The Year of Bull

Finally, there’s been a change. It’s been two weeks since we sent our last report - a week longer than it usually is. It’s been snowing and snowing and snowing all the time. Today is the eleventh day since it has started, the sun must have gone for a vacation . Well, it has to be said that even though this is “sun school”, the building has dealt with the absence of sunlight in the past two weeks just great. It is still a friendly place to stay in - not only for the teachers and kids but also for the locals. Now I understand what it means to be the only one who takes care of the house, furthermore if it’s school and if it’s in the mountains. As Lobsang and Pepa (the new teacher from the Czech Republic) are still on their way from Padum to Kargyak, I have no other choice but to wipe the snow off the solar panels every hour. And then do the same with the facade, roof and stairs as well. We have already collected such a huge hill of snow that we can jump headers into it from several metres. What a fun! The kids from the surrounding villages have to be housed here in Kargyak, otherwise they wouldn’t be able to make it to school in such a deep snow. Fortunately, most of the people here are either related or are just nice people, so all the kids had found a family to stay in.

The kids at school had a tough week. For three days they had to sit exams and write tests prepared for them by their Tibetan teachers. It must have been really tough because sometimes you could hear the kids mewling and sniveling in the classrooms. Well, it probably wasn’t easy for the teachers either, I guess, because Yega looked deeply worried and Tobs was searching for a shot of something strong at one moment. In the end it came out good and many ended up with great results. Only two kids didn’t pass the exams and it was because they had started to go to school later than the other kids. We all have day off on Monday because it’s the Day of the Republic which means it’s a state holiday.

Despite the snow, I went with the other teachers for a hike to the neighbouring village called Ski today. It all started really good - the snow was only up to our knees. But the farther we were from Kargyak, the more snow there was. When we were buried up to our waist in the snow, we realized that it was no fun anymore. And it was to get even worse - in the end we had a hard time to dig ourselves out of it. Beautiful! Well, the walk that usually takes us 20 min took us more then 2 hours this time. But we made it to Ski, drank our tea and now we’re feeling great because we took ourselves for a walk :)

The event of the week was the “puja” again that was carried out in every house by three monks from Phuktal. It was an interesting ceremony. The smallest monk was skillfully mastering the drum which was about four times bigger than him. The other two monks beat time with cymbals. What a nice little scamp the smallest monk was! As early as during the ceremony I noticed that he would not let any of his friends from the village go by unnoticed - he pinched and nudged them or cuffed them on heads. He did all this discreetly, of course, but even though I did notice :). After every “puja”, everyone including the monks move to the kitchen where refreshment is served. As times pass, people usually start to sing and dance. And this “puja” was no exception to that. But this time happened something that shouldn’t have happened - the smallest monk danced so widely and enthusiastically that he even dropped his monastic robe which made me laugh. As I didn’t manage to stop that sudden hit of the giggles, I had to leave the kitchen without learning more about the local traditions.

Well, that’s probably all for the news from Kargyak.

I only add some info about Martin’s and Pepa’s journeys from and to Kargyak - they left Padum on Thursday. Martin already went through Chadar and is in Leh now. Pepa with Lobsang are still on their way to Kargyak. We all wish them a save journey.


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