Today morning I woke up and went down to get some hot water… Nandini was there and she asked did we sleep well and how was our day yesterday. I said it was great. And I am looking forward to today. She said only one thing that time “everyday is a new day over here”.
Today was our first full day here in Khumera village (8 kms above Guptkashi). They say the day starts and ends early in the mountains. When we slept at 10pm last night, Archana said it was late. I had thought I will wake up early. I first woke up at 3:15am. Saw the time and slept again and then I woke up only at 6:15! 🙂 Last night it was raining heavily so we had stayed back in school. We went up to Archana’s fathers home (500 mts up the mountain but going up it feels much longer 🙂 ), got our bags and moved permanently in the school.
The morning started with hot water with tulsi leaves. That has replaced my chai! (And pratyush is very happy about that :)) after that was the safai (cleaning) time. Everyone then cleaned the entire school. They have lunch at 10am here. The food responsibility is distributed amongst the didis for each day. I just helped in that.
Then I did an english story reading session with the children. Archana had bought big fairy tales books from rishikesh and the kids were very excited with the pictures 🙂 so we all sat in a circle and every child would read one sentence and then tell the meaning of the sentence. Its amazing how eager these children are to read. if one got a shorter sentence to read he/she would become very sad… quite contrary to our normal school where, except for few, most would run away from reading.
With the little ones I did some drawing and coloring. And then again went to help in the kitchen. This was the first time I was cooking chapatti on a chulha (firewood stove). At first I was just flattening the dough into rounds and then putting on the tava but later I started cooking them. And I found an all new respect for the girls… on the chulha, the hand that presses on the chapatti gets hot as its right on top of the flame and the legs that are so close to the burning wood below, get hot… and the girls do it twice a day every day all their lives! During the first few months after the floods there was no gas, no electricity anywhere in the villages and chulha was the only means to cook food.
After lunch, the children have classes till 3 pm. During day time the sun had come out and it was the perfect time for us to bring more stuff that we had left in the room they have on top. there were two computers that Archana had bought from Rishikesh and also some Ayurvedic medicines and health supplements that a doctor from Kerela had sent. We got the stuff… Earlier I was holding the packet with both my hands in front and walking down the hill. The girls then said “didi aise to aap thak jaoge, sar pe rakh lo” (didi you will get tired like this, carry the packet on your head). At first I wasn’t sure but then I thought lets just try and it indeed was an easier way to carry load up and down a hill! 🙂 we then fixed the computer and installed their drivers and had it running! I have never had more excitement in setting up a comp 🙂
Later we sat with Archana and her team to listen to their journey and also how best we can serve here. Our idea was that we can always take classes for children and they are excited about new teachers but if they had any organisational challenges that they think we can contribute in.
For most of the evening I was just mesmerised listening to their journey. They also shared about the relief work they have been doing. Walking up the mountains taking 90% risks to their lives just to ensure villages up have food available! Ensuring that everyone was tended to! And while the elder didis were busy in relief work the little children were running their school themselves.. studying at the time of classes and cleaning and cooking! I would have to write another post on SNC itself soon. Tomorrow we are planning to go up in the villages and interact with people there.
At the end I was thinking there is so much I can learn from them! And wondering what can I possibly help them in?
Tomorrow is another day.