Monday, July 11, 2011

Happy Birthday Dalai Lama!

Monks getting ready
One of the many festivals celebrated in Nepal is the Dalai Lama’s birthday and this year it was celebrated with a big party at a Tibetan Refugee Camp just outside of Pokhara.  Unfortunately, the man himself was unable to attend, but that didn’t dampen the party spirit at all.  There were all manner of games, Brogan and Kari got involved in a Tibetan piñata , there were sack races and, of course, the tug of war!

In sadder news, we said goodbye to Tara who kindly treated us to a solo performance of her upcoming album, due to be recorded when she gets home.  Yes, that’s right, PoD creates superstars...well, OK, perhaps we didn’t create Tara’s musical talents, but we certainly appreciated them and look forward to buying her album soon enough.  Hopefully she will remember us when she is rich and famous...

Brogan with kids at Ward 6
Brogan also had a day of goodbyes on Thursday with her last day at Ward 6 Day Care Centre.  There was lots of dancing and fun, but it was ultimately very sad for everyone involved.  Despite only being there for a short time, she has really made an impact at the centre with her bubbly personality and enthusiastic approach.  She has introduced the children to lots of new games and also spent time working with the older children, patiently going through their ABC’s and teaching them basic English vocab.  She will be missed!

This week saw the close of our summer school at Annurpurna Primary School as their board have decided to give all of their children and staff 2 weeks holiday.  This means that Thomas found himself rather suddenly at a loose end, but, ever resourceful, Phil our Placement Co-ordinator got him right back into teaching at Holy Road Primary School.  Despite being thrown in at the deep end – the Headmaster has simply handed over all of his classes to Thomas! - he is handling it well and settling in nicely.  His new school is a private school and the difference between this and the government schools is striking.  Children all have uniforms and books, the classrooms are well resourced and days are structured.  We are hoping that Thomas can pick up on some of the skills and methods used there to improve standards for the children at APS.  An added bonus to this placement is that Thomas has to take a local bus there and back giving him ample opportunities to practice his fledgling Nepali skills on unsuspecting locals!

The Street Kids’ summer school is in its last week before schools open again.  Some real achievements have taken place there and our sessions have definitely been enhanced by the arrival of Kari and her fantastic teaching skills.  Of course, there are days where the kids just aren’t interested at all, and we have to go with that – it is their summer holidays after all!  The most striking improvements can be seen in the children’s maths skills and general concentration levels.  We’re looking forward to seeing the children back at school using their new found skills!

We had a bit of a reality check at SCIAN this week.  We planned to teach Esther some ‘opposite’ words, i.e. hot/cold, in/out etc.  We made up 8 pairs of words, drew pictures for each and went through them with her.  It seemed as though she didn’t really get what we were doing, but then when we got her to try to teach us the Nepali we realised that actually, expecting someone to learn 16 new pieces of vocab in an hour is a ridiculous idea.  So, we learned from that that we need to break our teaching down into smaller sessions.  From now on we won’t be so gung ho in our expectations!
New Asha Foundation home

Our weekly trips to the Asha Foundation are still going well.  We had a request from the children for some nail polish so spent last week running our own PoD beauty parlour, although apparently our skills weren’t up to girl told Alice her handywork was no good and immediately cleaned her nails!  Apart from that we had our regular session of befriending and playing with the children along with our weekly trip up to the site of their new home.  The whole orphanage is being moved about 10 minutes up the hill to a brand new building, custom designed and built to meet their needs.  Things are really shaping up there, most of the walls are up, the bio-fuel tank has been installed and the roof is on.  Exciting times!

If you are interested in joining our Team and contributing to the hard work we are doing here, visit our website for more information on how to apply.

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