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People's Environmental Awareness - Khati (PEAK) Follow PEAK with the financial assistance of World Nomads on the path to delivering educational, water supplies & solar home lighting systems to Kumaon villages....

Himalayan Winter

INDIA | Thursday, 10 January 2008 | Views [981]

Gosali looking cool

Gosali looking cool

Thanks to the World Nomads Footprints Program, People's Environmental Awareness - Khati (PEAK) is undertaking a water/hygiene education project in the village of Khati (Uttarakhand, India).

Our first snow fall for the season was on the 11th & 12th December - that's about the time we arrived in Khati having crossed Dhakuri Kal in a metre of snow that crunched underfoot and left a magical white blanket across the landscape. Then came three glorious weeks of sunshine with nights so cold that you have to crack the ice of your water bucket in the mornings making for a 'refreshing' wash!

The hospitality of the local villagers has been tremendous and every night is spent sharing food with local families by the warmth of the cooking fire. The houses are constructed of local stone rendered with mud making for a cosy atmosphere as the temperature outside plummets.

Gehun (wheat),joh (Barley)and hara subji (green vegetables) have given some terraces a green hue (which may be white when we get back) while the fallow terraces are in the process of receiving lots of organic goodies in the form of dung and leaf matter from the cow and goat sheds. While there are only a couple of harvest seasons a year the fields are productive and yield tasty 'organic' food.

In Khati seven joint families lost all fo their belongings (gold, rupees, food stocks,blankets etc) in a fire that destroyed three houses. There wasn't much hope of salvaging anything as the village was experienceing a dry spell and a single bucket of water took at least five minutes to fill. Two weeks later in Waucham (a few kilomeres away) two more houses (and contents) and families livelihoods in the form of 150 goats were lost to another devastating fire, both accidentally started via cooking fires and quick to take hold in houses stocked up with dry animal fodder and luckari (wood) for winter. Everyone has rallied around those affected in a truly heartwarming way indicative of the closeness of a small community. PEAK is aiming to provide assistance to the families concerned through the provision of school supplies and clothing.

Khati school children are currently on a winter break. BK's School will be running winter activities like art, craft and mehendi design classes, games & reading sessions to make those long cold days more fun and interactive. I'm sure the kids will be eagerly awaiting our return with some rather large snowballs?!

We took advantage of the clear weather to come to Almora to purchase hardware goods and tanks for PEAK's latest project. Scott is currently in "hardware heaven" and the first phase of purchasing has been successful.The next phase of getting the goods to Song and then a combination of headloading and mules into Khati will be an interesting experience that I shall be able to update later. Another 'cold wave' has just swept across the North of India this will make our journey back somewhat of an adventure....

I have just been indulging in the quintessential Indian cup of chai (tea) while watching the dudh (milk)delivery being headloaded to its destination to make any number of tasty (but tooth rotting?!) sweets. And as I marvel at how much tomato sauce fellow patrons can pour onto a plate of chow-mien, fog swirls in the hills below revealing white peaks from last nights snowfall.

There was something about the dead puppy curled up in the doorway having succumbed to last nights cold that left me with a feeling of melancholy heightened by the length of time it took to access a computer thanks to the state electricity supply being frequently cut as the Uttarakhand hydro projects struggle to meet power demands....

However, the first part of our trip has been brilliant. In the words of our friend Dewa "NO TENSION"!! The luxury of a bucket of hot water and a plate of chow mien is about to dissolve into the dream realm as we head back to our 'second home' in Khati in a couple of days. To a different world - another wonderous side of the multifacted India.

Bonnie and Scott


Tags: mountain water project



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