Monday, June 6, 2011

Brand New Volunteer Team in Nepal!

Our week started pretty quietly with just one volunteer, Alice.  But, what we lacked for in quantity we made up for with quality.  Alice quickly got stuck into volunteering at Ward 6 Day Care Centre, SCIAN and the Street Kid’s Centre along with joining in with our Friday Volunteers’ Day and managing to squeeze in her 19th birthday celebrations too – wow!  We were joined in the middle of the week by Ovia and Prayagha, arriving together in a whirlwind of enthusiasm and positive energy.  They began teaching at Shree Krishna Lower Secondary School and Annurpurna Primary School as well as helping out at Street Kids in the evenings and the Asha Foundation on Friday – another wow! 

With all of our volunteers being new this week there have understandably been some challenges and confusions that need sorting out, mainly how to deal with rowdy and uncooperative children and language barriers.  We shared all of these in our weekly volunteers’ meeting on Friday and are now all armed with new approaches and ideas for the upcoming week.

Volunteer and mum in khurtas
Highlights of the week have included Alice managing to get a smile and a play session out of a young girl who generally sits in a corner stealing toys and making other children cry, Ovia got some fantastic and impromptu artworks from the children in her class and Prayagha got lots of help and enthusiasm from a boy who used to be very distracted and uninterested in classes.  We also had a fun shopping trip buying ‘khurtas’ for all of the volunteers.  ‘Khurtas’ are the traditional dress worn by women in Nepal and they come in every colour and pattern you can imagine.  The materials are currently with the tailor and we are keenly awaiting the arrival of the finished products which gives us an excuse for a get together and dressing up session.

We have the beginnings of a plan for a fundraising session for the Street Kids Centre.  This will involve some Hindi singing, dancing and performing at a venue in Lakeside.  This very exciting project is just in its beginning stages and we are all looking forward to seeing how this will work out!

 Right now all of our volunteers are making the most of their hard earned time off white water rafting on the Kaligandaki River and our PoD staff are getting ready to welcome our new volunteers Cian and Thomas next week.

This week’s tips for upcoming volunteers:
·         When packing check the average temperature for your stay so you don’t bring along unnecessary clothing.  Also, check with Gemma/Philippa as to what is available in Lakeside as all volunteers have carried heavy, bulky toiletries from home that they could easily buy here.
Homemade animal snap cards
·         If you are bringing resources paints, pencils, paper etc. are readily available here, however, specialist craft materials i.e. sequins, confetti, felt, ribbon etc. are not so bring the latter.
·         Don’t spend big money on resources before you come, go to Early Learning Centre for ideas and then recreate the games/resources cheaply and easily in Pokhara.
·         Prepare some ideas/topics that you would like to teach, but leave detailed lesson plans until you arrive here and understand the existing classroom culture and teaching methods.

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