The Swaffham Crier Online

WI Notes

The speaker at our November meeting was Gabriele Reifenberg who, after retiring 16 years ago, fulfilled a long held ambition to live and work in the Himalayan region of Northern India. She was accepted on a project to teach English to a group of women in Leh, the main town in the region of Ladakh in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The town consisted of a group of mud brick houses and narrow lanes around the high street and Gabriele gave us a very vivid account of her experiences living and working in such a remote place at an altitude of around 12000 feet and with winter temperatures of minus forty degrees. We learned of the very basis farming methods employed to produce crops and the shortage of water and electricity. Despite the very harsh environment, Gabriele stayed for 2 years making many friends, joining in all the village activities, wearing tradition dress - some of which she brought along and modelled for us during her talk. We were fascinated by all she had to tell us and were not at all surprised to hear she has been back a further 12 times to teach a variety of children, monks, nuns and college students - although she did confess that she had avoided the winter on her subsequent visits. During her visit in 2010 Leh was badly affected by floods that swept through the region - this was completely unexpected as it was the first time this had ever happened in this area.

Sadly we also learned of the death of one of our member, Dorothy Blemmer. She will be greatly missed by everyone in our group.

December is our Christmas Party - so the next regular meeting will be on January 17th in the Village Hall when our speaker will be Jane Hipkin who will talk about the Royal School of Needlework.

Pat Cook - President

PS: Have you heard the music of the WI group the Melodies - their CD has recently been released and they have even appeared on television singing some of the tracks - great!