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Rosemary Jeffrey planning trip to the Himalayas to deliver school supplies; speaking at library Thursday, Feb. 20

COURTESY IMAGE - Rosemary Jeffrey of Columbia City in the shadow of a Himalayan peak. Jeffrey returns to the region annually to deliver supplies to schoolchildren. She has a speaking engagement at the Columbia City Community Library on Feb. 20.

Columbia City resident and Himalayas trekker Rosemary Jeffrey is planning her eighth return to the Himalayan village where she teaches and delivers locally gathered supplies.

As the next "Speaker in the Columbia City Community Library," Jeffrey will deliver a free presentation on her travels, featuring photos and stories about her past trips through the Mt. Everest region, at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 20.

Jeffrey, now 73, first traversed the Himalayas in 2008 at the age of 60 after following a life-long dream sparked by National Geographic photos and the study of Sir Edmund Hilary as a Girl Scout.

"As a child, I was mesmerized by pictures and info on the Everest region," Jeffrey said. "As a result, I promised myself I would go there someday."

Her "someday" came when Jeffrey went to Portland to hear speaker Arlene Blum, a renowned mountaineer who led one of the first all-female hikes up the 10th highest mountain in the world, Annapurna. At the end of her speech, Blum said she was organizing a trek for family and friends with space for anyone who wanted to go.

Jeffrey filled out an application, was accepted, and began training.

While on the trip, one of the guides heard Jeffrey was a teacher and begged her to come help his village school.

"The rest is history," Jeffrey said. "I'm extremely fortunate to be able to continue helping this school and trekking in this stunning beauty."

It takes at least two days to trek from the remote airport in Lukl, Nepal, to the small village where the Sherpa school is located. Jeffrey returns frequently to deliver educational supplies to the students, among other things, and often stays with a family in the village.

Over her seven trips, locals have donated additional items for Jeffrey to take. One winter, a local physical therapist's office helped her fundraise to purchase new clothes for the students. Columbia City Elementary School students have written letters and former teachers have donated everything from calculators to microscopes.

"Culturally it's different because it's so remote. Kids run up and down the mountains sometimes for an hour and a half to get to school, which is really important to them," Jeffrey told the Spotlight in 2018. "They are really excited to have someone they can speak English with."

If you go

What: Speaker Rosemary Jeffrey, Himalayan traveler

Where: Columbia City Community Library, 2000 2nd St., Columbia City

When: Thursday, Feb. 20, starting at 6:30 p.m.

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