We took our students, from class 1 to class 6, to Namdo village for the”Inter-School Students-Teachers Interaction Program 2018″. Namdo was about a 4-5 hrs walk from our Village (Nyisal, Dolpo). We had to cross this river and there was a single log bridge while we were going towards Namdo. This was during the first week of August. The rainy season had already started.
After 3 days, our program had finished and we were all (students and staff of schools of Karang, Saldang and Nyisal) returning back to our villages. The log bridge that was here a few days ago had already been swept away by the river and there was no other option for crossing the bridge. There was no alternative way either. So, the teachers formed a human-chain-bridge and would carry and pass each student and made sure they crossed the river safely. Some of the students formed a chain and crossed the river themselves. Some of the staff crossed the river first and managed the students on the other side.
As you can see in the video, even the horses had a hard time crossing the river, imagine how fast the river was flowing. This was one of my scariest as well as proudest moments from my 6-month fellowship in Nyisal Village. I was trying my best to calm down the students while I was myself panicking a little bit. Some of the students were frightened while some were even calmer than me. This experience was adventurous as well as frightening. Nyima Tashi sir carried some of the female teachers on his back and helped them cross the river safely. He also leads the horses via an easier route and helps them cross the river safely. Not just him, everybody did a great job. This adventure showed how the teachers and the students, from three different schools, co-ordinated and worked together to safely cross a river. The team work was so so good. In the end, there were a few celebrations as nobody was injured, or even had a scratch on them.
This is a common problem for the people of Dolpo during the rainy season. This river flows through out the region and weak bridges, usually a log, are used to cross the river at different points. When its peak monsoon, the rain makes the river so big and wild that those feeble log bridges are swept away very easily. As a result no other alternatives remain but to take the risk and cross the wild river. Many animals are carried away by the rivers, and nearby water-mills are destroyed and many life-threatening accidents take place during this season.
-Hrishav Bhattarai, Fellow 2018