Trip leaves mum, daughter on top of the world

Andrew Mathieson
ORDINARY mother and daughter pair Jill and Kara Dixon decided one day to stop dreaming and start doing.
They were sick of just sitting idly by while growing millions endured unnecessary health ailments in the Third World.
Both forked out nearly $4000 of their own hard-earned money toward a trek for treatment in Nepal to help alleviate leprosy.
“I feel really compassionate and get moved by people’s situations but I thought that I’d probably never really stick my neck out,” Jill grins.
“I’d never done anything constructive, so that’s why I thought it was time to actually do something, show that you care and make a difference.”
But there was a catch.
The Dixons had to commit to raising $2000 each to be a part of the life-changing experience.
The work on reaching the fundraising target began when they returned to Australia.
“I thought ‘$2000 – that’s easy’,” Jill reflects.
“One year after the tsunami, I organised a garage sale at Steiglitz and we raised $1500 and it wasn’t that hard. But it’s probably been a bit slow.”
Jill will try another garage sale in three weeks and Kara has organised a food and wine raffle.
They’ve already started selling genuine Nepalese jewellery and are on their second batch.
So far Jill has raised about $1100 and Kara $600.
“You’re not expected to change the world – you don’t have to give away your house,” Jill remarks.
The Christian touring party visited Kathmandu’s Anandaban Hospital the first day after arrival.
It was a touching experience.
“The women in this one group were in tears to know that we were interested in what they were doing,” Jill recalls.
She witnessed how Geelong schools were making a difference after discovering donated books in one of Nepal’s few libraries.
Jill admits she has “always felt drawn to being a missionary”.
On her return she was still buzzing.
Enthusiastically unfolding a map of Kathmandu Valley, Jill traces her finger over the mountain tracks that her exhausted legs walked in November.
Jill, however, now sighs at the thought of the epic eight-day, 95-kilometre journey.
Long walks near the family’s home boosted her fitness in preparation.
Kara, now living in Newcomb, simulated the trip at the You Yangs.
“It was nothing like that, though,” Kara smiles.
“There were thousands and thousands of stairs each day there.”
The highest point of the journey was Poon Hill, at 2150 metres.
Jill admits the trekking took its toll on her 52-year-old body.
She turns to her daughter
“Were you affected by it?,” Jill asks.
“No, I didn’t notice it that much at all after a while,” Kara replies.
“But one of the (Nepalese) porters did.”
Jill called the trek her “spiritual journey”.
But it also gave her time to consider, reflect and, perhaps, party?
“We did a lot of singing,” Kara laughs.
“A couple of Bee Gees, a couple of Beatles (songs).
“It was all happening.”
Jill asks anyone willing to help the fundraising efforts to call her on 5281 9229.

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