I have now been in Nepal just over two weeks.Â Initially I found it very hard but I am now beginning to really enjoy my time here.Â The Nepali food has been difficult to adapt to and many of you will be saddened to hear my adonis-like figure is at present a mere shadow of its former glory!Â Additionally, without running waterÂ for the majority of the time I was starting to resemble a hobo!Â On discovering that boiled water could be used for shaving I was able to rectify the ginger beard issue!Â The amount of times I have thought about roast chicken, spag bol and barbecues is unbelievable, bad thoughts in a country which allows cows to roam free on the roads!Â I am proud to say IÂ have now acquired an asbestos mouth and anÂ almost complete immunity to chillies!
I am living in the orphanage which is situated about 10km outside Kathmandu.Â There are currently eleven children living in the orphanage aged between about 3 and 14 years old.Â They are all incredibly cheerful, happy children.Â I am told when many first arrived they never smiled and few were able to make any sort of eye contact with adults.Â This transformation is down to the hard work of the orphange owner RajuÂ and the orphanage workers Roshna and now Binod.Â My job in the orphanage is to help the children with their English and their school work.Â Their English is very basic and many words prove challenging for them.Â This includes the word Graeme and to begin with they were calling me Grapes!!!Â I have also allowed them the privilege of a few dance lessons so they can dazzle their fellow Nepalis at the discotheque!
I thought I was going to end up feeling very sorry for the children, and in some ways I do, but I amÂ moved by how happy and self-sufficient they are.Â I also felt like a proud father when they left for their first day at school.
Unemployment is a big problem in Nepal but Raju, the orphanage owner, is also a tour operator and will employ all the children in some capacity.Â It does seem sad that the children with high intellignet will end up as porters or cooks but at least they will be given a chance.
When I am not working in the orphanage I am a part-time teacher.Â The fact that I have no qualifications seems of little importance and the mentality seems to be that I can speak English so therefore I must be able to teach it!Â I have now taught children from 3-17 years old.Â When I was sent, unassisted, to teach Class 1 I was unaware that I was being sent to the lions den!Â They were absolute terrorsÂ and did nothing I told them to do despite the feeling they understood me perfectly well!Â The principal came in and floundered just the same, they were merciless!Â The older years are much better behaved and I am enjoying teaching.Â The most exciting aspect is not knowing what I will be teaching in advance and the Computer Science lessonÂ was particularly hard work!Â The teachers are all really nice and they want to take me out for buffalo and Nepali whiskey, I'm not sure whether they like me!Â One teacher is particularly amusing as he claims to have studied English language in depth and assures me I should not feel offended that he has better grasp of English than me.Â He also asked whether I thought English singers would pay for his songs!
I can also now say I have tried a form of yoga.Â It is called manokranti (mind revolution) and is based on the idea, made famous by Mahatma Gandhi, that we must be the change we wish to see.Â We kicked off with some strenuous warm-up exercises, which I have only just recovered from, accompanied by the classic music of Euro-pop gurus The Venga Boys!Â It was truly surreal to think I was jumping around to the sounds of theÂ international floorfillers alongside children in an orphanage in South Asia!Â I was briefly shocked by the yogaÂ teacher's words as at one point he said, 'Our parents are our souls'.Â I misheard 'our souls'!Â Much of what he said made sense and his advice on healthy eating, though unappetising, was pretty sound.Â However, later that day on the way back from Kathmandu we stopped off at his house and he lived at a fast-food restaurant!
That is about it from Lalitpur where I am living.