose to be bigger than 30kg and they only carry it on their back for a few hours a day.
The second kind are what I call cargo porters. They deliver goods to the villages along the route of the trek. This is because majority of places on this route can’t be accessed via road. Cargo porters deliver all kinds of stuff – eggs, chickens, potatoes, rice, beer, soft drinks, soap, blankets, clothing but also stuff like steal elements for constructing bridges and heavy wires. Every day, very early in the morning, those short and skinny men, often wearing flip flops or very worn out shoes, pick up their massive cargo, which almost always weights over 50 and up to 80kg (110 – 180 lbs) and walk. They walk slowly and breath heavily. Porters don’t carry any water, instead stopping at springs and rivers on the way to have a break and drink. In the evening, after over 12 hours of walk, they put their load away, exhausted fall on a bed to get a few hours of sleep before repeating the process the next day. And the day after that. They walk until they reach their destination.
For their outstanding effort they get paid just a few dollars a day.
I have a lots of respect for those men. Lots of respect.