The village of Yulchung
Youlchung is a scattered settlement at 4,000 metres above sea level in the north Indian Himalayas. Geographically, it is situated between the Indus Valley and Zanskar.
Twelve families with an average of three children each live in this mountain village. During six months a year the village is cut off from the outside world. This small mountain village is only accessible during the summer over the recently built road. Even with a pick-up, driving is hard however, as a great deal of the route consists of a dirt track sown with potholes.
About everyday life in Youlchung and in the Senge La area
Most people in the Senge La area are farmers and live in villages in valleys that lie at a considerable distance from each other. Cultivation of the fields is only possible in the time between May and September. Above all, the farmers grow wheat and barley. In their vegetable gardens they harvest peas, cabbage, carrots, chard and leek and store the produce for the long and hard winter.
Up to now, the electricity supply in the area of Singe La has either been non-existent or very poor. Since the building of the new solar plant above the village of Yulchung which was finished in October 2015, the surrounding villages have been supplied with electricity in the evening for approximately three hours. Every house taps power directly from the overhead line. In the houses, there are at the moment still no switches and switching on and off is controlled centrally.
In the village itself, there are neither fixed telephone connections nor a network for mobile phones. Disket Dolma was chosen to be the speaker for the Women’s Cooperative. She gives any news to the taxi driver who shuttles between Leh and Yulchung who then passes on the information to Lobzang. He is my direct contact partner. This is how we communicate with each other during the summer months.