TUES 25 SEP: TRIUND -BHAGSU – NAG VILLAGE
Woke up this morning to clouds that looked a little less troublesome! The team are rested and excited for our last day of trekking. We’ve been guided along a path that lies along a grassy ridge with stunning views of the plunging valley below and snowy peaks above. We then descended through Laheta Village before reaching Bhagsu Nag Village. We’re now driving back to Dharamsala where we’ll have our farewell group dinner. I’m so proud of this team and excited to hear their stories of reflection over some delicious food.
MON 24 SEP: TRIUND – LAKA GOT – TRIUND
Storm raged for hours last night and the hail just kept coming! Our tents flooded!! We managed to stay in a building with a couple of rooms and have woken up to a beautiful sunrise. Don’t think many of us slept though as the dogs were howling all night. A few of us will head up the pass but the rest will rest up for our last day of trekking tomorrow.
SUN 23 SEP: BAL – TRIUND
Today we definitely did it for Uniting World! After our 3rd day of 6+ hours of trekking, we’ve finally made it to Triund! We are currently hauled up tent thunder lightening and hail!! We’re soaking freezing and tired but we are all just so thrilled that we made it! Everyone sends their love home.
SAT 22 SEP: KERERI – BAL
Woaah bit chilly this morning which is good as it sounds like it’s all up up up today. We all swam in the river last night – then spent most of the evening discovering we were covered in leeches! Everyone is enjoying the amazing food and spirits are extremely high. The trekking has been a little harder than some anticipated but our exhaustion is quickly relieved by the mind blowing scenery and views. It’s a gorgeous flora and wildlife frenzy!!
FRI 21 SEP: DHARAMSALA – KARERI
The team has just arrived into first camp and went straight for a dip in the River – amazing! We scrambled over the rocks jumped through streams and have arrived in paradise!! Its was a difficult first day of trekking but the scenery is amazing and the people are beautiful in every way. This team doing is great! A couple of tumbles along the way, but pride has been the only injury!
TUES SEP 18 – 19: UNITING WORLD PROJECT VISIT.
Our visit to the golden temple was amazing – and flooded! We were almost knee deep in water crossing the roads. Luckily our bishop knows all the right people and took us into the kitchens too see where it all happens, then even rolled us some roitis too! After our exploration of Amritsar we start to head off to meet the children of the Uniting World Project. We all cant wait, the rain seems to have stopped too! The team is all great, no funny tummies as yet and we’ve all just doused our feet in antiseptic after wading in the gutters this morning. Love it!
When we arrived at the project the hospitality of the bishop and people of the project was unreal. We were literally treated like visiting royalty. Children scrubbed themselves to within an inch of there lives and had their hair combed and oiled. They sang and danced to greet us and it was just outstanding!
The project visit has been amazing; I’m an emotional wreck! We are blown away not only by the hospitality but also by what the project is achieving for these children; we’re not sure we will ever fully be able to convey to everyone at home what we have witnessed. We were asked by the bishop to stand on the horse cart for a photo then made the horse bolt and we all clung for our lives! It was an OH and S nightmare – just brilliant! On the way to the mountains to start the trek tomorrow!
MON 17 SEP: ARRIVAL IN AMRITSAR
We rise early and head to Delhi train station. The train departs on time, we are served bottled water, get to enjoy the air conditioning, and there’s more leg room than any flight I have ever been on! Who said this was the third world. And by the way – the rail network in India is the worlds largest employer.
On the train (amidst the air con and ample leg room) the view through the window is a real life horror story. Children scrambling through flooded rubbish dumps….I cannot even begin to describe it. I think of the children I have cared for. I cannot believe how different life can be. Poverty is not nearly a strong enough word to describe this. It’s heartbreaking. If most of the world’s population live here, is this how most of the world lives?
As we stepped off the train, we were greeted by the bishop of the church of north India. Not just the bishop, his team joined him, and a drummer! Confetti was thrown over us and leis were placed around our necks. I have caught glimpses on the news this week of Kate and William’s welcome to the Solomon Islands. I’m pretty sure these people thought the royal couple were stepping off the train – it was stunning. We then followed the drummer out of the station and down the road leaving a trail of flowers and confetti in our wake – it was something else. Sydney… we need to work on our welcomes! Amritsar could teach us a thing or two!
SUNDAY 16 SEP: DELHI
We have this morning to ourselves and a few of us set out to explore our surroundings on foot. It’s hot, humid and we stick out like a bunch of white tourists. So now we have the task of politely declining continuous offers of help and guidance. It’s hard to look past the young desperate children who beg relentlessly, we all struggle to witness the disparity of this city.
One gentleman succeeds in leading us into a traditional rug shop where we’re seated on a lounge and given green tea along with an exceptional display of beautiful rugs. We continue our jaunt through the dirty bustling streets. It’s Sunday, so many shops are closed and temples and churches are filled with families. Its lovely to see all the ladies dressed immaculately and adorned in fabrics and jewels of every colour.
We head back to the hotel for lunch and all opt for local cuisine over the choice of burgers and pizza. Another check for the bucket list. Eat curry in India! It was gorgeous!
This afternoon we are taken on a tour of the city. Raj, our guide, is knowledgeable beyond belief! His love and enthusiasm for his country is endearing but he treads on a fine line between expressing his views on religion and offending this team, who have fundraised for the Uniting church of Australia. Discussions at dinner proved that most were not offended but his remarks had not gone unnoticed and sparked lively and thought provoking conversation at dinner.
Visiting the sites and world heritage sites of this city was delightful but for me the highlight was seeing the city parks and attractions teeming with families, young men playing soccer and an overwhelming feeling that Sundays here really are sacred, regardless of your religion or beliefs – they are for family, for fun and for sharing.
SATURDAY 15 SEP: ARRIVE IN DELHI.
The team arrived into Delhi, on time and predictably tired but excited to be in India at last. We were welcomed by Joseph and Amit – and torrential rain! Apparently this would bring us luck for the trip…
In September 2012, Team UnitingWorld will head to northern India on a trip of a lifetime. This incredible group of people have fundraised over $33,000 for UnitingWorld projects supporting rural education.
During their Inspired Adventure, Team UnitingWorld will:
- Reflect on spirituality and the environment as they trek through the Indian Himalayas;
- Learn first hand the root causes of poverty as they visit UnitingWorld’s Education Program for Disadvantaged Children;
- Witness inter-faith engagement in action through the work of Christian leader Bishop Pradeep Samantaroy;
- Immerse themselves in the tranquillity of Dharamasala, the home of the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader;
- Fund projects that empower women, girls and communities and
- Experience the grandeur of the exquisite Golden Temple nestled near the border of India and Pakistan.
Stay tuned for more updates.