“The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before.”
Today was the perfect example of why I travel. In the morning, with an English friend I met a few weeks ago in Leh, I headed up into the hills in order to meet six local women who were working in the field. The English gal had met them yesterday as they worked, and had promised to come back and help for the afternoon. We spent the day helping these ladies cut grass and plants that are then dried and stored as food for their cows in the winter. The work was all done by hand, with small machete like knives, and I think my knees and back will feel it tomorrow after spending the day squatting. Though it was hard work, the women laughed and gossiped like girls anywhere, and took many tea breaks in order to make the day more enjoyable. A few of these women were sisters, and the others, (my guess) were relatives of some kind. They were extremely friendly, and though only one spoke a few words of English, we had a great day laughing and working together.
For lunch, two of the husbands came down with rice and lentils (which were extremely spicy, it was a difficult meal for me). They all laughed watching me eat as I have yet to perfect their eating rice with your hand technique. We then worked a few more hours until we headed over to one of the ladies house for evening tea. This grass cutting is done for a month every year, starting in mid September, in order to keep the cows alive during the winter. All around the surrounding hills the land, which looks wild, is divided up between the different village families. Some have plots that are a ten minute walk away, while others walk hours back and forth to cut, then carry their loads.
Definitely hard work…
Here is the load (and this is actually a small one) you see countless women carrying back to their houses everyday. These are some strong gals for sure!
It is not all work though. The best part of the day was when this women broke out dancing in the middle of cutting. She was laughing and singing and obviously having a jolly good time.
Here was our crew for the day!