Water scheme, bows & arrows and bonfires in Kargyak

What is new here since our last report? Kargyak is getting alive and waking up from winter sleep. From the hill where our school is situated, we watch how more and more fields getting dark brown as they are being ploughed up every day.

We can see pairs of yaks yoked in plough like in pictures we know from history textbooks. Landscape is now divided by small streams for watering the fields. Villagers are cleaning them up and grass is slowly appearing all along. Skilfulness of the local people to get water to landscape is amazing. At some point they dig out the stone, elsewhere they plug it in and this way they direct water to particular field. All living is now more happy and full of joy.

We were also successful in running small school water dam, so water comes by tube straight to school now. It made our school keeper very happy as he doesn´t have to climb up three times a day with twenty - litter tank on his back.

Interested in cultural events in Kargyak? The biggest event of the season was the archery festival, which was held about ten days ago. Time of praying was over now and the villagers appeared with tanks with chang (local beer from barley), bows and arrows. This is what all archery is about. There is lot of drinking, dancing, singing archery songs and also there is a competition in shooting. It is quite unbelievable that everybody (locals and we as well) survived this festival without any harm and just targets were hit. Archery started around 1 or 2 pm every day, when all men from the village came together to village square where they were drinking, singing and dancing underneath the sky., The archery competition started around 4 pm and we also had a chance to take part. I must admit that shooting from a bow looks very easy, but it´s not easy at all. Winners of both competition days were the monks from Phuktal monastery. I think it was mainly because monks are not allowed to drink :) After the competition, everybody went home to have dinner (again drinking chang and also local liquor - arak). All ceremonies and fun ended up in community hall, where again everybody was singing, dancing and drinking.

People from Kargyak are quite tough and they have been celebrating since I remember.

We were able to attend three days, during the period the competition was held, but the villagers kept drinking chang even some days after the archery had been over.

Except local traditions, some Czech traditions take place this year in Zanskar too. Few days ago we burnt a few Himalayan witches symbolically and we also made some good local potatoes on the fire.

Martin and Petra

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