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India Expedition 2014
Posted On: 16/10/14
In July 2014, after an 18 month lead in, myself and Mary Wilcox led 11 students on a 28 day trip of a life time. The aim of the trip was to build a green house high up in the Himachal Pradesh in a tiny village of Kakti, 4300mtr and a 6 day expedition into the mountains in search of the Himalayan Wolf and Snow Leopard.
On arrival in Dehli the we were faced with searing temperatures of 35- 45c and another 28 hours of journeying by bus and 4x drive vehicles before reaching their destination of the Spiti Valley, which is close to the Tibetan border. On arrival in Kaza we had to spend a couple of days acclimatising to avoid altitude sickness. The following 12 days they would be camping without sanitation other then soil toilets and buckets of water.
We were working with a charity called Ecospheres Spiti Valley. The greenhouse was built from only the materials surrounding us, other than the plastic sheeting. Everything had to be dug out of the desert landscape, bricks we made from mud water and straw (all 400 of them). This was certainly hard labour at an altitude over 400 metres. After 5 days after the basic frame was completed we had to leave it to dry in the baking sun.
The team went on a trek for the next 6 days. We trekked through and over some of the most stunning scenery in the world, rarely seen by westerners. The pictures tell the story. 8 days later we returned to the project for completion. The frame had to be lined with the 400 bricks, straw was added as insulation between the layers and whole thing was plastered with a liquid mud plaster, very mucky job. Finally the plastic sheeting was added to complete the job. The family and charity put together a very moving opening ceremony and it became very clear what a massive impact we were making on the quality of their lives. The first seeds were planted by the students. It was an emotional day for all the students when it came to leaving and the family were sad to see us leave, especially their children.
3 days later we were back in Delhi. We planned for our final couple of days to travel to Agra and visit the Taj Mahal and to have a look at Delhi. We were all exhausted by the time we returned home but all very proud and moved at what we had achieved. We will never forget the experience.
India expedition 2014 account written by expedition leader, Kim Henson.