Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Khurtas, guitars and watermelons!

So, this week our team grew again with two new arrivals.  Cian received a warm welcome from Shree Krishna Lower Secondary School whilst staff and pupils at Annupurna Primary could barely contain their excitement at the return of Thomas.  Thomas taught here for 8 weeks last summer and loved everything so much that he has come back to do the same again.  These lovely chaps are not only excellent teachers and role models to local children, but also fantastically talented musicians who have been hard at work keeping our team and indeed everyone around us entertained. 

Looking good in our new khurtas
The boys' welcome dinner was glitzed up significantly by the girls who all wore their new, custom made khurtas for the occasion.  Our evening was full of good food and great company, we heard all about the girls’ adventures on their Kaligandaki rafting trip, gained some words of wisdom from Phil (PoD Placement Co-ordinator) and randomly discussed which celebrities we were missing from home (in case you are interested,  Jeremy Paxman got a majority, but by no means unanimous, vote).

As is to be expected, our hard work at placements has thrown up some challenges for our volunteers.  The key issue appears to be how to keep yourself busy and interested when the staff and children around you are occupied with their own activities.  After brainstorming for solutions at the volunteers’ meeting, we thought that teaching volunteers could try to spend time children who were struggling or left out and that childcare volunteers could use downtime to get to know the staff and learn about the amazing country and culture they are living in.  If anyone has any more ideas, please let us know!

We have also seen some great achievements this week.  The biggest has to be the huge improvement in students’ behaviour during class.  Last week we were all struggling with how to control children when you have little or no means to communicate with them?  We worked together to devise and implement a points system to reward good behaviour which seems to have worked fantastically well.  The children are so focussed on getting points by paying attention, being helpful and generally just working well that they have forgotten to get up to any mischief.  Success!

Other things made us smile this week included students at Shree Krishna treating volunteers to a medley of Justin Bieber songs, the Street Kids following up an intense and tiring (for us at least!) football and skipping session with an impromptu and highly entertaining comedy and music performance and seeing the ladies at SCIAN getting more and more capable and confident in using their English. 

PoD Team heading to Asha
Friday saw us heading up to the Asha foundation with 10kg of watermelon and a guitar.  Our idea was to share the fruit together whilst enjoying a bit of a jam session from the boys.  However, the watermelons were kept for an after dinner treat and the kids were much more interested in learning how to play the guitar themselves than they were in listening to us.  Despite that, a good afternoon was had by all.

So there you have it.  Another successful and worthwhile week of work by PoD Nepal.  Well done team!

Tips and suggestions for future volunteers:
·         Plan and budget for activities to fill in your time off before you come– click here for ideas of what's available in and around Pokhara.
·         If you are planning to bring games/resources, we really need a Frisbee and craft materials

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