Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Greg has a few detours before reaching Korphe

Skardu had been a caravan stop on the trade route from Kargil to Central Asia. Since partition it had been stranded unprofitably in the wild edge of Pakistan, now reinvented as an outfitter to trekking expeditions. 

The LoC not only divided the Pahris and Kashmiris, it divided the Baltis, especially the Shia families of the Kargil and Skardu regions. - Indian express

On reaching Skardu Mortenson went to meet Mohammed Ali Changazi, a trekking agent and tour operator who had organised their K2 attempt. 'Dr. Greg' Chengazi said. 'What are you doing here? Trekking season is over.' 

Skardu:  view from the fort. ..Courtsey Wiki Commons
On Skardu Road.... Courtsey the www!
 Greg told Chengazi 'I have brought the school'. Earlier he had discussed the school and had obtained an estimate, but Chengazi had forgotten and was baffled. 'It is too late to build anything now. Why didn't you buy supplies in Skardu?'. Mortenson hadn't realized he could!.

Changazi  offered to store the material in his office and asked Greg to have a wash and rest. When Greg woke up, he was met by Akhmalu, the cook of their K2 attempt and was coerced to keep his promise to visit their village. While there Akhmalu tried to convince Greg to build the school at his village. Another porter reminded him that he had promised to build a climbing school. Even Changazi tried to entice Greg to build the school at his village. Unable to face this kind of pressure, Greg walked away from them and broke down crying. They  finally took him to Korphe when it was almost dark.

The whole village was there to receive Greg. While many had made promises, he was the only one to return. After the usual formalities of drinking tea, he announced to Haji Ali  'I have bought everything we need to build a school.' But Greg was unprepared for what Haji Ali told him in Balti, 'We want very much a school for Korphe. But before  we build a school, we must build a bridge. This is what Korphe wants now. A big stone one, so we can carry school to Kophe.'

We do get a feel for Greg's style of functioning! But it is still one school in one village that is on his mind! 

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