Trifles of Kargyak and How Lopi Threw the Cat

Several days in India have gone by since we posted our last report. And that is why I am back here to share with you some of the things that happened in Kargyak in the passed few days after the unbearable loads of chang and arak offered everywhere we went had ceased.

Yes, it really has taken several days to some villagers to bring their crumpled, puffy and sort of elongated faces back into their non-alcoholic status. Only then were they able to start to work on their fields. Apart from the one exception mentioned here before, I had always managed to escape from the drinking soon enough not to get crazy. It is evident that both chang and arak have a profoundly negative effect on the human psyche so sometimes I felt in Kargyak like in a madhouse.

Two days ago the villagers opened irrigation system for the first time this year. Thanks to this system, the brisk Himalayan river is brought to the fields to water the crop sowed recently and to make Kargyak more green.

Working on the fields reminds me strongly of my beloved Banat in Romania. I used to visit this rural region every year to see the unique Czech community which even nowadays lives in accordance with traditions and principles of the 19th century societies.

And, what about our students? Well, they are actually doing very well. Rinchen from nursery, the Brave one, the son of Dorje, who was during the winter absolutely unbeatable in his vivacity is now being challenged by other kids, for example Dechen has been giving him quite a tough time. For the first and second grades important tests are being prepared so you will be informed by Pyru about the results in the next report. I have been working with the kids on math tirelessly (sometimes even after school) so hopefully even our weakest student Desal A. will manage to pass. I also want to tell you about Stenzin Dolma from the first grade. This girl, initially very quiet, average and not standing out in any way has literally gone wild in the past few days. She is a completely different person now and we have no clue what’s going on with her. Maybe, some magic mushrooms has already started to grow or maybe there is even more simple explanation - she found some chang left from the celebrations at home.

But, life is not only about good news. A sad thing happened to one of our puppies. I guess you remember how one of them, Pepik was his name, fell into the toilet. That guy probably had bad karma because he was torn to pieces by a wolf this week during one of his night walks to the nearby fields. So, my new fence is now guarding only two puppies. All the feelings seem to multiply in Kargyak and as I had developed a soft spot for this guy, it will take some time for me to recover from his death.

I spend entire last week walking and taking pictures along the whole Lugnak Valley (the shots were almost as good as those in the National Geographic) as I went to visit the administrative town of Padum to do some shopping for school and I even managed to visit few famous schools for inspiration.

In short, loads of impressions. Especially, surprisingly huge number of metal-concrete buildings remains indelibly imprinted in my mind. Those structures were definitely far from being environmental friendly. Another thing that stuck in my mind was witnessing how the nails were used instead of paper clips. I’m also going to remember all those cheeky cats that were all over the place. One evening I and Lopi went to dine out and at the beginning I was not sure if we entered a restaurant or cat shelter as we heard cats meowing in every corner. The cats really were cheeky and some I even had to hit to get them off our table. Nevertheless, when the bravest one jumped from the floor straight into Lopi´s soup, I bursted into laughter and for at least five minutes I kept laughing. The funniest thing was that the cat and Lopi had been eating together for few seconds before Lopi realized that his plate was no longer his and threw the cat so far away that the throw shoot for an entry in Guiness Book of World Records.

All the best to all of you,

Pepa (Joe, Joseph)

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