A catastrophe in Nepal fosters an unlikely friendship

KATHMANDU, Nepal -- When Californian Spencer Dickinson came to Nepal, he never expected to wind up picking through rubble in Kathmandu or to be calling the Shahi family his friends.

He'd come to climb Mount Everest on a budget and bought boots from a shoe shiner who invited him home.

"He introduced me to his family," said Dickinson. "They made me tea, they made me lunch."

And then he was off to Everest.

Nepal's remote villages assess their earthquake loss

"When the first quake hit, I fell to the ground," he said. "I was traversing across a steep pass and, you know, I thought it was the altitude messing with my head. I thought I was dizzy."

Ultimately, he was unharmed and evacuated by helicopter.

On his way back to Kathmandu, he found himself wondering about that family who'd sold him those boots.

He found the home he'd seen just two weeks ago flattened.

"I was shocked that they were still alive to be honest," he said.

The Shahis had not lost their hospitality and offered him tea and snacks.

Why were they so warm and welcoming after they had lost so much?

"He climbed the mountain, and I'm happy he came back alive," said Ram Kumari Shahi. "I love him. He's welcome back anytime."

Now Dickinson's starting an online campaign to help them rebuild.

"I'm trying to make a big impact for one family," he said. "Instead of small impacts here and there, I want to put another roof over their head."

A disaster that's destroyed so much created something, too, this unlikely friendship.