All that construction work last weekend earned everyone a day off, so another volunteer, Adam, organized a handful of us to hike down the nearby village of Khartheng for a visit.
The trail we took to get there went pretty much straight down the mountainside from the ridge Jhamtse Gatsal is on. But it got us there in a quick 30 minutes!
Khartheng seems like a bigger village to me, full of traditional stone houses, with alleys winding between them, and surrounded by fields of crops.
It was fun to be with the kids, who enjoyed pointing things out and explaining things and could translate for the many village kids who came to see what we were up to, and the grandmas chatting with us from dark doorways.
We found our way to the house of Sonam Chodron’s brother (she is one of 9 Gatsal students from Khartheng), and he invited everyone in to sit and drink butter tea and enjoy a few brief minutes of reception on his tiny TV.
The room was fairly large, but low-ceilinged and dark, with years of cooking fire smoke built up on the old wood beams and stone walls. I enjoyed seeing how simple and organized and neatly kept all his things were (he wasn’t expecting company).
His house, like many others, had another floor above, and a cozy space filled with clean straw for animals beneath. Quite nice!
Kai, of course, got swept off to play and explore and be shown off to friends. He was most excited about the baby goats hopping around. When it was time, though, he was glad to climb back on Spence’s back for the long hike home.
We hiked home via the switch-backy road and a series of shortcuts, munching on berries and other foraged snacks all the way. Fun excursion, good day.