Yes I’ve been back for a while, yes it’s been a while since I’ve written anything. It’s been a busy busy summer, but that doesn’t mean memories and stories stop buzzing around in my head. I found this experience one of the best ones in my year and a half away. Such an inspired way of being, the founder of Mountain Cleaners, Jodie Underhill came to India and saw what was wrong. Litter everywhere. But instead of just taking it in and letting it be, she’s actively doing something about it, and succeeding!
The Mountain Cleaners started off in McLeod Ganj, but even makes their way to Goa to clean the beaches there.
I came in contact with Jodie and the rest of inspiring team of Mountain Cleaners, like Tashi and her sister Meruka in McLeod Ganj. As Tom and me stayed their for almost a month, it was nice to do some things that had a bit of a routine to it. Like meditation every morning!
The Mountain Cleaners are everywhere around nearby villages Bhagsu and Dharamkot. And knowing some people that had already gone along, I wanted to go too! There’s several routes where they go to collect waste, around the fairly close waterfall, the Guna Devi temple and the furthest hike is up to Triund. Guess which one we took!
It was amazing, and so nice to go up with a group of instant friends. You’re all there for the same reason, to help out, but it doesn’t feel that way because you’re all chatting along, there’s no pressure, it just seems natural that you pick up any litter you see.
As we, the volunteers, carry the litter up, every week the litter is collected by a couple of men with donkeys, which we came across as well! It was nice to see it actually being done. All in all the atmosphere was as great as the initiative. After a pretty long day, we were all rewarded with an amazing view from Triund, a lovely curry and great stories to swap by the campfire.
The next day a select few chose to hike up another hour and a half to the snowline, where it was freezing. I didn’t count on that at all, even though I knew there would be snow there… On the way back, Tom and me got lost but also found, which was quite the adventure and then, returning to the group it was time to start the hike down.
I had a brilliant time with the Mountain Cleaners! A day later we all went to dinner together and had pizza, and most people stayed around for a while which meant lots of chai, chatting and laughter. They are some of my favourite people I met along the way, because they all share this belief. They believe they can help and they do!! Thanks everybody for an amazing experience!