Far, far away: How to thrive in a local village

The moment we arrived at our base camp, everyone sighed and rolled their eyes as we prepared ourselves for the long week to follow. On the 14th of October 2019, a group of 14 students from Grade 9 headed to Silkoti Danda, a small village about 3 hours away from school.

Over the week, we adjusted to the lifestyles of villagers and learned a lot from them. We listened to lectures about their local community, farming, and milking cows/buffaloes. 

The life of a Woodstock student is very different when compared to the life of a villager.

Here are important points to remember if you are an upcoming 9th grader:

Carry all your essentials: toilet paper, toothbrush, and toothpaste. It’s self-explanatory. I forgot to bring my hairbrush, and I was so mad at myself because I had to keep bothering my friend for her hairbrush.   

Always go to the bathroom with at least two people for safety reasons. I always went to the bathroom with two of my friends as it was safer than going alone, especially at night. It’s dark and slippery, which could lead to potentially injuring yourself. Also, carrying a torch is a must, and if you are a girl, go with one of the boys for safety. 

Wear something warm as it’s freezing at night. One of my friends wore only a thin jacket and at night. She froze every night. By the end of the week, her jacket was so dirty, I would recommend you to wear at least two jackets as it’s extremely cold at night, and in case your clothes get dirty, carry extra warm clothes. 

Bring cards so you don’t get bored. We get a lot of downtime. 

Make sure to expect simple yet wholesome food. They cook organic dal and rice for most meals. The vegetables are freshly picked from the farm.

Come up with fun, interesting games. You should be ready to open up with the cheerful kids from the local school.

Don’t carry tuck. We did, and trust me, it wasn’t fun getting caught. Our homeroom head was called, and we were yelled at endlessly. We were so scared that we’d get into trouble, we were worried throughout Quarter Break. Luckily, we didn’t get into much trouble, but we did get demerits, so don’t carry tuck. 

Don’t eat chillies when you go the farm as three people ate them and their throats clogged with their eyes watering. The chillies were extremely spicy, and when we ate them, we almost died. Trust us, it wasn’t fun at all. None of us had water, and so to control the spice level, we had to eat cucumbers. 

Don’t carry unnecessary things since you need to walk for 10 minutes to reach the base camp, and you are supposed to carry your own backpacks -– no-one is going to carry it for you. Carrying unnecessary things (especially tuck) will make your bag heavier and make your life harder. It’s a good idea to just follow the packing list.


Sanaya Mehta and Tanvi Garg (staff reporters) contributed to this article

Photos courtesy of Ms. Binu Thomas 

Edited by Jinho Yoon

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