Our team grew up a bit more; there are now six Europeans and other local people who help us with the project. According to the news, we have received over the phone from Padum and from the people who came from Zanskar, is the pass still unpassable for horses and for people with heavy luggage. Horses with all our material will be probably able to leave in 10 days the earliest so all is left for now is to wait….but the sun is shining so we hope that the snow will melt soon.
Message from Kargyak
Stenzin Chostak, teacher from Kee, came to the village for two months to help the two teachers from Darcha already staying in the village so the classes are continuing even though Lada and Marketa cannot teach yet. Tennam, together with a new Tibetan teacher, met with local teachers in Raru to make contracts for next winter to ensure continuity of classes.
When it comes to including the school in the local system we have to thank the most to Spalgey, president of Gonporanjon Culture Association (organization which was found in order to represent the school in locally), who has been working on this issue for the past month and will work for at least another week in Kargil. We have received a great message from Spalgey - the land for building the school was finally given to the village and its people and all is left to do in order to register the school in GCA is few signatures and stamps.
Shopping, workers and preparations
We are now buying food, tools and material for construction which is not always easy (We are trying to work out things like how to say in English quicklime or how to explain to a merchant that the hose really has to be freeze proof). There are also negotiations going on with two groups of workers with help of our friend Raju and also local department of Engineering. Everybody should be ready on Thursday so we can depart to Keylong on Friday. We will arrange the transport depending on the snow condition of the road; we would like to transport all material by jeep while people will go either by bus, minibus or also by jeep. Mr. Anupan Suri from Delhi is also a great help to us as he works on a wooden front façade for the school. Another great help are both Stenzins from Zanskar (yes, Stenzin is a very common name which could be used both for a male and a female), who are helping us in all areas which would be difficult to tackle by foreigners. The last but not least person who is a great help to us is the school director from the local partner school who is preparing mock tests for our school.
….our free time
Manali is a busy place-holiday has just started for the local school children, tourist from warmer parts of India are arriving and it is also popular destination for newly wedded couples for their honeymoon. We are combining staying in the partially built hotel Golden Palace (only the yellow painting of the first floor remind us of gold) with camping among rhododendrons and stay between sheep and cow stables - as it happened to us on our last trek to Chandra Kani pass where we were invited by a family in Ramsu village at first to hide from rain and than for a night. Martin told us that the houses in Kargyak are built the same way - low beams, wooden floor with rugs, hardly any furniture and a stove in the middle of each room (there were 3 floors) on which Nimla, who was the only one who spoke some English, prepared a very popular sweet milk tea.
Beside the room we also saw a very unusual tool for cutting wood which looked like a machete and our attempts to help were, in comparison to their skills, somewhat useless. We also saw how to spin wool for socks and we ladies also tried on traditional wear for special occasions-black cloth with colorful design which was skillfully woven around body and secured by a pin - see photo. It was followed by a Hindi lesson for beginners and later by a blackout. We, in the end, gave our host a chocolate bar Studentska pecet and a dried pineapple which was made in the Czech Republic :0) to thank our host for dinner of palak (something like spinach but very spicy) and rice.
Written by Marketa, translated by Milada