IBEX, FIELDS AND WHISTLING
So many things happened in the last 15 days that it is really hard to say which one was the most important. Nevertheless I will start with the event that have changed village into a giant anthill full of ants persistently running from somewhere to somewhere. Last week we were invited to join a ritual ceremony that should bless good crops. The very first picture that came along to us was a group of our small pupils playing a yak-slaver game.
They yoked each other and then pretended or tried to plough land in
front of the village´s community hall. Boys in slaver´s position took
the highest care not to let their yaks make any dirty trick. When this
show, during which started to snow, had finished, we moved into
community hall where took place the same ritual ceremony, just directed
by adults. But it had become dark then which means that all the kids
moved there as well :). As all local rituals nor this one could be done
without proper barley chang drinking. Also this time, there was a
magical, never-ending gold pot always full of chang. That day´s ritual
was opened by local pharmacist, Norboo. He stood up holding a big bowl
with a hill formed from tsampa (roasted barley, this time mixed with
water). On the top of this tsampa hill, there was risen an ear of
barley. Norbu then passed along all present people and gave everyboby a
bit from that tsampa hill. We were just going to eat it, because tsampa
is really good, but we were fortunately stopped in good time. When
everyone had its tsampa piece, they started to stand up and to walk up
and down and bless their friends or avenge their enemies (but I think it
was more about the friends :) by sticking a piece of tsampa on the
other´s head, hair, cap or wherever. We ran amok at kids, but we were
enable to escape in that tsampa flood. So when we came back home, our
caps looked more like a tsampa mash than a cap...Nevertheless we were
agreeably surprised by this ritual and we wouldn´t resist if villagers
wanted to repeat it. If you haven´t started your seeding yet, try this
ritual as well, then your crops may be as successful as in the Big beet
fairy tale :).
Ploughing should have begun the day after the ceremony, but it started snowing. Even though villagers remarked something like "no good", they didn´t seem to be too much concerned about the unexpected event. That might have been for one simple reason : our current schoolkeeper found a dead ibex not far from Lobsang´s house. It seems that snow leopards might have caught it that night, but they didn´t finish eating it. Ibex must have fought like a tiger, because we found foot-prints coming from gonpa (that is next to our school) down to river (that is at the other side of the village, down in the valley). Dawa didn´t try to hide his discover, far from it! He might have said to himself : "It is snowing, we can´t plough, let´s organize a feast!" And so there was a huge, two-day lasting ibex feast for the whole village. Radim tasted just its plucks, normally he really doesn´t like it, but this time he signed it like delicious. Unfortunately for Radim, before he could try also ibex meat, everything had been eaten, so it must be really good :).
It was as if the God himself arranged all that : when the ibex feast had finished, sky became clear, sun started burning, during one sole day all the snow melted so the villagers could set about doing one of the most important tasks of the whole year, ploughing and sowing. During that they were whistling and softly tuning to pacify winds and weather conditions.
And now a bit about school events :) According to tradition of school Čáslavice-Sádek (in Vysočina region) we organized last Friday a "changed day". We, teachers, sat down at pupils´tables and children from classes IV and V became our teachers. They didn´t teach only us, teachers, but also all the smaller kids from nursery till class III. The small ones were so excited by the change and they were so naughty that some "new teachers" had to fall back on wooden bars to show that there may be a nice beating if the small ones carried on being naughty. It seemed that everyone had really enjoyed that day.
Two zanskari riddles for you:
1. Desal Lille (class 5): I have one leg. I have many hands. Birds sit on me. Then birds nest on me. Winter time I am crying. There is very cold. I look like people. People clean me too much. People bite me too much. Who am I?
2. Tsomo (class 5): I live in Zanskar. I am white like snow with black points. I eat meat (sheep sometimes). Me and cat are relatives. Who am I?
That´s all from here for now, have a nice time wherever you are, whistle and tune for yourself so that you are in high spirits! PR