Respect the Mountains
Dear followers, yet again the Kargyaks duo Adam and David are reporting to you. By the time you are reading this report Adam is in Padum ready to leave India due to restrictions of Indian visa and is ready to continue his journey to Nepal, China, Mongolia and other destinations. In a meantime David, now left alone, is looking after the school, and is getting ready for arrival of new volunteers and arrival of new school year, but let’s look on the events of a month August.
Events of past weeks were very unfortunate. Firstly malfunction of our satellite phone leaving us separated from the last remains of civilization that we were connected to, just to be than followed by heavy rains lasting over a week, which is quite uncommon for Zanskar region. This did not bring only us down but more or less whole village. As you may know local houses are build in accordance with their tradition, made of stone, mud, straw and with some hard-to-get timbers. Simply said these houses are not ready for pouring rain from massive clouds, which somehow, by luck, managed to cross southern Great Himalaya range. Roof of each house and also our school is mostly covered by mud and soil and its main purpose is a storage of precious goods such a hay or yak dunk. So within this weather after day or two mud roof was unable to hold all the water and it started to soak through and leak to each household firstly drop by drop, which eventually change to a regular stream causing lot of sadness and damage to each household. Fast reaction was a necessary to save supplies for winter both for villagers and their animals. After a week the rain and snowing had stopped a sun started to dry houses, school and fields as well. This meant only one thing – harvest was just days away. On an important note this is one of the most vital seasons of a year for any villager. Bad harvest equals harsh winter and this was even more relevant few years ago, before Zanskar was discovered by trekkers from all over the world carrying and spending precious rupees. And this brings us to another unfortunate event from Kargyak. It was just days ago when a group of people cremate their good friend, with whom they came to enjoy beauties of Himalaya and warmth of zanskari summer, however Shingo-la pass and high altitude became fatal for this young man. Like a stream fading in vast scree slopes of Lungnak, had their dream holiday changed to a nightmare and a sincere remembrance of hostile mountains. No matter how sad this month was and how everyone was shaken, life goes on, and indeed it is not a first or last time when mountains have been charging duty on their visitors. However it is a big call for everyone to respect the mountains and power of nature.