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Snippets from Orientation

Dear friends and family,

It is our last day in Phyang, where we rested, played in freshly sown fields, and were generously hosted by our wonderful Ladakhi family. We warmed our faces in the morning sun, journaled on a rock by a glacial stream, and all took the same photo of an adorable baby cow who only eats flowers. Over many cups of milk tea, moments of connection, and silly games we have started becoming a team – we sit a little closer together and joke more freely with one another, and can tell is anyone is missing by just glancing the room. Everyone is healthy and strong, and we have overcome jetlag to the point where we rise just before the sun, in good time for a brisk walk up to Phyang monastery for the morning puja.

Tomorrow we extend our boundaries to Leh – the capital of its namesake district in Ladakh – to launch into our exploration of the challenges of development in this high-altitude desert. As we say farewell to this charming place that was the launchpad into our Himalayan adventures, we wish to share with you a few photos of our times together so far:

Cover photo: our first team-building / problem-solving challenge during the pleasantly awkward early hours on Day 2;

Photo #1 (in the sidebar): hearty laughs during our Ladakhi lessons, led by our homestay sister, Angmo le. We have learnt to greet locals in their own language, give gratitude for the food we eat, ask for directions and for what things are called, and laugh at ourselves as we get all of these hilariously mixed up;

Photo #2: pre-course assignment presentations, where we heard from everyone about the object that best describes their budding relationship with India. From a tiffin box, to a newspaper cutout collage of Indian languages, to a clockwork mechanism, and a Himalayan medicinal plant, we each have an orientation to our host culture that is guiding our curiosity and will inevitably be challenged in the course of our program;

Photo #3: we celebrated Sophie’s birthday in a cosy circle of string lights, with vegan cake, a good book, and birthday candle imbued with our wishes!

Photo #4: from our afternoon walk up to Phyang monastery. Lance, Isabel, Kate, and Sam to the backdrop of snow-capped Stok Kangri (6150m);

Photo #5: a sample of the happy momo faces in the dining room last night! Our host family treated us to a lip-smacking surprise that fueled not one but two jetlag-fighting rounds of Mafia well into the night!

Affectionately,

Team India