This winter, my kids have spent almost a month in their mother’s village in Sibsoo observing and enjoying a unique kind of life which they had not seen in the towns. After they came back on 29th January 2016, I asked them to share their experiences of being in the village. To my amazement, they have many good things to share. I am glad to learn that they were able to help their grandparents a lot during their short stay.
My youngest son, aged 6, and the eldest son, aged 10 have mostly enjoyed herding cattle, goats and sheep during the day. They say it was fun running after the animals, calling them by their names and watching them graze. My youngest son has even noticed different physical features of different animals: their horns, tails, colors and their general behaviors. Since they were not so accustomed to walking in rough and steep slopes, my wife says they often fell down lightly injuring themselves whenever they tried to run fast, but soon it seems they could adapt to the environment. They have also seen an eagle for the first time in their life circling high up in the sky and had learned from their friends how it kills fowls. My youngest son has also enjoyed feeding the goats, sheep and chickens. More importantly, he has seen how chicks hatch out of eggs. To me, all these were part of their life-long learning.
My eldest son and my daughter had also volunteered to carry bricks from the nearest feeder-road head for the construction of the ancestral house but unlike other experiences, they had not enjoyed it. But I am sure it could have helped them realize the harsh reality of village life as well. The good part of this ordeal was that my daughter had got Nu.500 and my eldest son had got Nu.200 at the end for carrying the bricks. Witnessing the heavy hailstorm that even stripped off leaves and branches from the trees and smashed the vegetables in the garden was another unusual experience my kids have gone through. They still question me how hailstones are formed in the sky. So although they have missed their gadgets and television badly, I know they have had a meaningful vacation in the village. They may not realize it right now, but I am sure those experiences would go a long way in shaping their life in the future. The final good outcome of this vacation is that my youngest son Rigden who would never eat vegetables and meat has started taking all types of curry in the village. Before, he would always take either fried rice or plain rice with papad, and would puke if we ever forced him to take curry. But now he has started eating spinach curry, eggs and potatoes. We are encouraging him more to take other vegetables as well. This is one good habit he has learned from his peers in the village. My eldest son Thukten had also first learned to take vegetables in the village because kids there take whatever they are served, unlike those kids in the towns. I hope they would continue to explore and learn new things every time we take them to the village.