Australian Army Reserve lieutenant, Aid Agency ‘civilian’ and Mount Everest conqueror are all titles to describe Mark ‘Squiz’ Squirrell.
Mr Squirrell was the guest speaker at a Murray Dairy event in Shepparton last week, where he talked about his extraordinary life to the 35 people that attended.
As part of his work with the United Nations’ World Food Program, Mr Squirrell got the chance to work with the late Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat.
‘‘Yasser Arafat invited us in with open arms. He knew he needed to partner with us to provide welfare that his government couldn’t provide because of the war,’’ he said.
Mr Squirrell said 800million people in the world wonder whether they are going to get one meal a day and explained the significance of the impact this has when he was visiting Guinea and Nepal.
‘‘Refugees in Guinea were protesting by throwing stones.
‘‘One (rock) hit one of their own. He put the pain of his stomach (how hungry he was) over the pain in his head.
‘‘I was in Nepal between 2004 and 2006 and I met a lot of kids. This one (a photo of a boy was on the slideshow) would walk two hours to drop off wood.
‘‘He would receive 25¢ in return which was his family’s allowance to buy food.’’
Mr Squirrell said of his time climbing Mount Everest, that people were at their most vulnerable on the descent as they were not as pyschologically prepared as they were on the climb up and they were more fatigued.
‘‘Eighty per cent of fatalities or injuries occur when people are going down the mountain.’’