Jullay from Leh, Ladakh:
Life in a village
Since my last post I stayed on a farm in Basgo village with a Ladakhi family for five days. While there, I observed firsthand the sustainable farming techniques used and spoke with them about village organization and related matters.
First, this is a desert region; glacial melt essentially is the only source of water. It is managed through a series of irrigation ditches that allots water from the main stream to each farm on a rotating basis. Several villages are serviced by artificial glaciers as well (I'll explain more at my research presentation on Sept. 20). The men and women of each farm family share equally in the physical work of the house garden (theirs was about a quarter acre) as well as the barley fields and orchards (apricot and apple trees). Pictured below is one of the diversion points in the irrigation system, a portion of the family garden and the family.
All animal and kitchen waste is composted, along with human waste, for a year to be used as fertilizer in the fields and garden. The families are organized in paspuns, a group of 7-10 families that provide support for each other for weddings, funerals and other events that require considerable food and activities. Many villages also have women's organizations that operate similar to micro finance groups; each woman contributes a monthly amount and then can draw on it for special household projects, significant medical expenses, etc. Many villages also have chapters of the Women's Alliance of Ladakh. This organization has promoted women's empowerment, education and health care as well as undertaken significant environmental issues. It is primarily responsible for the elimination of plastic bags in Leh and nearby villages.
Thugjaychay (thank you) for following my posts. If time permits I will send one more before I head home next week.