A Day of Games
Morning of Saturday, 18th September, a long-awaited date which was to cost us a good part of the soles of our shoes. This was the day on which we had arranged, with the school in Tangso, the neighbouring village, to organize a joint Games Day. The school is a two hour walk away, with no communication link between the two places, so in order to arrange anything at all we had to go back to basics, specifically turning to walking as the only means of communication. The effort has paid off and we managed to agree on the date, time, and the order of the day...
We had agreed to gather at 10 am. We are a bit worried about how many children would turn up, since in the previous days a lot of them fell ill. At nine o’clock, about half of our students arrive at the school for the morning prayer and hygiene. After this morning routine we head to the village of Ski, half way between Kargyak and Tangso, which is where we agreed to meet with the other school.
We arrive in Tangso at ten, just in time. Our colleagues from Tangso remained faithful to the Indian way of doing things and came with a one-hour delay, and the children with them. We were just about to start without them when a large group of children of various ages emerged from behind the horizon. We exchanged friendly greetings with the teachers and with the children and lined everyone up for an official start of the day. After the Indian national anthem was sung, the program of the day finally began.
In cooperation with the teachers, we set up several bases with different games, after which the children spread among the bases to try their abilities at the various tasks and games. These included football, cricket, tug-of-war, skipping rope, shooting down cans, running, cutting candy off a stick while blind-folded, etc. Most of the activies, or, more precisely, success at these activities, resulted in a sweet reward for the competitors.
The only ones who didn’t appreciate these competitions at the start were those selected for the comparative knowledge tests. A representative was selected from each class to show his knowledge and compare it with his or her counterpart of the same age from the other school, the subjects being Hindi, English, Maths and general knowledge. Our teachers as well as teachers from Tangso prepared special comparative tests for this occasion.
Midway through the day we gathered together for a small meal. Children found places to sit in the grass and we could not fail to notice how their cheeks bulged out as they ate. We officially concluded the event at around three in the afternoon and each of the participants was given a small souvenir with our compliments. Even after the event itself ended, children stayed around, playing in small groups spread around the entire village of Ski. It was time for us to pack everything we had brought to make the day happen, and to start walking through the sunny afternoon. We are in no hurry, enjoying the gorgeous scenery around us and allowing the sun to warm us up with its rays. For Nikol and me, this event is a conclusion of sorts to our work in this part of the world; now we will be waiting for our successors to reach Kargyak after they cross the Shingo La. They could be here any day now, so we can start packing our things.