A Long Walk

we want to visit a unit of the mobile blind school. A trained Humla person can walk the distance in 2.5 hours. We calculate 4 to 5 hours walk. In the morning it is raining, so we wonder if it is a good idea to go, but eventually the rain stops and we leave at about 6 am.. At the beginning I enjoy the walk: fog is all over the mountains and I can see a lot of white around me. You can hear only chicken and some early traveller walking much faster than us.

We have to walk down a hill or mountain, depends how you look at it, to reach the river, then follow the river for some time and walk up a little at the other side. The first challenge is to walk down hill. There are a lot of stones and next to us it goes steep down to the river. So, if you slip and fall you are gone. Our guide, the teacher of the mobile blind school gets worried and decides to guide me.. He graps my wrist and drags me behind him. This way is very safe on one hand, it would be impossible to escape his grip and fall down to the river. On the other hand it makes it impossible for me to use my cane or try to see what is in front of me. So every step and hole are a surprise. When we reach at the bottom of the hill I feel as if I am not able to walk even a single step.

We have a break and somehow I continue. The second part of the road is also down hill, but most of it not so steep. So we proceed quite well. As we cross the river, there is a hanging bridge which moves with every step. This is fun and I forget that I am tired. But the last part of the way is up hill. At the beginning it is a nice change after walking down for so long, but then I once again find the limit of my power. I use my hands to climb on steps and rocks and somehow I arrive on top of a roof, the place for our Braille class.

At the Mobile Blind School unit there are four children and their parents. While the students practice the Nepali Braille alphabet, their younger siblings and parents participate in the class. For the parents it is a good opportunity to share their experience and talk about their visually impaired children. I get some interviews for my documentation.

And after some hours of class, the same once again. After a while we meet some horses and I think it would be nice of them to take us back home, but it would be too expensive. So we continue walking. This time, I get in trouble in the middle part of the journey. It goes up the mountain and there are a lot of rocks and steep steps. My Nepali guides, Chhitup and the Braille teacher, have just started to compliment me for my strength when I start to prove the opposite. For some time I have to take a rest every few minutes because I feel that I have not ennough air and my legs won’t carry me any further. And then the final mountain to climb. Most of the part is not as steep, but it is a long way which seems to have no end. It already gets dark and we are still out on the mountain. Other people pass us while I have a rest. For them this is just a regular walk as you and me would walk to the bus stop or the nearest shop. When we arrive at Simikot, it is already dark. It was a long and exhausting journey.

Nevertheless, the landscape is great. There are hills and mountains and steep down is the river. You can hear the noise of water most of the time. A part of the way follows the river. You don’t hear a sound except some birds, cows and donkeys that come along the way.

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