Sunday, February 8, 2009

8/2/09

A lot has happened since my last post. Winter Camp is 2 weeks underway at Taktse itself. Unfortunately I am unable to partake in the camp, as I am busy with the TFI project. I now have an assistant, Sherap, who is from West Sikkim. He is great and a hard worker at that. The first 2 days on the land, we were cutting trees down with only an axe and a bampak which is like a machete. The second two days we were carrying trees and stacking them in a pile, some of them weighed up to 60 KG or more. On the last day of that we asked Gurung, who is the fellow who lives with the cows and goats there, if he could summon some locals to help us pull out the stumps on the land. It is about an acre of land, and I will be making terraces on it. There were at least 40 to 50 stumps. So the following day I was greeted by my work force- Sonu, strong young Bihari, Pasang Sherpa, a 14 year old boy, Bishnu Maya, a grandmother, Maya, possibly Pasang's mother, and Sama Maya, a young mother with her 2 year old boy. We got straight to work after I settled their rate- Rs. 140/day for the 4 adults, and Rs. 120/day for Pasang (1 USD equals around Rs. 50). They seemed like they were high in spirits and used to doing such hard work. Maybe it was the fact that I was paying them a good rate, or the fact that I was alongside them with a rambar, axe, and bampak the whole time, but they worked so hard it was really admirable. Anyways to make a long story short the stumps and rocks were all removed in a period of three days, costing me exactly 2000 rupees for total labor, wheras if I went the other way and hired a 'dozer it would have cost 6000/day plus fuel. I definitly made the right choice. Tomorrow I will have the same crew, plus one more man, who will serve as the chief wall engineer, Sonu will be his right hand man, and the women will collect the stones, and level the earth. Today on my day off I went river rafting in Mali with the teachers staying in Chandmari. It was unbelievable and so beautiful, the rapids were class 2. The trip was meant to see how it would work for a complete faculty, or even student field trip in the future. Thats all goodnight!
My work team

My office

Sherap Gyamtso Bhutia


Day 2 chopping
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Rafting in Mali



Sherap and our compost box

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2 comments:

Mahvir Das said...

Hi Ben,
I have taken the liberty to put your blog on this site so that the awarness that you are trying to Taktse students can also be shared by students in other shools. The link is
http://www.voiceofsikkim.com/Schools/Education/Schools/taktse-school-farm-initiative.html#josc45

Tony said...

Ben, beautiful. I miss you man, I was thinking too if you start tagging words at the ends of your posts they may show up in searches. People need to see this...