Thursday, 28 March 2013

Final Post

Well I am actually back in England now, but I never got round to writing about what I did before I left so I will write a little now and also a little on how it feels to be back. I’ll also pop some photos up that seemed either miscellaneous at the time or that I couldn’t upload due to poor internet connection.

So after I got back from Okhaldhunga I was meant to be doing English teacher training, focusing on phonics and speaking and listening activities. However, that was cancelled due to various schools not being able to attend because of a festival sort of event. I was really disappointed about that as I had spent a lot of time planning it. I had, however, spoken to a lot of teachers about some of the activities already. Therefore, I had a couple of days spare where I couldn’t do anything. Then it was off to Kathmandu for two days to renew my visa. By the way visa renewal takes two days in Kathmandu compared with the 15 mins it takes in Pokhara. So I actually ended up there for an extra day.
After Kathmandu I was due to go trekking in the mountains above Pokhara for a few days. Although the day after I arrived there a two day strike was announced so I was stuck in lakeside and consequently missed out on my chance to go trekking.  The only good thing though is that lakeside actually remains open as it is a tourist area, therefore, I could still go out to eat and stuff.

Then it was back to Tansen for a quick visit to Pipaldanda where I did the twinning letters and a couple of classes on different topics. Mahendra threw me a leaving party on my last day in Tansen where he invited a load of teachers and local people. There was lots of food and music and dancing. I really enjoyed it, it went on till 2/3ish, but it was very good.
The next day I was off to Kathmandu where I spend two days before flying back home.

Now I have had a wonderful time in Nepal, everyone always says it but it did really change how I think about things, especially education-wise. I mean when you go into school that just have nothing, it really does make you think do I really need those 20/30 different math games or that gigantic box of role play clothes or packets and packets or coloured pencils in my classroom. Well yeah you do, but how about doing something for places where most of the children will never have even seen resources like this.

Another thing it really helped me with was thinking up lessons on the spot or amending lessons very quickly for a different year group. I was very often on the way to, for example, a year three class only to find myself launched into year 9.

It is very good to be home though, I get to see everyone again and have hot showers, which are a brilliant invention so is hot running water. Also I get to cook again which I really missed, I wasn’t even allowed in the kitchens over there.

Anyway, I had a fantastic time and will defiantly be going back again, once I get the time and the money that is.
I would also like to say a quick thank you to everyone at Manisha UK for first of all trusting me and funding my visit and secondly for giving me the support that they did while I was out there.

If you enjoyed reading this, why not investigate how to volunteer some of your time to visit Nepal yourself and meet all the people I have been talking about or maybe you could even doing some fundraising or possibility donate a little money to Manisha UK,  all of which will go to help the children in Nepal.



Here are lots of photos from my time in Nepal that I never got round to posting while I was there. Obviously not all of them, I took nearly 4,000.

Sunday, 17 February 2013



I spent the last week, mon-fri, at Okhaldunga school.

I like this school a lot, the village in situated in a remote hill area, it is one hour jeep ride on the road then two and a half hours though the hills then a 40 min walk. It is a proper beautiful area though. You can go trekking in any direction from the village, either though jungle or along the top of the hills, now I’m saying hills, as that is what they are called here, but they’re mountains really. It is just in Nepal it has to have snow to be a mountain.

Unfortunately, mostly for you Phoebe, the camera I have been using courtesy of my sister, has stopped working. It has been getting worse for a few weeks but now the battery will not hold any charge. So no photos this week, well I did get a couple before the battery went for good.

I did go Monday to Friday but due to travelling time that means I only get three days teaching. Here’s what I got up to:
·         Yr8 X2 – Twinning letter, describing and drawing the village and school;
·         Yr9 – discussion and dialogue about jobs and plans for the future e.g. move house, get married;
·         Yr7 – Bingo and countdown numbers game;
·         Yr5 –prepositions.
·         Reception/nursery – playing with the toys I took, face paint, animals, blocks, balls and musical instruments;
·         Yr1 – Animals and face painting;
·         Yr2 – Shapes, colouring and face painting;
·         Yr3 – Fruit and veg and face painting;
·         Yr4 – Fruit and veg and face painting.
·         Yr6 – bingo and hangman with a animal theme;
·         Yr5 – Bingo and face painting;
·         Yr4 – prepositions.
Now I know that is a lot of bingo and face painting but once the word spead they kept asking for it, and the bingo really helps with number name. The face painting is just fun. Actually even the yr8 and 9’s did a bit of face painting in the evenings, only the boys though and normally very make-up based face painting.

They did have dancing programmes every night but as I was ill with a cold, and the nighttimes are freezing there, they stopped about half ten. They had three with Nepali and Hindi pop music, I’m not that much of a fan of these as I don’t like the music, and I think that everyone that knows me knows I don’t dance. The other night, Wednesday I think, they had a Nepali programme about Holi, now if you don’t know Holi, it is the one where they throw paint at each other. They did use tikka powder here instead and not so much throwing but it is two people and they put the tikka on the head like normal and then throw a load at each other, then the people change. It was really fun especially as I got to tikka other people. I think my shirt is now ruined though but it was a charity shop special so it’s expendable.  Also on the last night two of the kids who came to the evening programme asked to play bingo, then I had to go inside for some quick food and I came out to find only 7 out of the 40ish children still outside. The rest were playing bingo upstairs.
Next week Mahchap again, stay tuned for the update.

Sunday, 10 February 2013



So I got back to Bagnas this week. It is a very small school around 55 children; however, there couldn’t have been 40 there on any day I visited. The teachers told me that often children have to stay at home to do work, mainly farm work I think.

Day one
Year 1, 2 and 3
We did some animals names and posters, preposition games using animals and mini posters, matching and memory games then had a bit of bingo. Now on my own with these guys it was rather difficult to get them organised, as they really crave praise for their work. So i’d be talking  to one kid on how to improve their poster and have swarms of others around me shouting that they had done their work. I can tell them to sit down in Nepali but as soon as I moved to someone else it just happened again.

Year 4 and 5
I got the twinning letters sorted which discussed the Nepali festivals of Tihar, Dashian and Teej. Then they wanted to play some bingo, these guys put old women to shame with their enthusiasm for bingo. The children are great in this class their English has come along a lot since my first visit in October and most of the time they could understand what I was after. Although I am still fighting a losing battle against not just copying the text of the information sheets I gave them, but then when you spend most of the time copying or repeating it is rather innate.

Day 3

Nursery and reception re-caped parts of the body then played body games and sung body related songs. Then I got them to drawn round each other on A1 paper and colour in and label parts of the body and clothes. Finally, we did some face painting which was proper funny, although I demonstrated on myself and let one of the kids have a blast with my face (the picture only shows what I drew with no mirror). They teachers did remind me to wash it of but I needed to rush back and plus I had a motorbike helmet on; however, I forgot and went for a wander round town for a while looking like a nutter with a green coloured on beard.
pre green beard

Day 4
They had a celebrated today as the school is in its 26th year. However, it was on Nepali time so instead of the 10:30 start it was 12:30, but I spend the time teaching some of the children to skip backwards and to cross the rope over in the air, two skills I never knew I had, and I also spent some time failing to play badminton. It was only a short ceremony with the usual speeches and dancing, then all the children who had performed in the tops three in different subjects/years/gender/and some more categories were presented with workbooks and pencils. I think everyone ended up with something. I did see one girl with 8 books though.
"I'd rather eat my book"

It’s been a good week.

Saturday, 12 January 2013



I also managed to get two days at Laharepipal this week, I was meant to be going there two weeks ago, then a week after but due to visa issues and really low child numbers I couldn’t go.  Now Laharepipal is a really poor school they have nothing. There are no teaching resources - not even paper or pencils, the teachers are very rarely paid, there were no medical supplies at all but I’ve sorted that, about three quarters have uniforms but most are in a dire state and, also, the teachers often have to go around Tansen asking for money to feed the children – and I’m talking about just bread and tea. Now not all schools give children food but at least the children have breakfast or can bring some food with them. However, here though the families are so poor the children rarely ever get breakfast, most only eat once a day. So a bit of food in the day makes a lot of difference to their ability to learn. A lot of the children come late to school because they have to clean or act as servants in other people’s homes. This is mainly the reason why when I went I took three huge bags of oranges, some bananas, a load of tea and sugar, and 10 loaves of bread. The problem is here they don’t have any cooking facilities so they can’t make a huge pan of curry or something on the cheap. Furthermore, as they have to scrape the money together on a daily, well normally not every day, basis they can’t buy in bulk and get a discount. Fortunately, their twinned school, St Pauls primary, have sent them £830 which should keep them in food for a good while and get some children a uniform. I know that a uniform doesn’t seem that important but when you think that is will be the best clothes the children own, it makes sense.
I managed to get the twinning letters done though and I took the school a load of sports equipment which they went mental for. Additionally, I had to give them some money to tide them over for the week food-wise and for the exams they are taking next week, the school didn’t have any money to print the exam papers for the children. One more thing, the blackboards here are dismal, you can’t write on them, so I spent the afternoon with some of the teachers painting them. Hopefully, next visit I can actually use them.