Yesterday was a मेला (mela), or fair, on campus. There were some organizations there who are run by or who support minority/disadvantaged groups – KKM Colony, which is a leper colony known for their soft furnishings/fabrics (and from whom I bought a purple and orange shawl/scarf), Himalayan Weavers (a group of women who produce fair trade woollen & silk textiles, using natural dyes, who are dedicated to fair trade & some of the profits go to education & health in the villages they work in), Chhaya Cafe (a cafe started up and, I believe, run by/the profits going to support women who have been in abusive relationships/marriages), a couple local Christian churches, and I’m not sure what the rest were affiliated with… haven’t been here long enough! We also picked up some spices from a group who helps disadvantaged kids – spent Rs209 for 560g of spices (or, about $4.60 in CAD/USD for 560g/19.75oz of spices). Go to the grocery store, and tell me how much 100g/3.5oz of turmeric costs… ^_^

Today, Adam and I will be going out with Sabrina, who is a Canadian woman who has done social work in India before, and is a dorm parent in one of the girls’ dorms. Since Adam and I have been told we may be changing residences after some staff leaves, we’re not going after appliances, pots & pans, etc. but more interested in getting comestibles, new pillows (we have ‘rock’ and ‘padded rock’ currently), and I’d like to get measured to have a few salwar kameez made.

It’s a 10-minute walk from the school gate to our residence, and it’s uphill. The school is at an average of 7000m, and I’m inclined to think we’re closer to the 6800-7k point than the 6500 point; we’re “up”, versus “down” (where Hostel and some of the other residences & dorms are) — for anyone familiar with Woodstock, we’re a few steps uphill from Edge Hill. If we’ll be changing residences, we do NOT want to be dragging our baggage (or having coolies* drag it) and additional acquisitions, more than just “what we really  really want for the next 2-3 weeks”.

Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section… there may be questions people have about what Adam and I brought, or regret bringing, or the like that we just don’t think to address. 🙂

The view!

This is the view from King's Chambers East, into the Himalayas


*we have been told that ‘coolie’ is not a derogatory term here. It’ll take some getting used to, like being told you should have catapults to keep the rhesus at bay.

4 Comments on “Mela!

  1. Glad to hear you are getting to know some people. There was quite a cool shop in Landaur that sold pots–when we come back, I want to buy some of their hammered brass stuff. Did they provide you with any kitchen utensils at all? What are you cooking your meals on? Do you have a cook? We had heard about the mela’s when we were over there–we were asked to bring some small things like pens and pencils, candy, etc., for people to sell at one of the melas. That would have been one in May or thereabouts. What are your first impressions of the school? How cold is it during the day? (I don’t really remember except that I think it was fairly cool).

  2. Hi Anne!
    We have some kitchen utensils, but they go back to the Hospitality group after 2-3 months. Since Adam and I have been told we’ll likely be changing residences, we opted to go with the school meal plan for the last month, and will pick up the pots, pans, and other things we need for “real” cooking when we switch houses (if we d0)… otherwise, once we know if we’re switching, we’ll buy more cookware.
    We’ve decided (for similar reasons) not to have a cook, ayah, or probably a dhobi; I’ll do laundry for the first bit and as we settle in, and we can re-evaluate things in February. The days have been in the low-mid 20’s, the nights dropping and feeling colder inside (due to lack of insulation in the houses). So far, everything is nice, but we came so close to the end of term, everyone is frantic with exams — either making them, grading them, or (for students) taking them!

  3. I’m so happy you’re there and safe. =)

    Do they do export of these items? 😉

    I’m glad things are coming together well.


    • Jeff – I think at least one or two of the groups export (KKM – the leper colony textiles – and I think the Himalayan Weavers might, but I don’t know), but the majority of them were small local community groups. is the Himalayan Weavers website; I don’t think KKM has one.

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