Living in Ladakh
We are Caitlin Thurrell and Jason Chandler, young teachers and farmers who want to undertake a journey to the remote, high altitude Himalayan desert of Ladakh. We want to be of service, and to learn; it's our intention to study farming practices and local living skills in communities there for the next two years. We plan to return to Maine together, build a home, and start school that teaches the skills of living in place! We need your help in funding our travel to and from Ladakh.
photo: E. V. DeCleyre (evdecleyre.wordpress.com)
Ladakhis are village people of the Himalaya renowned for their joy in life and deeply grounded culture, who have raised strong families and built soil with scarce water and resources for thousands of years. Most are practicing Tibetan Buddhists. Farming is a community affair: people of all ages work together; understandings and practices are continually renewed and passed down. With only four inches of annual rainfall, the resourceful people of Ladakh irrigate with glacial meltwater through ancient stone channels, the walls often carved with prayers. Sgnampe (roasted barley flour), tagi (wheat bread), paba (boiled bread of pea and barley flours), tsod ma (vegetables), thukpa (noodle soup), cha kante (butter tea), oma (milk), zho (yoghurt), and chuli (apricots) are standard fare.
We are fascinated by the culture and religion of this place, and we see three major opportunities for us:
- to learn effective, efficient, hand-powered farming practices that are rooted in deep, old relationships with the land
- to assist farmers who are practicing traditional methods of agriculture (now threatened by the curse of agricultural poisons and the mixed blessing of mechanization) that have sustained their people for thousands of years.
- to create cultural connections and build solidarity between rural people in Maine and Ladakh
To keep in touch with us, please visit our blog at
Living in Ladakh
We go to Ladakh to search out and be a part of joyful, earth-centered, life-renewing human communities. We thank you for your support in realizing our dream!
We will start at 1pm...storytelling, Ladakhi folk songs, cloth and metalwork and photos to peruse...then at 4pm we will start cooking Ladakhi food together and share an early evening meal. Please come for all or any part! If you come for the meal, bring vegetables you would put into a stew and we will make savory Ladakhi "skyu" with wheat thumb-print noodles! Parking is on the side of Ridge Road.
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you all again so much for your support; we promised a gathering and here it is! We so look forward to sharing with you.
Jason and Caitlin
p.s. If you can't make it, but want another gathering, we would be happy to host another one at a later date. Please let us know.
We are back in Maine, uprooted from the village and searching for where to continue our lives here in the land of the dawn. We are planning a gathering for you, our community of supporters, so stay tuned! When? Where? We will be in touch in September to invite you for a storytelling and skill share to happen this fall or winter. We eagerly look forward to seeing you all.
Jason & Caitlin
The season’s work is ending. For the last two months we have been bringing in the harvest, working every day for as many hours as the sun (and sometimes moon) would give us light. Now the fields are bare again. The grain is threshed and washed, drying on rooftops. Barley is being roasted, and grandfathers have begun the work of grinding flour in the village’s rantak, stone water mills.
Three frosts have come now to our home in the upper village, their patterns lying pale in the morning over apricots new-fallen in the orchard. By the stream the cold is yellowing the willows, turning the umbu orange, pink, and red, shrubs half-luminescent in westerning light as we walk home each day. And suddenly the days are different than they were. Suddenly we have time to look forward, out towards a quiet autumn and a silent winter.
We promised you research and we promised you a crafts workshop when we return, and it is about time for us to hear what you want, and what catches your interest. For research, what questions do you have about this place, its people, their traditions, their skills, and what is happening now? We are excited to engage with your curiosity and do our best to track down some answers for you. For crafts, what would you most like to learn to make?
In any case, we think of you often, and look forward to hearing from you all.
Jason and Caitlin