Week 7 in Sirutar……The week Alex left :(
I was feeling a lot better this week and ready to do some hard work. We continued to dig out trees, make cement, build walls and clear the trench. No one taught this week. I would have done, only on Monday, Alex, Alice J, Kweku and I went shopping for supplies to decorate the school. Alex found out last week that his grandma died so he has to fly home. He wanted to do redecorate the kindergarten classroom before he left on Wednesday. We each put in 500 rupees, which is about 5 quid, for supplies. We bought soooo much paint for the walls and a cover for the roof of the classroom to stop dust falling down from the classroom above. We also bought a cover for the floor. As Alex was leaving on Wednesday I collected an extra 100 rupees from everybody for food for a bit of a party for him. We had said that if there was any money left over we would put it with the money that was left from buying supplies and use it to buy a water filter and cups for the school children. I was actually shocked when one volunteer said, "What do they need a water filter for. They drink the water all the time". At the moment the children drink unfiltered water. There is a hose in the ground which comes on at 6.30 am for an hour and a half. They have to collect enough water then to last the entire day. The water is kept in an open container where bugs or anything could get into it. This filter would provide them with safe drinking water and would hopefully educate the students that filtering water is needed for safe water. This is why I was shocked when I heard the volunteers' comment. Hopefully, after Jazz and Chole's presentation on Health, water and sanitation he now understands why it is so important to filter water.
On Tuesday we went to the school with our supplies. We put a plastic orange covering on the roof to stop the dust coming down on the children. We painted two walls turquoise and the other two remaining walls cream. On one of the cream walls we did the Nepali and English Alphabet. On the other cream wall Alice O' D drew an elephant in a garden with a mouse…..so cute. Jazz drew flowers and I drew a Mickey Mouse. On the turquoise wall I also wrote the numbers from 1-50 and the guys painted them. The room looked so much better when we were finished. The only thing left to do now is to put down the cover on the floor and to put the furniture back in. Some of the team also decorated outside the classroom, painting over flowers, butterflies, crocodiles and other things that had been drawn previously by volunteers but had faded. One of the children actually asked me if I was married in my home country, I just laughed and was like…. eh no! While we were at the school the Red Cross volunteers, two who were from Sweden, were teaching the children what to do if there was an earthquake. They even put children in classrooms pretending they were hurt and practiced what to do with them. On Tuesday after school, Khym our supervisor, took James and me shopping for party food for Alex's goodbye party. We bought so much junk, but when there are 13 people it doesn't last very long. It was so funny when we were driving back in the bus. Khym asks, "Can you believe my driving?"……meaning do you think it's good…..and just at that moment….BANG!....James wacks his head off the roof going over a bump. It was hilarious. Probably one of them you had to be there moments. When we got back with the shopping the rest of the guys had decorated the office with candles….so cute. Jazz had made an orange bracelet….Alex's favourite colour. She put 13 black threads between the orange, each black thread symbolizing one of us. Alice O'D and Charlye made a card which we all signed and Khym gave a speech. Khym heard Rihanna's rude boy song and copied it from my mp3 player and I doubt he knows the real meaning and I'm not being the one to tell him. Before Alex read the card I wrote "I am a tit" and stuck it on the back without him knowing. We told him he had to read his card and hold it up high so we could all take pictures, him still not knowing what was going on. …..This was one of Alex's jokes played on Thomas a couple of weeks back when was giving a presentation. We were all laughing and poor Thomas didn't know what we were laughing at. When we were walking home that night we were already getting emotional about saying goodbye at the end of the 10 weeks together.
We all met at 6.30am to say our final goodbyes to Alex…..well except Thomas that is……..he was locked "inside" his house. We all lined up and gave our hugs and goodbyes before he got on the bus. We will miss you Alex and your style. No one else could pull off those tops of yours. I think didi will miss him loads. Didi means sister in Nepali. She is Alex's mum here and she makes us our lunch every day. She is a legend. She says we are the best group yet :). It was so funny when Jazz asked her the name of some man and she told us. Jazz's reply was, "What!! Such a pretty name for an ugly face". Didi who speaks a bit of English totally understood this and was in stitches laughing at this for a good while……legend. This was the same day as Jazz fell off the bench backwards with tea in one hand, fag in the other. The tea spills and the fag breaks in half. Charlye was also in stitches about that for a good while. Ragin I miss it!
We went trekking on Thursday. We walked through Lubhoo and then onto Kotdanda (or somewhere like that). It was practically up the whole way there for 2 and a half hours. It was sooo steep. I'm proud to say I was 3rd to reach the top ….. 1st girl :). I really enjoyed it. It was so good to finally get proper exercise. The views on the way up were amazing. We had noodles on the top which was rewarding. Some of the guys got leeched on our trek. Thomas "leech" (it actually is his real name) got the worse bite. Jazz had wanted someone to get leeched to see what it looked like. On the way back down we stopped at a local school. This school was so different from Sirutar School, which is the local school in our village. They are both public schools but this school seemed to get more funding. They even had mini laptops to teach the students English and other subjects.
This weekend Alice O' D, Charlye and Jazz went to Kathmandu on our time off. Kweku, Chole, Alice J and Jay went to Bhaktapur. I decided to go to neither and just chill out in Sirutar instead. I feel like I got closer to my family this week. I watched some TV with them, not understanding a word of course, but it was still good. They showed me some wedding photos and other photos as well. Speaking of photos……I was so excited to finally get my camera developed. I liked the element of surprise with the disposable cameras but not anymore. They were such bad quality. I was raging. I'm going to borrow someone else's camera to take some pictures of my family before I leave and then just steal other people's photos. There are plenty to choose from because everyone else brought cameras. I also met my cousin Roshan this week. It was nice to speak to someone different who speaks fluent English. He went to private school so all their lessons in school are taught through English. He is also applying to University in London to do finance.
On Saturday it was so good doing….nothing! I lay out in the sun, which there hasn't been much of, and read for a bit. I had planned on doing stuff like my blog, teaching lessons e.t.c but the internet and phone were down for like 2 days. Thomas needs the internet more than me though because his brother booked his flight from London back to Belfast on the wrong day.I also went and watched Rory and James get their hair cut. Don't think James liked his but there is nothing wrong with it. They turned out good. They were brave for getting their hair cut in the first place. They got a brutal head massage at the end although they said it was nice. In the afternoon James, Jimmy, Thomas and I also went to Lubhoo for a walk. Thomas needed to buy presents and well I needed Ice cream. James and I got yummy Jerrys as well. ….I will miss Jerrys but not as much as James…..he's obsessed. We also met a man in Lubhoo who was like "Do you want to see a five headed snake?" We were a bit like "yeah right". He showed us a picture though and said it was discovered during the week. It looked totally real. James said, "Trust them to worship a five headed snake and get one". Just shows pray hard enough and you might just get it. Although since then I have goggled it and nothing has come up so I'm not sure it is true anymore.
It was another sunny day and we were stuck inside the office all day. Chloe and Jazz gave a presentation on health, water and sanitation which is a big issue in Nepal. 80% of Nepal is covered in water but most is unsafe and polluted. 77% have access to safe water, 66% have a toilet and 37% use water to wash hands, only 12% washing at critical times like before eating. Many people are uneducated and do not test or filter water. Of one third of all deaths under the age of 5, one third is caused by diarhoea. 80% of diseases are caused by poor sanitation and water. Many people have cholera, typhoid and worms. This weekend there was a free health check in the local area. Only 50 people attended. Although the health check was free, if people did discover they were ill they may not have the money to afford the medication or treatment. The health check therefore seemed more for a statistical purpose. We also watched a video on health, water and sanitation and I may never drink coca cola again after that. It is actually cheaper to buy coca cola that water in Africa, how wrong is that. There was also a story told about a house which went on fire with 2 people inside. Their neighbours could not afford to use water to put out the fire and the people died. My sister was also telling me that everyone in Nepal is corrupt. Jazz was telling me a story about a friend of a family member who went to hospital and had her kidney removed without permission.