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Archive for May, 2009

Hello,

I’ve just spent the last two weeks staying here at Rosekanda in the beautiful Kumaon hills. I’ve been staying with the Verma family along with other British volunteers, where we’ve enjoyed good food and good company and a very relaxed stay in Kanda.
When I first arrived, the wheat crops were being harvested so I helped with that – cutting the wheat in the fields by sythe, carrying piles of it back to the house on our heads and then bashing out the husks and separating the grain from the straw with the wheat fan. Sadly there is currently a drought here, so the crops are short of water and therefore the yield has been considerably reduced. The villagers are now waiting on rain before they can plough the fields and plant the next crop of rice, so farming work has been limited by that since the wheat harvest.

I’ve also been helping out a local school in Kanda – Abdial Public School, which has been a very enjoyable and rewarding experience. The school day starts early in the summertime with assembly at 7.30am and then lessons through to 1pm, avoiding the heat of the day. I’ve been teaching English, Maths, Social Studies, Science and all sorts with the help of the other volunteers too. The standard of English in the school is high and the children are keen to learn and (generally!) well behaved, and very sweet too. We’ve been having fun with them teaching them songs and playing games with them and hopefully helping their understanding of English too. I’ll definitely miss their smiling faces when I leave here.

As for construction work, progress with the community centre has been slow – again due to the water shortage which seems to have delayed building works. Some of the volunteers helped make bricks for the construction of a water tank here and so hopefully work for that will finish soon.

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to be invited to a local wedding party which was a real treat. We arrived with gifts of milk for the groom’s family and sat down to blaring Indian music, surrounded by lots of beautiful women all wearing stunning saris and covered in their finest jewellery. Girls took it in turn to dance to the music while all around enjoyed the celebrations. It was a stunning party and the first T-total wedding I’ve been too!

It’s been a great experience living with a local Indian family here and getting involved with the daily activities, and I’m looking forward now to my travels on from here – Pindari Glacier next! I just hope the views are OK – at this time of year (April/May), a lot of crop burning takes place and so the views are limited and often it’s quite hazy here with all the smoke. A consideration to be aware of when planning your trip to Kanda. Apart from that the weather has been perfect here – sunny and quite hot in the daytime and cooler in the evening with warm winds blowing across the hills.

Have a lovely stay here if you decide to come!

Jenny

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