Week 9 in Sirutar :)
This week the same work continued on the site, making cement and building walls. We carried 2000 bricks from nearby to the work site. This week was the last week that we could teach so we all went to the local school. We decided to make it fun so we spent the entire time playing games with the children. We taught them how to do the cha-cha slide, which was effort because of the language barrier, but it worked out in the end. It was so funny when Charlye tried to teach them the bit where they have to put their hands on their knees. She turned around to teach them they all turned around the opposite way copying her. We also played the hokey pokey, or hokey cokey as others called it, and played duck duck goose. The boys also played some rugby, not that there was any space to play it. On the way home from school I went to sky's shop and bought some bangles for all the girls at home in Ireland. It's all I can fit in my case. His mum said my hands were so soft. I felt bad knowing the hard labour the hands of Nepali women must endure. Sky said he has got us all a same gift for the upcoming festival called Dashain, which is like Nepal's equivalent to Christmas.
We paid a visit to the local private school where we got to chat to some of the teachers and to the students. They explained all the reasons why people prefer to go to private school including better resources, such as computers, basic science labs and sporting facilities. They also explained that there were better standards of education, better teachers and no government policies. Two of my cousins, Mahima and Unjali, who I had met before at one of our family feasts during the Teej festival, were in the class we were speaking to. We got to ask the class questions. Their English was at a much higher standard than the students we had met from public school. They were fluent, mainly due to the fact that classes are taught through English in private schools. We asked the children in the classroom what jobs they hoped to have in the future. The answers we got from this class were so different than the answers we had got from children we had asked in the local public school. When we asked the children in public school their answers were cooks and pilots. This classes' answers consisted of journalist, British army man, teacher, nurse and doctor. It was so good to hear the children having these ambitions, especially the girls in a country where gender inequality is so high. In Nepal it costs like 50 million rupees to become a doctor and unlike the UK there is no Government support. It is likely that only the rich could afford to educate their child in this profession. Private school also costs parents about £10 a week which is expensive in Nepal. This would also be expensive in the UK if you had a couple of children to put through education. I asked the teachers about a ranking system in school for the children. They said that there was no ranking system. If the weaker children need more help they have to pay more money than others. After the public school visit we visited the orphanage in Lubhoo, so on the way we stopped off to collect some things we had brought over from home to give to them. I had bought a skipping rope and an inflatable connect4 game. Chloe had bought them a skipping rope and a frisbee, from Queens University would you believe. James also bought them a rugby ball. On the way to the orphanage we stopped off at an organic food farm where they grow food for the orphanage and sell extra food to hotels. The farm also had loads of cute bunnies. When we were leaving Charlye kept khym going about her having a bunny in her bag. The orphanage gets most of its funding from NGO's in Germany and Nepal. It was a beautiful building with nice grounds and spacious bedrooms. The atmosphere was great and the children were happy. The children in the orphanage are educated privately, depending on their capability. They come to the orphanage between the ages of 3-5 and stay until they reach 18 years old. They return to a relative's home once they find a job, which they get help to find. We played soccer with some kids and watched others do homework. One little girls surname was Nepali. When the little girl asked charlye to write her name Charlye wrote Charlye English not catching on Nepali was actually a surname. When we were leaving the orphanage Charlye kept khym going that she had a child in her bag then it was a puppy in her bag further down the road. After dinner I told my family that I would take pictures of them and get them developed as a leaving present. After dinner they called me. I walked upstairs and they were all changed in beautiful clothes and looking really pretty. I had barrowed Alice O'D's fancy camera so it was like a photo shoot. It was so much fun. We took pictures on the balcony, sitting down and on the steps. I was so afraid that they wouldn't save especially when they went through so much effort. I drew Alice a picture of her as a thank you for lending me the camera.
This week the school put on a production for us with lots of singing and dancing which lasted about 2 hours. They had used their classroom tables to make a stage. No wonder why the tables where so scored if they done this for every volunteering group. A lot of people from the village and the other schools had even come to watch. We were like VIPs sitting at the side of the stage sitting on chairs while everyone else was standing. They presented us with certificates, ribbons and give us teeka's. I played the tin whistle and Chloe sang, "The Star of the County Down". Jazz also sang with a boy who went to the school and played the guitar. They sang, " Knock Knock Knocking on Heaven's Door". Everyone had a dance off at the end. It was a brilliant production. Most of us went to Lubhoo after that to get photos developed and again to buy ice cream and jerrys. When I got home I did some preparation for me and James presentation on Sunday. The lightening that night was amazing we just stood and watched it.
Jazz, Alice O' D and I put the finishing touches to the kindergarden room in the school and the others continued working on the project site. This week it was Rory's birthday. I bought him a whole box of strawberry Milyway Chew bars which we recently discovered in one of the local shops. Lamatar visited Sirutar this week. We showed them our work site, the local school and our office. We then all went to Charlyes roof for a catch up. One of the Lamatar group has broke his leg and has to go to hospital for an operation. We also bought kites this week which Alice J and I have been attempting to fly with no success. Today I had a nice chat with Roshan and Reshma. Today is the beginning of a public holiday lasting 15 days for Dashami which is like Nepal's equivalent to Christmas. The family will visit each other throughout the festival and feast. It kicks off on the day we leave, so I'm sad I will be missing it.
Today I got up really early and went to Balewa with my cousin Roshan, to the temple. It was a good 45 min walk there and back and about a million steps to climb up to the temple. He wanted to go on a motorbike but I made him walk. He said that was only the third time in his life he has walked anywhere. He was so unfit he had pain in his ribs and was out of breath. I asked him how he could not like walking in Nepal when the views are so amazing. Exercise will do him good. When I got back from the temple my little niece and sister had come to visit. I played with my little niece for a while, who still laughs at me for no reason at all. She then sang a song to me while I was eating breakfast. The family were also making some kind of design on a jar using cow poo and rice. Cows are sacred in Nepal. It was our final day on the work site today. Kapindra opened the morning with a safety circle, like he does every morning. He asked us each to say a bit about our experience. Chloe set me off crying and then I sat Jazz off. What are my going to be like on Thursday when we have to leave :(. We also went to Thamel to kathamandu for Rory's birthday. Some of us went by taxis while the others went by bus. We went for food, drinks and a bit of a dance. We went to Buddha bar and had this weird flavoured smoke thing which came in different flavours. Next day we done a bit of shopping and had more food which was amazing. We then we headed back to Sirutar. I heard this week that another volunteer who went to Peru died in an accident. My thoughts are with family and friends.
James and I gave our presentation on Agriculture and Food. Agriculture is very important in Nepal with 85% of the population depending on it. It dominates the economy and is the main source of food, income and employment. However, there are several factors affecting agricultural growth including access to irrigation, climate change and weak physical infrastructures. A lot of Nepal is mountainous and 40% of the country is covered in forest. The main food in Nepal is, "Dal, Bhat", which is rice and curry. We eat this 3 times a day. I am going to miss it so much when we leave as I love Nepali food. Food insecurity is a huge problem in Nepal, with 40% of the population unable to meet their full food requirement. The price of food continues to increase while the wages of the Nepali people remain low. A public school teacher earns 350 rupees a day which is around £3. Meat alone is 500 rupees per KG.
James and I are also monitors this week. Looks like it's my responsibility to make sure everyone gets on the plane....great. James, me and kweku also went to Lubhoo to collect photos. We are getting khym, kapi and kabita a picture of the group as a leaving present. Rory's family had a party for him. We had such a feast at his house. We had potato, prawn crackers, popadoms, cruncky things, nuts, cake, jerrys, pudding, spices and some gorgeous curry thing. Delicious! His brother, Basanta, had speakers up in the house with a proper DJ set. They had disco lights as well. It was like being at a teenage disco again. Khym wanted to see us dance. Princess, James and Rory's little sister drew over all our faces with teeka. I don't know what my family must have thought when they answered the door to me when I got home.