I had this in my mind how to write a memoir? I mean you can sum up a journey or learning’s or something which is a take away. But it is always difficult to bind a lifetime experience in words.
The inception of Jumla trip came in my mind as a zeal or mystery. I felt like I am going to hunt some hidden treasures up there. Definitely I was not aware of what I was going to encounter. The courage, strength, understanding and experience earned by me in this trip are unique.
I went to Jumla on five days trip with a team of experts from a European company and a local supplier of medicinal plants as guide. Obviously, the supplier was resident of the district. We went till Karote Patan (Top of Mountain is called Patan) of Tamti V.D.C (Village Development Committee) in Jumla and believe me, it was breath taking. We were fortunate as the night we stayed at Patan there was a snowfall. It was amazing. We woke up in the morning and all surrounding mountain’s peak were filled with snow. It also brought smile on the faces of Cordyceps collectors. They said now they will find more of them once the deposited snow melts.
Honestly, my heart belongs to medicinal plants. It has the divinity to keep me gripped more than anything on Earth. For first time in my life, I saw the difference it makes in local livelihoods dwelling in these difficult areas. They spend days in search, collection and processing of these products at height of 5000 m approx (as per our guide).
We walked for 9 hours to reach Patan and our feet inside shoes was about to burst in pieces. We were so exhausted that we felt nearly stoned. I was even wondering my pose if I become statue. Even in this pain, when I saw around me, felt so blessed.
There were local folks of Jumla walking in flip-flops/slippers on the same roads. They reside in the Patan where I almost felt suffocated due to lack of oxygen, then, they walk miles every day for collection of medicinal plant to sustain their living. No doubt it is paradise for any professional working in medicinal plants. We saw Cordyceps insect alive, Rhubarb plant, collected Cordyceps sinensis and many more.
I saw them and could feel their plight for living. Even the glimpse of their difficulty was ripping me apart. They are also part of same country I live. They are living in one of the most wonderful part of country which resonates danger every day. The rocks, the resources, the treasures of mother nature can be utilized in better way to make their life more blissful or at least easy comparatively. I felt it has potential for study tourism, tourism and hydropower which if started will give empowerment to the locals.
At present, they walk miles on extremely difficult roads to collect Medicinal plants/Cordyceps/Morels etc for their alternative income. They collect the commodities for local collectors like our guide as per the collection permit they have. The money they make is also dependent on the collectors only. People walk or take horses to Patan and afterwards they have to walk for more height. The money they make from this hardship is not very commendable still it makes difference for them.