That means, he is still in the process of learning about different subjects like Buddhism, History and others. During our visits to the big monasteries he always tried to find somebody who took us around and explained some important aspects of the site. That was not only helpful but also interesting.
Chonkorjia’s birthplace is a small Golok-village 70 to 80 km south of Amnye Machen. As a native of the region he is quite familiar with the trekking route around the mountain (which he did five times until now) as well as with the customs, traditions and beliefs of the local people. Therefore, he was able to give us an insight view of the life, work and culture of the nomads in this area and made it possible to get in contact with them.
Quite harder for him was the task to play his part as guide and to help me in the process of decision-making and organizing. Because of the age-difference between him (he is only 22) and the crew and his lack of experience he considered himself as inferior and felt obliged to consult the elders before telling his own opinion. From the point of social-hierarchical rules this behaviour is very well understandable, but from the point of the necessity to look for the well-being of a whole group and to make carefully considered but clear decisions it is rather difficult to deal with.
I do hope, that travelling with our group gave him new experiences and insights in the complex duties of a guide which he might successfully use in the future. At the same time I would like to thank him for his patience and friendliness and for all the ways he found in completing his own abilities through other means.
Names: Cao, Huo, Qi, He
All of the four drivers did their job very well. They followed a clearly defined hierarchy in driving and looked after each other so that none of them fell behind.
Mister Cao, the driver of car number one, has to be specially mentioned. He was not only familiar with all the routes and crossroads on the way but also very helpful in finding good places to eat, in ordering the food in the restaurants and in buying things for pic-nic-lunch.
I would like to thank him again very much!
One of the most important thing during a several days trekking is the food. It strengthens the physical well-being and the moral of the people.
Luckily enough, our cook was excellent. He did the best what he could from the relatively sparse food and cooking equipment which he had on disposal. He was willing to make small changes in the meals and took care a lot of our well-being. Nobody fell ill because of the food or the water. Only assisted by one young helper his work was quite a challenge. According to my wish he had to get up early in the morning and he was the last who went to sleep in the evening.
Beyond his duty as cook he helped the yak men looking after the animals and the luggage during day-time
My special thank belongs to him.
Name of the Head-Yakman: Norbu
To sum up, all of the yakmen did a good job. What I appreciate most is that they were never late. They usually catched up with us shortly before lunch-time, went on and were on the way putting the tents as we reached the camp. They were also very helpful in crossing the big rivers and in carrying camera- and backbags.
The few discussions we’ve had concerned the choose of the camping place, the daily walking distance and the taking care of the animals and pieces of luggage.
Responsibility: Aku Sopak
I would like to thank Aku Sopak for all the trekking-preparations ready-made for us. He even wrote a menu for all the morning, lunch and evening meals during the trip. For dinner it included noodles or rice, some meat or sausages, a mix of different kinds of vegetables and water melon.
Aku Sopak even accompanied our group to the first camping place in order to make sure, that everything is ok.
-Morning tea: Because of the altitude and the special climatic circumstances the throats become dry when sleeping. To be waked-up with a cup of tea (or hot water) before breakfast is therefore very comfortable and makes ist easier to start the day. I know that serving morning tea is not yet established as a custom during the Amnye Machen Trekking. I asked the cook, and he was willing do fulfill my wish together with his helper.
-Starting time: It was suggested to me to have breakfast at nine and start at ten o’clock. According to my experiences this is too late. In case of long walking-distances, bad weather conditions, the weakness of a group member and other unforeseenable situations the camping places would be reached too late. It would not be possible to stop longer at interesting sites or places with a nice view and it would be unavoidable to walk during the hotest hours of the day.
So, I decided to have breakfast between seven-thirty and eight o’clock and start between eight-thirty and nine. I know that this moving up of time means less resting time for the crew (especially the cook) but it turned out to be good and reasonable for everybody.
At last, I would again give my thanks to Mister Hua Qing, Mister Aku Sopak, Chonkorjia and to every member of our local crew for contributing to this unforgettable trekking full of new experiences and impressions.
12. 08. 2013 Martina Wernsdörfer