Winter Camp is more than hockey - and yet few seem to know this in Ladakh. That's why the Domkhari people invited village leaders from other remote regions to join the 2014 Camp.
The children live, work, study and play together for 30-45 days each winter. This year Domkhar hosted children from 11 Sham villages- and ages 4 to 24.
Part of the tuition supported by 6 expert teachers from the region included encouraging the students to make videos of their curricular lessons. The Gruffalo, the ABCs and Abiley all reflected a fun way to learn English. The Hockey Manual - produced by the Girl's and Boy's Under 20 Teams.... well, not English language learning. But definitely a valuable contribution to the other villages wanting to start Winter Camp programmes.
Saturday Night was the Oscars at Domkhar. The competition was stiff among the 4 entries for Best Picture and the many entries for Best Actor. The prize for best learning and best fun was won by all.
Friday and Sunday we sorted the gear. Donated from Banff, from ILSC (Australia - really!)and from the Hockey Foundation (USA).
There's a movie - but this is Ladakh and the internet is too slow to upload it today.
Tonight the gear arrives in the remote village of Domkhar (west) and Lalok (east).
Wait til the kids see it - and wait til you see the kids faces.
The Canadians were here Thursday - Sunday playing in the Friendship Cup. And what Friendship!
Canadian kids skating with Sham kids. And former volunteers, who now work at the High Commission seeing old friends.
Thanks Canada! Jullay Hockey Foundation! Thank you ILSC! Many thanks Tony! And jullay Dr. Shankar!
When will the editing interns come?
Dadul, Thupstan, and Annie in the middle, are a part of Domkhar Drama and Design (3-D) Starting in 2009 3-D has been producing health education videos for HEALTH Inc, the HELP Fund and all our project partners in Ladakh.
Some of the 3-D members are school drop-outs, worried about how to earn a little cash income while also remaining farmers and local leaders in their remote Ladakhi villages. Some are teachers who want to use video in the classroom (Ladakhi children are natural storytellers but not natural readers). And some are mothers who excel at acting and would like to add a little cash and variety to their village lives.
In 2011, with the help of Joe and Emily from Seattle, and the Seattle Red Cross, Annie made her way to Ladakh. Joe and Emily worked with 3-D to film 5 of the top health emergencies in the region. A lot of catchup and some rather dramatically staged falls resulted in a training video for use by the Department of Health.
But let;s face it, Emergency First Aid is about much more than blocked airway, broken bones, bleeding, unconsciousness and CPR. So Dadul, Thupstan and Annie await another videography team to help them complete Emergency First Aid - Ladakhi style.
The equipment gets opened and the kids are thrilled!
Just to see what was in those 13 bundles sent half-way 'round the world, the Domkhar kids along with Adam from the Hockey Foundation opened the godown.
105 right handed sticks! Some of them brand new. This is more than the Domkhar Winter Camp kids have seen in a total of 8 years playing hockey.
There's leftie sticks, goalie sticks, pads and the best find of all - a goalie mask. They didn't even know what one looked like. Tsewang Namgyal writes it all down (great English practice) and Urgen helps him add it up. They'll go "home" tonight (to their guest accommodations at SECMOL - a local charity) and tell all the kids what they have to look forward to.
Until the Canadian High Commission players arrive on 15 January, Adam will keep this valuable stash under lock and key. Some of his National Team players will borrow bits and pieces, then put it safely back. And on the 16th, with the Canadians helping out, the "stash" will be divided among 3 remote village groups who want to use hockey as a leadership tool.
On a personal note, as I was filming the kids' glee, I didn't note that the camera's focus had been switched to close up. Once home I kicked myself. "Stupid! A unique moment in time and you blew it!" My inner demons did exactly what I know remote village kids do to them. Destroy self-esteem and confidence for what is actually a human mistake.
How can I lead? Tell the kids how sorry I am to have made a mistake and learn from it. That's what leadership is all about. And honest human leaders who own up to mistakes and move on are in short supply these days.
So here's the link to my out-of-focus movie of the kids getting their first glimpse of a treasure-trove.
Welcome back to the Himalayas!
How many days does it take to track down lost baggage? (especially hockey sticks)
How many people does it take to get a mobile switched back on?
How many pieces of paper does it take to get your internet connection fixed?
How many officials does it take to let a few kids on the ice?
Welcome back to the Indian Himalayas. Things are different here in many ways. I walk for my water each morning; and get the chance to hear the neighbourhood news from the women at the tap. I have slight fear of slipping of frozen yak pee; and know that "take care" is a good phrase in my vocabulary these days. My house owns the only Canadian Tire shovel in Leh City and it sure was a charm on the freshly fallen snow this morning.
Wait til the kids see THEIR Canadian Tire shovel - to use on the ice rink out at Gophuks next week, when Graham and Tobie arrive from Banff to start Part 3 of Winter Camp.
And yes, said shovel is in said lost and then damaged luggage. We'll keep you posted on how that turns out.
Here's a YouTube Video of the Under 16 Boys from Winter Camp as they got to enjoy participating in the Junior Tourney at Leh. Back to the big city after a wonderful 10 day Winter Camp Part 1 in Domkhar - far from the madding crowd. Hey and look at those LCC jerseys they're skating in.
Cynthia will be blogging as she works with our Himalayan projects this year.