Time for another update, in which we introduce our two key collaborators: Kristina Nadler and Tundup Tsewang. Together, they orchestrated the purchase and delivery of winter clothes for our little friends in Lingshed, and made sure that each child got their proper size... Finding 120 pairs of sturdy jackets and warm shoes in the chaotic and under-equipped city of Leh requires a lot of determination, good negotiating skills and the patience of a saint.
These two have it all!
But first things first. As you remember, we promised to spend two thirds of our Kickstarter pledge on providing direct help to the schoolchildren of Lingshed, and one third on the production and printing of our book. The final sum which we received via Kickstarter, after all the charges were applied, was circa £7,200. Of this, £4,800 was set aside to:
- buy wood and concrete to build a floor in the main school hall- build a greenhouse next to the school and bring seeds from Leh- erect a shade marquee on the main assembly square- purchase winter jackets, shoes and socks- purchase educational materials, especially books- if possible, purchase firewood
This was the original plan, but as it happened, the reality on the ground forced us to revise it. Firstly, we learned that this season the only road leading towards Lingshed, across the Singula pass—one of the highest passes in the world—is partly damaged and requires repair. High levels of water in glacier streams which criss-cross the access routes also posed a problem—the only way to get through them was barefoot; vehicles had to turn away. After a few days of consulting with villagers over the satellite phone and with taxi drivers coming in and out of the direction of Lingshed, we realised we won't be able to send a truck with all the building materials necessary for our construction plans—at least not for some time...We were advised to wait until the glacier water recedes from the streams, and the road workers clean up the landslides and rocks which litter the only route across Singula. It meant that our only option at the time was to purchase winter clothing and seeds, hire a 4x4 car to take us to the end of the traversible part of the road, and then organise a caravan of donkeys to take the load across the passes. Everything else would have to wait.BUT—you'd be amazed what a difference a bag of winter jackets and shoes can make in a place as distant and isolated as Lingshed! So we got to work immediately, with Kristina and Tundup in charge of the operation, and after a few days of sourcing the clothes, matching sizes, negotiating prices and delivery, we ended up with a few tightly packed bags full of goods—and ready to be taken to Lingshed!
With all the winter clothing purchased and packaged for the perilous trip; seeds for the greenhouse acquired and the help of Tundup—probably the most experienced trekker on the Leh-Lingshed route—enlisted, we embarked on our journey. What with the floor and the shade marquee, the deteriorating road and reports of erratic weather? Well, we were about to find out...
But more about that in our next update.
Back to top