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Vernon author's Himalayan adventure a personal memoir of discovery

Image Credit: FACEBOOK: Patti Shales Lefkos
March 09, 2020 - 7:00 AM

When retired school principal Patti Shales Lefkos went on a three-month hiking trip to Nepal with her husband in 2011 she had no idea what it would lead to.

Seven years later a new eight classroom school stands in a remote Nepalese village, due in part to her decision to step out of her comfort zone. And Shales Lefkos has now written a book all about the experience.

Nepal One Day at a Time tells the story of how the Vernon resident's hiking trip ended up with her founding a not-for-profit organization, joining Kalamalka Rotary and raising over a hundred thousand dollars to build the school. More than this, Shales Lefkos said the book is about inspiration and what a person can achieve.

"The rewards are incredible if you're willing to step out of your comfort zone," Shales Lefkos said.

Back in Canada, she decided to return to Nepal to volunteer with her husband. But when her husband injured himself, she was faced with the daunting task that if she wanted to go she would have to go alone.

"I was 68," she said. "You just think, if you don't go now you might not ever go, so I decided to go."

Travelling alone and stepping out of her comfort zone was no easy decision.

After arriving at the village where her guide from her 2011 trip was from, Shales Lefkos taught at a local school. She was told a nearby village was desperately in need of a new school.

"I thought they must think people are rich," she said. "What am I going to do, I'm one person."

However, together with her husband and three friends she launched the not-for-profit, Nepal One Day at a Time, partnered a local charity run by one of her guides from her original hiking trip and joined Kal Rotary.

While all this was happening a devastating earthquake hit Nepal.

Together with Kal Rotary $125,000 was raised and the eight classroom school was completed in 2018.

Shales Lefkos' book is not just a tale about building a school but a personal journey of discovery.

"How valuable it is to get out of your comfort zone no matter whether your 12 or 80," she said.

Profits from the sale of the book go to supporting education in the Gorkha region of Nepal.

The official book launch for Nepal One Day at a Time takes place at the Caetani Centre Studio Gallery March 12. For more information go here.

The book is not yet available in bookstores and can be purchased online here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

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