Finally in Kargyak
On Tuesday 8th July we formed another group heading for Kargyak consisting of Iveta with Petr, Jindra and his friend another Petr. Before we hit the route we did some shopping in Manali, mainly vegetables for the village. The bag had almost 25 kilos. We were supposed to go the next morning by bus from Manali directly to Darcha. However, nothing is for sure in India so we eventually managed to squeeze into a jeep and went only to Keylong. And from there we took a local bus to Darcha, the journey lasted for 2 hours.
In Darcha we agreed with a horseman on a fixed price of 3000 IRs per three horses for the 4 or 5 day trek to Kargyak. The horseman was called Tenzin and we were quite suspicious about him. However, his price was fair and he knew about the school project so we went with him. The following day we had a rest in the first camp of the trek called Palamo. The place was very beautiful, situated amongst high mountains, by a small brook. All around us we could only hear tranquil bells jingling on horses’ necks.
The following morning at 8 a.m. the real trek began for us. It took us 10 hours and we had to walk up some 800 altitude meters, which in the height of more then 4500 meters was not fun at all. In the middle of the trek Iveta had a serious headache and generally wasn’t feeling well. By the time we reached the base camp we were completely exhausted. We required a day long rest from the horseman in order to recover. Unfortunately, Tenzin didn’t want to accept it. His price was fixed for the whole trek and the longer it took the less he earned. In this pace we would do the whole trek in 3 days but the deal was up to 5 days. We didn’t like it but we had to pay 1000 Rs for the extra day.
On Sunday we reached the summit of Sinku La Pass (5090 m). That was a really beautiful place – colourful mountains, glaciers, lakes and typically on the top there was a small stupa with lots of mantra flags. Then we descended to the last camp before Kargyak.
We got to Kargyak the next day at around 2 p.m. and were astonished by its beauty. There are a few small white brick houses, surprisingly many small and green fields, one big river and lots of small streams supplying the village with sufficient amount of water. But mainly the landscape surrounding the village is just gorgeous. At this time of the year there are only women and kids in the village.
Honza showed us around the village mainly focusing on the school construction site. The school has got its foundations laid down in the form of a solid 2 metre high stone wall. Shortly there will be wooden pillars erected and everything is getting ready for the glass windows in the wooden frames. Everything is very complicated to organise, remember we are in India! For instance the delivery of the windows is stuck somewhere on the way from Delhi to Manali at the moment. Nobody knows exactly what had happened.
A big thing here is a small shower room, sitting on the hill, with a sophisticated solar system heating the water. I haven’t experienced hot water yet; this term here probably stands for something different. Anyway, it is very pleasant to take a shower after a hard and dusty work.
The next day we went to work. We were in a group of people making bricks. Basically there are three different types of work. Filling the brick form with special mud and then taking the form off, carefully, not to break the newborn brick. A brick gets dry in about 3 weeks then it can be polished to gain a proper form and finally put into a pyramid to be ready for transport to the building site. This is a fairly long way and pretty steep one too. One brick weighs approx. 25 kilos and we need some 3500 brick for the whole school. So far I am able to make 16 bricks per day, which only documents how hard the job is.
Everyone finds a kind of escape from the tough work in the kitchen. Jana is an excellent cook and the meal is always delicious. At the moment we still have got enough stuff to cook from so the menu is surprisingly broad.
Working with the small kids is also very interesting. Iveta replaced Sofia for one day, as she didn’t feel well, and went to school to look after the smallest 5 year-olds. When she came to the school they were singing the Indian anthem. She took 5 kids for a short walk. Two of them were holding her hands, however, the other 3 in the meantime ran somewhere. Obviously she managed the situation very well. During the day she joined the group of other kids playing with Jaraf, a French volunteer. The most fun they had during a“ washing” class in a small cold brook. The kids are very cheerful and despite being young they easily pick up some English words.
Thanks to the fact that we have got enough teachers and especially older kids need to catch up with their peers, who had a chance to study from younger age, we have decided that some classes will be taught by two teachers. In addition to this we have placed much more emphasis on English, Maths and Bhoti. As a result of this the children have fewer Social Science and General Science classes for the time being as well as school every Saturday.
So, that is it for today. We send warm regards to all of you and one special to our mothers: WE ARE ALL ALRIGHT!