Due to the heavy rains falling all over Pakistan, this year's Thatta Kedona summer school was more adventurous than usual. Monika Kuppler (handicrafts teacher) left Thatta Ghulamka Dhiroka together with her students (Shama Bibi, Razia, Nazia and Shazia Sarfraz, Sughira Rafiq and Rahina Perveen) on July 19, 2010 to meet me [Sophie Kuppler, the English teacher] in Islamabad and then continue their travel up North to Gupis.
Short of Gupis, the travel was interrupted for two days due to landslides blocking the road. As clearance work took much longer than expected, we decided to leave some baggage behind and walk across the landslides.
Arriving in Gupis, classes stated. Our daily walks through the surrounding scenic areas helped to get in contact with local women, who would invite us into their houses for tea, delicious local bread and homemade apple jam. Some would even send apricots and apples to us at place where we were staying. This interaction gave us a chance to compare local handicrafts work with work from women art center Thatta Ghulamka Dhiroka.
Our days at Gupis were thus filled with studying, cooking, doing handicrafts, and playing educational games for repeating the vocabulary learned. The students were learning very fast and all were enjoying the beautiful scenery and hospitality of the local people.
A few days after the rain had started the bridge in Gupis broke and all supplies were cut off. Fortunately, the owner of the guesthouse, where we stayed, had warned us early enough for us to be able to buy enough food for the coming days. Our worries about how to travel back were quickly dispersed: the local people had built a new wooden-bridge within two days.
Once it was possible to travel again we left Gupis for Gilgit, again only taking what we could carry as the streets were broken in many places and our journey had to be continued on foot.
Once in Gilgit, we were stuck for four days as the Karakorum Highway was blocked and flights could not operate due to bad weather. During this time we continued with the English classes and handicrafts work. Finally, the road through Naran valley was re-opened and two jeeps brought us safely across Babusar pass for our onward travel to Islamabad.
Despite the challenges all had learned a lot and were very happy. We would like to thank all those, who made this year's summer school possible and enjoyable and who helped us to get safely back to our respective homes. These are especially: Lions Club Heilbronn, Mrs Gabi Fröhlich, Mr. Shah Wali (Explore Pakistan), Mr Dildar, the hotel staff in Gilgit and all our drivers. [Also here]
Related: Summer Camp 2008
Related: Summer Camp 2008