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NEPAL | Sunday, 24 July 2016 | Views [359]

It has been a week and a half since my last post and since then my time in Nepal has been crazy, tiring and rewarding. I've had a rat run over my hand, been given bracelets as a gift but to only turn out that they symbolise marriage (they told me to wear it for the rest of the month for religious reasons). So for the rest of my trip I am a married white women with a Nepalese husband. I've taught five English lessons to 40-50 children in one class, been nearly run over by a cow, been squished in the local bus (or van I should say) with 15 other people, attended teachers day at a private school and been wolf whistled by a whole class of teenage boys. Also beware of the awful grammar in this, the rice is messing with my brain.

For the past week I have been helping to teach English at a local school. The school is a government run school, meaning it is free for students to attend. There are around 800 children and only about 12-15 classrooms. This school is completely run down, with uneven ground, no windows and broken tables. The teachers are poorly paid and work six days a week. Arriving to the school I was the centre of attention, every person was looking at me like they had never seen a white person before. Students would come past the staff room just to point and look at me and I absolutely hated it. The first couple of days I was just watching the teachers and helping where I could. This was pretty difficult as most of the students were to busy looking at me instead of the teacher.

The students are put into classes based on their academic level. Some classes have 16 year olds and 12 year olds mixed together. The English that is taught is very poor. The words in the textbooks are spelt wrong and the questions that are asked do not make any sense. The teachers hardly communicate with me, so planning lessons is super difficult. For most classes I have been using my iPad to show pictures of Australia. The children absolutely loved the iPad and went crazy whenever they saw it. I also used photos I had printed out before I came. They loved seeing photos of my family. Some of the children from the orphanage are my classes and have already seen my family photos. When the other classmates point and say who is that, the children from the orphanage reply with ' That's Linda' or 'That's Tess'-it is the cutest thing in the world. While watching the classes I noticed that the teachers hardly put in any effort-this is probably because they are poorly paid. The children fell asleep in class, drew on the walls and barely listened to what the teacher was saying.

On Tuesday it was Teachers day in Nepal. The family and I visited a private school as the dad is a teacher there. The school has an art gallery, music room and lots of classrooms. The first thing I noticed was how well behaved the students were, it was completely different to the government school. In comparison, it is sad to see the little opportunities they have in the government school. They could benefit a whole lot from a music room, art room or even just simple paintings or colours on the wall. I am sure it would motivate them to study more. The private school was having a celebration for the man who created the school, I have no idea of his name. I didn't think it would be a big deal, but I later found out this man is super famous and is pretty much the Dali Lama of Nepal. When he came in the room everyone stood up and was silent, people gave him fruit as gifts, and people who came in late would drop to the ground and pray in front of him. The students sang and played instruments for him as he sat on a bed and prayed. People worshipped him. I was looking after little Silvan, who as a three year was getting extremely bored and didn't care that this man was extremely important. As all of this was happening Silvan was throwing paper at the students, banging on the walls and screaming. I was trying to to be calm while trying to stop him, with literally everyone in the room watching me, including the Dali Lama man. They must think white people are crazy.

I decided to spend my day off at Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park. It is the closest national park to Kathmandu. Entering the national park involves crossing an army base and giving your details to an army officer. All I wanted to do was go for a hike why did I feel like I was signing up for a death challenge? I went with a guide who insisted me that you should never walk alone. It is easy to get lost and there are wild animals around. We hiked six kilometres to the top where there was a monastery overlooking the Kathmandu valley. The monks that lived there were all women and children, some poor and some rich from all parts of Nepal. The children were so beautiful and gave me the biggest smiles. The monastery was so peaceful that I even considered becoming a monk, but then I remembered my forehead would look even bigger bald.


My diet has still only consisted of Dahl and rice (the only benefit of this is losing a lot of weight), I have had cold showers for the last week and a half, I did my washing like the Nepalese and struggled (and gave the neighbours some entertainment), and have only seen two tourists in the last week and a half. I won't lie when I say I am ready to get myself a pizza, have a warm shower and finally speak to someone that can understand my Australian slang.





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