Part 2 of my travels in Baltistan, July 2012

Memoir By Hira Nabi
In the second part of her eye-opening memoir, Hira Nabi describes the lessons she learned in a co-ed “teaching garden” in the mountains of Baltistan

Up the garden path
I woke up every morning to melodious birdsong; there were no crows in Shigar. After getting ready and breakfasting in the garden on a stone bench under mulberry and plum trees, I would hoist my backpack on my shoulders and walk to school. On those July mornings, the 40-minute walk was beautiful. There was only one way to get to the school, which sits on Ashkoli Road, also otherwise known as the road to K2. Some days were sunny and brilliant, with clear blue skies and wafts of cloud floating high above. Acreage of planted fields lay next to the roads, with flourishes of mulberry, apricot, cypress and walnut. Jeeps and vans would periodically rush by, snorting out diesel exhaust fumes. I couldn’t have imagined walking on this road if it hadn’t been for the vegetation. There were other days that were cloudy, and mist would descend from mountain tops, rushing down like lava in its haste to enter the valley. Continue reading