Week 1 in Sirutar!
We left Kathmandu and arrived in Sirutar which is the village we are staying and working in. We were all excited and nervous to be meeting the families we would be living with. My host family are really nice. I have a sister (24), brother (30), sister in law (22) and a mother, so im the youngest for a change. My mother came to meet me off the bus. She doesn't speak much english. Our conversations involve her speaking nepali, me speaking english, both of us not understanding each other and then laughing. She is lovely. The sister however has good english and acts as a translator.
My home is also lovely. There is amazing scenery from the balconies. I could look out at it for hours. One night all the group gathered on one of the balconies and watched the sunset. It was such a clear day we could even see the Himalayas. It was beautiful. In my house there is a squat toliet and a bucket bath as a shower. There is no warm water. I am adapting to this change easily. One thing I do hate is hand washing. It takes forever and no matter how much I scrub my clothes, they will still be dirty. I am also adapting to the sleeping / eating pattern. In Nepal people fo to sleep at 10pm and wake at 6am. Dhal bhat (rice, veg and curry) is for breakfast and dinner which we eat at 8.45am and 8pm. My curfew is 7 which sucks a bit....my 2 yr old neice has a longer curfew than me. I am also adapting to my new pets in my room....big spiders and i'v also got a lizard.
I experienced some of the local culture this week during menstration. During this time women are considered "dirty". They aren't allowed to prepare food, enter the kitchen or eat meals with other family members. They also are only allowed to do "dirty work" during this time. On the 4th day they must shower to "cleanse" themselves. During meal times in my family I had to sit on a seat away from the kitchen table beside the kitchen door. This didn't bother me as we never eat as a family at home anyway. In other local families, rules were more strict and men maybe wouldn't even speak to you during this time.
We also started work at the project site this week. We cleared hedges on a slope which will eventually will be a playground for the children. Next week we will begin working on the school building. We can't work when its rainy so the weather has slowed us down at bit as it has been raining. We also visited a local school. The school children seem so excited whenever they see us and seem to enjoy saying hello and practising their english. The school was very basic. Rooms were small and crowded and lacked basic resources. I can't wait to start work on building the new school. It will make me proud to build a better learning environment for the kids.
Our global issue discussion this week was on education and was presented by Jimmy, Tom and Kweku. Loved the posters colour scheme lads :). Thought I'd provide a few facts that we learnt from this presentation and discussion. The male lit rate in Nepal is 62.7 % and the female lit rate is 34.9%. In the UK both are 99.9%. It is not a legal requirement for children to attend school in Nepal. There is also gender ineqality were men are educated over women. Women do more agricultural work. Children are not being sent to school for a number of reasons including they are needed for work, needed to look after younger children and the families cannot afford to send them to school. In 2006 only 46.2 % of the pop recieved secondary education. A shocking figure is that in 2000 only 23% - 41 % of adults could read and write. Hopefully a new local school being built will encourage more children to attended school.