By Gyanendra Chandra Shrestha
20th July 1919 – 11th January 2008
I met Sir Edmund Hillary at his house in Auckland, New Zealand on 20th September 1996. The words he told me at that time are still humming my ear at this moment of his demise. He told me “ Gyanendra, don’t try to stay here in New Zealand. Nepal needs you and your service. I am the president of New Zealand-Nepal Friendship Association, we already have 62 Nepali families migrated here, I don’t want you to become the 63rd of them”.
Before I met him at his house, I was at the Immigration office in Auckland to get the form for migration to New Zealand. There were lots of people from all over the world who wanted to migrate there. After I returned back to my hotel from his house, I gave a deep thought to his suggestion. I decided to give up the idea of retaining in New Zealand so that I could return back to Nepal and continue to provide my service to disabled people.
I have invited him to visit my workshop Orthopedica during his next visit to Nepal, but unfortunately I did not get an opportunity to show him my work and workplace.
By profession I am an Orthotist and Prosthetist and very few people are involved in this profession in Nepal. He may have known about it and the need of my profession in Nepal. He is a true Nepal Lover, a person who devoted whole his life especially for the betterment of Sherpa community in Khumbu area.
Finally, I met him at Khagendra New Life center, Jorpati during 1982 when I was working there. At that time, I had an opportunity to show him all the facility available there. I still have a fresh memory of him shaking his head gently showing his agreement when I mentioned about it.
I express my heartfelt condolence to Sir Edmund Hillary. May his soul rest in peace.
Mr. Gyanendra Chandra Shrestha with Sir Edmund Hillary