Friday, 13 November 2015

India adventure—the 21st country I have visited (4)

Site visit

I was supposed to go to Moosakhiah village for the site visit on the 4th day. But I do not know, from the list on the hotel, I was moved to Laitsohpliah village, the same a s Jonas. Well, as Laitsohpliah is closer than Moosakhiah, I would prefer to go to Laitsohpliah. I don’t want to get lost too far away. I wanted to get back to the hotel soon as I have to prepare presentation for the last day as well. So, without confirming to anyone, I went to Laitsohpliah.
On the way to Laitsohpliah

Laitsohpliah is located about 35km to the south of Shillong. It took about 1,5 hour to get there, not to forget of getting a bit lost in the beginning of our journey. Arriving at Laitsohpliah, we were welcome with a piece of Kwai, a lot of varieties of tubers, and tea in a bamboo glass as a welcome drink. And then we went by bus to the other side of village. From there we walked back to the village. Bayona, a native girl from Laitsohpliah guided the way and explained a lot about her village. She speaks very good English since she worked in Shillong and took a computer course. She told me that it would have only taken about 10-15 minutes to walk back to the village. Fifteen minutes of walking, I have not seen any sign or sound of the village. Thirty minutes, she said “we are just going to arrive”. And yes, it took 40 minutes in total to get to the village. Jonas has been back by bus to the village. Anyhow, I enjoyed the walk as she is very friendly and open. She showed me her aunty home, the pig cage, and many more. In the middle of our way, we found a little-but-very-poisonous snake with a yellow strip on its neck!

As I copied and pasted from the pdf file about Laitsohpliah:
“The people of Laitsopliah are mostly farmers, like their ancestors who first inhabited the village. They grow shriew (yam), sohkhia (cucumber), neilieh (sesame), phankaro (sweet potato), jaing (leafy vegetable), sohphlang (tuber), phan saw (red potato) , riewhadem (maize) and other local plants in their jhum, or shifting cultivation, fields. They take pride in preparing phan saw served with fermented dry fish and local chicken cooked with pepper – both dishes visitors must try.”

Yes! We tried all of them. Their sweet potato is very sweet, as sweet as their smile. The local chicken soup just brought my memory away back to my childhood, to the time when I visited my grandparent's home and my grandfather slaughtered a chicken to welcome me, their grandchildren. I felt so special. I could taste the chicken were running happily and it’s happy to be eaten. I am emotionally happy and felt accepted. More over when I tried to learn a little bit of their language, Kashi, and speak to the children. Just to ask “what is your name?” = “kyrteng kumno?”. I can see the children’s eyes become bigger and happily answered my question and shake my hand. “Kyrteng jonga Dwi” = my name is Dwi. Kublei shibuun = Thank you very much.
Jajan teh di perjalanan menuju Laitsohpliah. Penjualnya cantik euy!

Mau menuju ke desa Laitsohpliah dengan berjalan kaki

Do you see the snake?



Free little goats and chicken

Indigenous people from Laitsohpliah

Bayona and family

Macam-macam lalapan yang baru pertama kali aku coba

Traditional dance

Laitsohpliah kids

Decoration how they welcome us

Tea in bamboo glass

Tubers varieties
Lunch at the village. The chicken soup is very tasty!

They showed us their traditional song sang by the children, how to do archery, and their traditional dance. The traditional dance was quite long with a monotone movement. In the end, we joined them dancing. Eventhough it is a monotone movement, it was not as easy as I thought because we have to walk around with a very little step by step. Bayona and her sister danced with me and swang my scarf together. Thank you very much, Bayona and family. Thank you for the food, your generosity, thank you for your time of preparing and welcoming us, thank you for showing us the beauty of differences, and thank you for everything I felt. I feel very grateful to have this experience.

More information about Laitsohpliah, please visit the link here

Snapshot - The next day, we heard news that one of two buses that went to Moosakhiah got an accident. The driver drove very fast but luckily he could manage to hit the bus to the other side of the cliff and flipped over. One person got injured and were brought to the hospital, while the others were physically safe and went back to the hotel. Thank God that I decided to go to Laitsohpliah!

The food festival in Mawphlang - Epic ending

This is the last day of the event. There was a food festival in Mawphlang, next to the sacred forest. It is only 25 km from Shillong, but of course we got lost again to get there. The food festival consisted of 39 food stalls, stalls to show their agricultural biodiversity, visit to sacred forest, Theater of taste, and many more.

Before presentation in Theater of Taste
Amazing view from the second stage
I gave a very short presentation about what I am doing related to NFL, after Jonas gave presentation about NFL. That short talk was at the Theater of taste stage that is located in the corner of the venue, behind food stalls, facing the beautifully enchanted hills view. For me it’s just amazing place, but the participants. We supposed to present at 13.20, but until 14.30 there were no more participants so that we just went on the show and had a very late lunch. It was good that I took my gastric pill. Just the time we finished our presentation, the food festival had been very crowded like really crowded. There were toooooo many options that we were overwhelmingly confused to choose. So, I just bought a rice with dried fished cooked with vegetable. It costed 80 INR. It is not very tasty but at least it could prop my stomach-ache. I tried a local sorghum pancake with local honey and scrambled egg as well. It costed 100 INR. We were given 600 INR to shop at food festival. So, I bought honey, yellow eri silk scarf (I used my own money for this), and some mandarins.

Food stalls

Being grateful of today and a bit relax watching sun set

The food festival ended at 17.30. We walked to the parking lot with thousands of people, finally we reached our bus. The bus was fully seated in just 10 minutes, but as usual, we had to wait. We had to wait for something we do not know. I can understand that the parking lot was kinda full, it would take time to get out of there. But we have waited for more than 2 hours, and the parking lot was almost empty, and the driver had not yet showed his nose. All the people were very tired, both physically and emotionally. They started to be angry. Some people shouted, some other hit the car many times, some other honked the bell, and other people in other bus just got the same insanity. It was chaos. I tried to be calm, sitting on my seat, be quiet, inhaled slowly, dzikr, exhaled slowly, recording the chaos. Jonas came back from nowhere, brought me a bottle of water (owh, thank you, friend!). But then he started to get angry to angry people from Africa. Damn!! Even a calm guy as Jonas got angry to angry people. This is crazy! I pulled his hand back to his seat without any word! Enough! He knew what I meant and be quiet.

What a nice ending ha?! Fortunately, we got dinner in our “hotel”. That would’ve boosted a bit of my mood anyway.