The ladies in their brightly coloured clothes, laughed a lot whilst performing their task of getting me clean. Not an easy task by anyone’s standards. I was covered in sores and scabs as I had feared, but now I could see them. I quickly realized the ladies were not laughing at me, but rather that they were a very happy people by nature and laughter came easily to them. It was soothing to hear. I was happy for any human noise or contact of any kind.
After the bathing came the lotions. One lovely soothing one I guessed was made from Goat’s milk, it had a slight smell of the milk (fortunately not the goat itself) and had a wonderful effect on my poor sore, encrusted skin. I felt human again and I was being treated like a one too.
My eyes became more accustomed to the light, even though I still winced in bright sunlight, but in the diffused light of the tent my eyes could see without hurting.
I was fed lots of food. Whilst in my dungeon I had dreamed of food. I had even tasted it in my dreams, only to wake to the gnarling pains in my stomach and more tears of desperation.
Now, when there was food aplenty, and wonderful delicious smells permeating everywhere, I found I could eat only very small portions before nausea overcame me, and I had to resist further attempts. I did, however, manage to keep down the Goat and Sheep’s milk and the butter tea. The first time I was given butter tea I threw it straight back up again, no way could my undernourished and starved stomach take that. Later I got to like it, and as it is almost the stable diet of all Tibetans it was just as well. Of course they ate other things, vegetables and meat, but always the inevitable butter tea.
I had been told before my assignment that the people were fighting because no one would share their food. They cannot have met up with my tribe, they were very hospitable. I started to think that was perhaps an unlikely reason for the war and there must be another, deeper reason for the conflict..
I was given a bed in a corner of the tent which housed around seven of the other ladies of the camp. They made me feel very much a part of them and treated me very well. I felt safe and protected. The safest I had felt in a long long time. How long I had no way of knowing at that time. I couldn’t even ask my rescuers the date. I would dearly have loved to talk with them.
We travelled for several days, ever upwards. At first it was a gentle climb through trees and forests. The higher we climbed the steeper and colder it became. This coldness had been something of a relief to me because I was suffering badly from the heat.
They gave me warmer clothes to wear and they themselves donned several layers on top of what they were already wearing. I soon became glad of the extra clothing as we came to the snows.
I had absolutely no idea where we were or where we were going. I did however, know we were going further and further away from the civilization I knew and understood, and that we were heading for the far distant high snow covered mountains.