Monday, 16 June 2014

Relaxing into village life and a mysterious sticker thief

PROJECT: Teaching, living with a host family
WRITTEN BY: Jack Murphy

So another fortnight has passed in stunning Nepal – Man its flying past – and with it comes a whole load of new experiences/adventures/stories to share. This past week has seen the group and I hit relax mode, as we take a break from our adrenalin dosed adventures. Instead we’ve put more focus into our time in the village, school and our weekends in crazy Kathmandu, which means more 'browniccinos' and 35 rupee choc donuts – Yum!

This week has unfortunately seen the group suffer a minor heartbreak as our much-loved Nurse (Steph) returned home. The start of the week was a little quiet/slow without the happy, selfie- taking and general quirkiness of our older Aussie. We’ll miss you Steph! The girls are very much looking forward to a meet up post Nepal back in Brissy.

P.s thanks for introducing me to hippie pants and Sangria, I’m a changed man.

So it seems that when our time is not taken up by jumping off high places or bonding with elephants it is replaced with teaching and more immersion in our lovely village. These past two weeks have been a real teaching trek for the group and I, and only now are we enjoying our brief respite in Kathmandu. Teaching still remains the most regular challenge for the group, and at the conclusion of each day the group all discusses which students were; the naughtiest, the best behaved and the continuing mystery of the disappearing stickers. The culprit is yet to be caught. However for me at least, school this past fortnight has been more enjoyable then it was previous, as I feel now I’m forming strong bonds with all of my students and the very charming kindergarten class. Activities these past two weeks have been more focused on the fun side of schooling mainly because of our dwindling time left in the village and also because text book work is boring. Each school day has been full of colorful drawings, shoulder rides, portrait photos with my sunglasses on, trips to the newly discovered library and lunch time boot camp, directed by the commando (me).

As if school life wasn’t fun enough this week I was also lucky enough to trek down the hill to Liv and Bear’s school for a lunchtime of play with the kids. Seeing as though this is only my second visit to their school, being two meters tall, as well as it happening to have 285 more students then my school, I was let’s say, slightly shocked by the greeting I got. Safe to say in all my 18 years I have never felt so popular. The lunch hour saw me being dragged from student to student, nagged incessantly for shoulder rides and piggy backs as well as lots and lots of high fives and various games. Come Friday I am now blessed to have a full 285 more ‘best friends’ – as they all insisted.

Apart from the aching shoulder and back, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face for the rest of the day, and I left feeling very cheerful. As schooling becomes more of a delight and less of a chore I’m painfully aware of the short time left before I have to say goodbye to my new found friends. I guess I’ll just have to squeeze as much enjoyment out of this next week and a half as I can before our reluctant farewell.

In other important school news, this past fortnight has seen the first of our donation money being put to good use. At Casper and Liv’s school the paving is underway to cover the dirt courtyard of the school, to make way for a better play area for the kids. At our school, the first of the painting has commenced with white undercoats painted throughout the grey concrete rooms. With the painting comes the difficult choice of choosing the colors for each classroom. So far the consensus from my students is to paint the entire classroom purple, floor, roof, windows, the lot. Hmm maybe. Once we’ve made up our minds and everything is painted beautifully by the three new Nepali Da Vincis we’ll upload some photos to show off our handiwork.

With all the demands teaching brings, our families have stepped up a notch to provide the TLC that we are all so thankful for at the end of each day. And what is the most important feature of our Nepali TLC? Food of course. This week we have been treated with Dhindo, delicious delicious fire cooked Roti, some tasty variants on the standard Dhal Bhat, dozens of delicious plums as the monsoon season kicks off and home brewed Nepali rice wine. The latter being made just up the road in a used mountain dew bottle. Expectation – Japanese premium sake, reality – sour, porridge like moonshine. But for 35 rupees (40 cents) a liter whose complaining? The Nepali hospitality was completed this week with a trip to Nagarkot again for a night of camping, toasted marshmallows and a very in depth talk with our favorite restaurant/shack owner PJ. The perfect afternoon getaway for a six day long teaching week. Alas no Himalayan views, but with another trip planned next week hopefully we’ll have better luck then.

So that wraps up this fortnight and the coming weeks will see us bid a very reluctant farewell to our beautiful families, immerse ourselves in orphanage life in Kathmandu as well as time off in a much anticipated week in Pokhara – can’t wait! All this and more in the next blog.

So until then

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