Saturday, January 10, 2015

Rural Nepal:First impressions of the schools

My first day at the school could probably be considered my favorite day in Nepal so far. The teacher was trying to show off with the little kids for me in their classroom. Listening to them say the days of the week can easily be the cutest thing to have ever graced my ears. Those little ones were absolutely darling. As the classroom descended into the chaos of 5 year olds I stood up and ordered them all to do the same. I started doing Head Shoulders knees and toes, and with much coercing I finally got them all to participate. It was a hit, and Bhuendra was very happy with me saying that he loved the song and he recorded it so that he could teach it to other children at another time. Suddenly I knew that my being there was not going to be just for my benefit, but those people could benefit as well.  And so I began to teach English and light up their faces.


Next I went to class 3. I let out a ridiculous moo-ing sound. That’s the best part about kids- you can be completely weird and they will think its just plain fun. So I made some epic noises from my mouth, and we enjoyed a few verses of old McDonald. Then I burst into a slew of other songs from the time I used to teach at that school in France. We did if you’re happy and you know it, the hokey pokey, and more to keep them excited. The asked again and again for songs, and then insisted that they dance and sing in Nepali for me afterwards

            After some impromptu English classes it was time for some interviews. So I started my first interview. And sitting there in that interview, getting none of the answers I hoped to get, I was suddenly becoming completely discouraged. It was in Nepali and I caught maybe every 3rd or 5th word.  This research was going to be a lot more work than I ever imagined. I was so run down and felt like I didn’t even know what I was doing there. And then I stopped and thought a second. I had just had an incredible day in Nepal. I had played with children, sang songs in the classroom, held their hands, and talked to their teachers about how to make their learning better. And honestly, I could not care less about how that interview was going. My research might not turn out perfect, or close to perfect, but here I was enjoying a part of Nepal that most foreigners will never get the chance to see. Great research or not, I am happy to stand in front of a class singing head, shoulders, knees, toes, all day long with a smile on my face.


After my 2 hours of interviews, Bhuendra asked me if I was ready to go. Sure, I said, but I want to come back tomorrow and observe and do more interviews. He was confused as to why I said that. Then he asked, could you maybe help in the English classes. The school was missing good English teachers. That I knew. He was the best English speaker in town and couldn’t even translate much of an interview for me. Of course I could help a little. What parts of the classwork do you need help with? I can come in when you have English class. He explained that they don’t really have English class or a teacher but that I should come in tomorrow and they will give me some materials and put me in a classroom. The teachers looked absolutely thrilled at the prospect, so I waggled my head side-to-side in the nepali symbol of agreement, and before I knew it I realized I had signed myself up as the volunteer English teacher of this tiny village for the next few days, or probably as long as they can get me to come in. I’m sure I’ll get my research done at some point. In the mean time, this help to them feels important, and I am happy to do any and everything I can. I am the first white person to visit this village, so why would I demand information and not offer anything in return. This whole trip seems to suit me perfectly.

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