Talia and I have returned to Pokhara today to protect her ankle. It is a big adjustment back to noisy Dusty city where we are back in Wi-Fi land. I know some were able to connect from the camp last night but as a parent who sent two sons on service trips before smart phones, I know you hunger for news. I will write from the adult perspective and Talia from student. Please forgive my kindle spelling.
It has been wonderful to be off the grid. Students have bonded as a group, finding new dimensions in each other beyond those preconceived notions. They have had to be fully-present and not primarily connected to friends and family back home. This in itself has been novel. They also discovered that flashlights and cameras work better with batteries than cell phones that require frequent charging! But true to this group, they always worked out who had priority on the giving strip (when we had power). They have been amazing. Everyone has stretched a personal limit, from the weight of a rock, to using a squat privy, to trekking for 7 hours.
Please understand that the students have worked very hard. They tumble into their tents between 8:00 and 9:00 p.m. and camp is silent by 9:30 p.m. They cannot believe it, nor that they get up for sunrise! The day starts with hot tea, then washing up basins. They have discovered how to get clean in less than a quart of water, to wear the same work clothes for a week, and to tolerate dirt. Which doesn’t negate that the shower felt great today! Anyway, there is no space in this trip for schoolwork. I am sure they will all sleep through the return flight.
I wish I could send photos but I haven’t taken any with the kindle. You will see many soon!
I will try to describe a few.
We arrived in Dhampus late in the day. The villagers met us at the New School and greeted us with leis of red rhododendron and leaves, which hung on our tent poles all week. It was cloudy when we settled in to camp, which was 15 orange, 2 person tents (fortunately water tight), a blue dining tent, blue kitchen tent, and 2 privy tents. In a steppe field on 4 levels. When we awoke in the morning, we were greeted with the most amazing view of Machupuchari and Annapurna.
Today we has the same experience of a majestic view of Annapurna South (not sure I have the Annapurna’s right). The look on one student’s face when she looked up after going to the bathroom early was priceless, and one of those not-taken snapshots.
We have to go out now. More later.