Community inquiry in Dalchoki


Himalayas to the north, past the Kathmandu Valley

It’s highly unlikely that you would just happen upon Dalchoki, given that it’s two hours from Kathmandu by jeep up narrow mountain roads, which are dirt surface with ruts and random rock from landslides. If you did, you might wonder what was there. You wouldn’t see an industrial center or a tourist destination.

Despite that, I had one of the warmest and most satisfying few days in Dalchoki that I’ve ever experienced. As part of our progressive education workshop we engaged in community inquiry with the residents.


Planning our visit in the Dalchoki Rising Homestay

From Dalchoki, some views are “blocked” by beautiful green hills, but to the south you can see the Terai plains leading to Ganges basin and India; to the northwest there’s a good view of Manaslu (26,781 ft) at the eastern end of the Annapurna Massif; to the north is the Kathmandu Valley; beyond that, the Langtang Himal, with 13 peaks above 18,000 ft; and to east, Sagarmāthā (Everest).

There’s far more than can be included in one blog post. But just to give a sense of what we did, I could talk about the milk collection center. We wanted to meet with people in the village, and knew that they would bring their milk to the center for weighing and testing.


Talking with people in the village

At our time there, we saw the head of the village development committee, and many ordinary farmers. We also talked with the staff in the center. They told us about weighing the milk, adding sulfuric acid which reacts with the non-gay portions of the milk, centrifuging, and then assessing fat content.

One aspect of the discussion was whether this process could become part of the school curriculum, in place of some of the Western content that seems so strikingly inappropriate here. Another was whether there were ways to add value to milk or other agricultural produce to improve the economic condition of the village. That challenge itself could become part of the curriculum. We continued this discussion with teachers at the school the next day,

On a personal level, I had a kind of peak experience, enjoying the incredible views, the warmth of our team of eight, our hosts for the stay, and people in the village. Whether eating delicious, traditional mountain village food, 100% organic, telling stories and laughing by the fire, playing cards, or debating views of education there was an intense feeling of family and community.

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