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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....

A snapshot of life in Khati...

INDIA | Tuesday, 5 April 2011 | Views [531]



After six days of brooding dark grey louds, rain, hail & light snow, this morning dawned clear and with the rising sun an azure blue sky was starkly juxtaposed against snow white mounts and hills around Khati. At first light the cacophany of birds heralded in the day as the first of the altitudinal migrants make their way into the mountains. A pall of smoke hung over slate roofs as early morning chais were prepared, but the sub zero temperatures ensure that people don't realy start their day until the sun hits town.

At around 8am women clean out the cattle sheds and dump the leaf litter mix onto th fields in small piles, to later be spread as an excellent source of organic material. All of Khati's crops are organic and seed saving for next years crop is alive and well. By 9am groups of women with cane baskets strapped to their backs, carrying ropes and datuls (scyths) head into the forest for a mornings work of wood & leaf collection. One day a week the women head up to Mullyadhoor (12km round trip) to collect loads of ningaloo (bamboo) for animal feed. At this time of year by 10-10.30am the cattle, ponies and mules (the latter who are not engaged in work that day) head out to pasture.

The practice of burning local grasses continues in the Kumaon. Khati is no exception to the punishing burning regime, despite widespread opposition to the practice by the state government on environmental grounds. The slopes a Pauri, one of Khati's main livestok grazing grounds was set alight before the rains set in. The grass isn't usually burnt until March/April but the previous dry spell enabled an early burn.

This week Khati had no teachers at the government school and even the Balwari madame didn't turn up for work. PEAK kept classes going for th primary school kids and while writing this I had a group of 'super keen' Class 3 kids turn up over an hour early for class!!

In 2009 parvo-virus went through the town killing most of the dogs in a short time frame. At around the same time the first cases of rabies appeared with at least four dogs killed by villagers when they turned pagal (crazy). We had a visiting government veterinary surgeon in Khati at the time who confirmed it was rabies. With very few dogs left the town was silent, however since then the number of dogs have been steadily multiplying. The down side is when wild animals come close to town after dark the dogs set each other off creating an intolerable din that leaves many complaining about "sleep disturb" the next day. Pet ownership is on the rise though the harsh treatment they receive leaves me thinking that very few people have worked out that dogs can be 'humans best friend'...



Tags: khati, medical, mountains, organic crops, seed saving, village life



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