I am just very glad that I didn’t know the difficulty levels of volunteering in Haji Public School for people my age and levels of fitness. I am over-weight and so climbing at that altitude always presented a challenge for me.
But I didn’t so I got a chance to test my strength, my fitness and my will power.
These are pictures of my return journey on 19th July 2016.
One goes up by horse but since its steep and dangerous for both rider and horse we had to walk down the 8 km, with a short 30 min jeep journey.
We left at 7.30 and reached Premnagar by 12 noon.
Our luggage getting ready to go down by the Mule Service
A last look at the lovely mosque which is in between the Haji Public School and House
Goodbye to Vishvesh and Shomashree who are staying on in school. Nidhi was coming down with us
The mule train is on its way down.
Mr Saleem haji lent me his walking stick so that my poor ole knees wouldn’t be strained
It was a lovely morning for our walk downhill
Missing these hills
The path may seem simple but it wasn’t! ask my kness!
Mountain girl Sabbah Haji had reached before us as she took a short cut which was too steep for us to negogiate.
And sooff we went
Zubair Sir and our escort walk ahead of us
The walk downhill was tiring but so beautiful
A stop to refresh with water from a mountain spring
Nidhi and I negotiating the hill
Definitely not easy
Many children walk for an hour or so to go to Haji Public School and avail its world class education
The return party with the kids going up
Wild mushrooms on the way
I loved the mountain village cowsheds of leaves and twigs
It took us 1 and 1/2 hours to reach the stage from where we take a jeep. Exhaustion writ large on my face.
After the jeep ride we stop for a while in Humera’s paternal house. Freshen up and have water and then get ready to walk the last leg of our journey which is another 30-45 minutes
A paratha break with Sabbah and Nidhi. We aren’t very far now
The path strewn with rocks from when the Chenab flowed much higher is scenic
We can see the Chenab
Mud mud ke naa dekh mud mud ke
Kids must be wondering why Im making such heavy weather of what they do so easily
Sabbah pointing out where we came from : High up on those hills hidden in the clouds
and now the drive to Jammu another 5-6 hours depending on traffic
some videos of the walk
So after a two month stint as a volunteer teacher in Haji Public School I return home.
One of the best experiences of my life.
I would advocate volunteering there to teach these children but only if you are physically fit, mentally comfortable with staying away from the city lights and dedicated to teaching and making a difference in the lives of these children