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A visit to the villages in the valley in Kedernath

January 20, 2014 - 10:37
A visit to the villages in the valley in Kedernath

My guide to this valley has been Sudheer. Our task, to find the 34 villages adopted by Amma, meet or at least get name and mobile, of the village mayors (pratans), school officials, and especially kindergarten (anganwadi) teachers. That is not as easy as it may sound. Most villages are reached by steep, winding foot paths to the furthest places possible up or down from a road.

The damage on the hillsides is less  visible than in the valley, but very wide spread. As we climb, people stop us to show houses cracked as the earth settled weeks after the flood. Often they are still living in part of an unsafe house on unstable ground. What are they to do? Were can they safely rebuild? We passed one slide so small I would never have noticed it until I found it had killed four and wiped out 10 or more homes.

We visited Longoli, one of several “widows villages”. No damage here, but 38 men were killed in Kedernath while at their jobs as guides, porters, and shopkeepers.

This is a woman who lost both her husband and son at Kedarnath. With her is her daughter in law, a widow after just 15 days of marriage.

These are all of the children from a single school who’s fathers died there. It will take the long term commitment to education, vocation, and life enrichment programs that Amma is providing to guide these children past the trauma they have experienced.

– Scotti

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