War  |  Memory  |  Gratitude

Opening of the KET hostel at Pangsha

They left Kohima on Wednesday 5 March, 2 days after the Scholarship presentations with Dr Ngully, the KES chairman and Salie, the KES office manager. They travelled in two 4x4 Boleros driven by Ravi and Viky and the two-day journey over very rough roads included an overnight stop at Mokokchung. There was also a second stop over at a Power Department guest house a few kilometres short of Pangsha.

On arrival at the hostel on the morning of 7 March, adjacent to the Straightway Mission School, we received a wonderful welcome by some 220 school children and a lesser number of village elders, pastors, school and government officials. 

After a brief ribbon cutting ceremony by Hugh there followed prayers by the three village and International Trade Centre (ITC) pastors and welcoming speeches by the leaders of the three village councils, Mr  M Haimong (Old Pangsha), Mr P Shingnya (New Pangsha) and Mr Puthen (Dan Village). Mr Shimtong, a very colourful village elder of New Pangsha, also spoke and presentations of shawls and Naga daggers were made by Mr Shingnya to Dr Ngully, Salie, Hugh, Anne, the two drivers and a government representative (whose name I failed to record). 

Hugh then presented framed pictures of Kohima veterans to the three village chiefs and to mark the inauguration KET presented a bell to hang from the veranda of the school and a plaque, now fixed to the wall of the school, which records details of the occasion.

Finally, it was the turn of the school children to recite Psalm 23 and sing a hymn  before "grace before the feast" by the Old Pangsha pastor. This signalled the start of the inauguration feast which included pork, chicken and fish from the local river – delicious and thoroughly enjoyed by all – especially the children, whose classrooms were later visited.

This was a thoroughly memorable occasion which Hugh and Anne felt highly privileged to have experienced and in which to have participated.  The reception and attitude of the villagers and children left them both with a very warm feeling that this facility is not only exceedingly useful, but very much appreciated. No doubt the hostel and Pangsha will be of great benefit and will be carefully looked after for many years to come.

Hugh Young, April 2014

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