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This post is dedicated to Sonam, the nephew of the Guest Housekeepers where we stayed. He is hardworking, sweet and grounded. Sometimes I catch him singing to himself, a beautiful and moving Ladakhi tune. Sonam is fourteen years old, but due to either malnutrition or genetics, he is a short boy. This does not stop his carrying large pieces of baggage however. His smile speaks of wisdom long past his years, but it takes a little trust to reveal it. Some of the members of our group enjoy playing hackey-sack – the game where you stand in a circle and attempt to keep a little beanbag off the ground, without using your hands (feet, head, knees are allowed). Sonam would join us at this game when he had the chance and he began to bond with several members of the pilgrimage.
Sonam asked me the name of my village and then he asked how much snow my village got. He is very sweet, if naive, but his English is very good. Every once in a while, in the midst of his chores, he would timidly come into our room and test out some of his English on whoever was present. He tried to teach us some Ladakhi – “matahpo means beautiful?” I wish him well in his Ladakhi life. Perhaps we will meet again.
When the other members of the pilgrimage headed back, I stuck around for a few days. I hung out with some Tibetans, visited a couple of sites and did some good reading. I will post more on this later. But Sonam was distraught when his new-found friends left and then when I had to say goodbye he was visibly sad. New friends will arrive, I know it! By the way, if anyone reads this and goes to stay at the Kidar Guest House, say hello to Sonam for me if you see him.