Well, it seems that we are going to have a nice winter fun here! The river has frozen very well, hooray! And all kinds of sledging, bagging and who-knows-what-else get the green light here. The kids took out their hopped-up canisters and enjoy sliding down the river. And you know - what’s good for the kids doesn’t leave even the teachers cold. Whopee, it’s a great fun! Jiga is a master of this sport and it’s very obvious that he must have practiced hard when he was a kid.
In fact the villagers devote most of this time to buddhism. Tashi invited the monks from Phuktal for a week to carry out puja for health, happiness and plenitude of everything for his whole family. One part of the ceremony was also a feast for the whole village. It means that on the given day all women met in the local “community center” and they set in motion all those stirring spoons, blenders, frying pans and cooking pots. Yummy, we could smell the pancakes and other delicacies, simply said there was an imaginary loaf of bread floating above the very building all day. Treated was everyone in the village including us in the school. We got some delicious pancakes and then something that looked like rice and tasted like yak. We didn’t manage to eat that. The thing of the week was visiting kid’s parents at home. We try to visit every family to talk with the parents about their sweethearts and their school results. Sometimes we’re bearers of good news, sometimes it’s not that good. For example today we had to inform a surprised father that his sonny boy doesn’t succeed in making it to school every day even tough he flawlessly leaves the home every morning with the best intentions to get there. You know, the boy has to go through the most interesting village and surroundings and it’s naturally very hard to resist the temptation... Nevertheless we quite enjoy these visits. We are always treated in a kingly manner and we come to know news about the life in the village. I really enjoy watching the local “ladies of the house” uncompromisingly adding more and more food on the plates of the already stuffed visitors and even unmercifully pouring another and another cup of arac or chang (local spirits). Fortunately as a women I am excluded from this “alcohol typhoon”. Thanks to that I can laugh at the staggering of those who were not spared. However this is the way to meet and get to know the parents of our students and we also get close to their way of life. Seeing their everyday life helps us to familiarize their traditions and customs.
As for the school events I have to say (from the point of view of a teacher of arts) that the kids are just wonderfully enthusiastic about every novelty we try in the lessons. They are very active and participate in every experiment. They are fascinated by playing with paints and stuff...well, as long as they don’t step on the brand new and wet poster with their skillfully hand-knit socks from yak fur. And what are we doing otherwise? I made a trip to the ice kingdom with Martin and Tobs yesterday. We followed the frozen river down the valley to the places where even the sun doesn’t get to. Walking on the ice was an experience in itself and it was all enhanced by the beautiful shapes that only “Mr. Frost” can create. All those wonderful icicles and icefalls we passed made the trip even more beautiful. To be honest the real purpose of the all-day walk was the “hunt” for an ibex. Well, I still know this animal only from pictures on the display of someone’s digital camera but I like that it at least gave a name to our trip.
So another happy week passed and we rounded it off by practicing the walking on a frozen river - training for Chadar (winter hike on the frozen river down the valley to the nearest road).