Cathy O’Dowd, First South African Woman To Climb Mount Everest From Both Sides Visits Mumbai

Cathy O'Dowd

The world’s first South African woman mountaineer to climb Mount Everest from both sides spent her Saturday morning regaling 100 odd children who have probably never travelled outside the city! Yet, the Cathy O’Dowd session with these kids not only left them enchanted by her mountain adventures but, also more or less convinced all of them to become mountaineers someday!

These children study at local municipal schools and come for extra classes at Angel Xpress’ centres in the western suburbs of Mumbai.

Cathy O'Dowd 2

Pictures courtesy: Payal Kumar Photography

What was most delightful for Cathy was the kind of questions they had for her after she had shared her story and asked them “Guess who was the first person to call me after I reached the top of Mount Everest to ask me where I was?”

The right answer simply had to be “MOM”!!. The second phone call being her country’s late President, Nelson Mandela.

Their eager minds were not only absorbing what she was saying but also trying to figure out everything that she might have experienced there. Questions ranging from “where do you sleep at nights during the expedition?” to “How much weight and what do you carry in your bags?” to “What do you do if the weather is bad?”

“I was impressed; I thought their English wouldn’t be that good. They would have less sort of a grasp of the idea of what mountains or mountain climbing is about. But they are well educated, thoroughly interested and were asking some very thoughtful questions. I was very impressed by how engaged they are and how thoughtful they are” – remarked Cathy after her session ended.

Cathy, who has co-authored the book Everest: Free to Decide, with her husband Ian Woodall, lives in the mountains and should seriously be the brand ambassador cum mascot for dreaming BIG.

Cathy O'Dowd

“It’s hugely important. We are often not aware how we can restrict ourselves. We think – I can’t do it . What we mean is we have never seen somebody like me do it. I look at the people around me and no one else is doing it. When you dream big you realize its not you who is restricted, but the environment you are in. And the environment can be changed. It may take time, it may take work, it may not be easy. By dreaming big you start to realize – I can do more and I will do more.”

The talk was initiated through ‘Speaking Minds’ which has been creating platforms to bring some fantastic speakers to varied audiences.Speaking Minds exclusively manages Cathy

About Angel Xpress
Angel Xpress is a 12A &80G certified NGO supported by L&T, Voltas, Millennium Alliance among others. The NGO creates opportunities for the socially conscious to give back meaningfully. By 2016, 1000+ school going kids from slums get between 250 – 300 hours of lessons in English, Math peppered with generous doses of value lessons with help of 300 volunteers at free learning centers set up in 10 locations, mostly shaded parks by #AXF across the city

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About the Author

Suhana Bhatia
Suhana Bhatia
Features Editor