While at Korphe, he was angry at himself for not planning better. A bridge was indeed necessary to bring the materials to the village. He decided to stay in Korphe till he understood his task fully. As he discussed and studied in detail about the construction of the bridge, he realized that it would cost thousands of dollars that he no longer had.
He told them that he had already spent most of the money on school and he had to return to America to try and raise more money for the bridge. He expected the Korphe men to act as crushed as he felt. But waiting was as much a part of their make up...They waited half of each year, in rooms choked with smoke for the weather to become hospitable enough for them to return outdoors. A Balti might wait for years for the twelve year old girl chosen by his family to grow old enough to leave her family. The people were promised schools by the distant Pakistani government for decades, and they waited still. Patience was their greatest skill.
He hesitated to call Jean Hoerni, one person who might be able to fund his return. ..his stories were all about failures: a summit not reached, a woman lost, a bridge, and a school not built. He was totally depressed, but luckily for him Dr. Louis Reichardt, the first American to reach the summit of K2, with whom he was in touch infrequently called to ask, 'Jean told me what you are trying to do with your school. How is it going?'
Mortenson told him everything, from the beginning to the bottle-neck he had reached with the bridge. He also found himself telling him about losing his woman, job and what he feared most - losing his way. Dr. Louis consoled him with 'What you are trying to do is much more difficult than climbing K2.' and added 'Call Jean and tell him what you told me. Ask him to pay for the bridge. Believe me, he can afford it.'
Mortenson felt, for the first time since coming home, like a semblance of his old self.
|Mortenson was lucky that he knew a few mountaineers who understood the situation in the mountains, wanted to help and could afford it.|