Friday, September 30, 2011

Holidays are coming!

Hello there everyone, how are you?  So, as always we are all very happy here and have lots to share with you!  Firstly, our team is growing.  Reta and Marilyn have arrived, fitting in very nicely in the team and getting stuck right into work.  Reta is at Ward 6 taking care of the little ones and Marilyn has joined Nishma at Shree Krishna Secondary School. 

Sarah, Nishma and Reta planning their adventures!
We are starting to see the beginnings of the Dashain festival here, this is the major festival in Nepal where everything stops so everyone can travel home to visit their families.  We’re not quite at that stage just yet, but we have started to see cars, trucks, busses and motorbikes decorated with bright, colourful ribbons.  Schools will also close for Dashain so our volunteers are busy planning what to do with their hard earned time off.  Some of it will be spent visiting the children living in orphanages and some will be spent exploring Nepal.  Marilyn seems to be the adrenaline junkie of the group and is looking at white water rafting and trekking, Reta is planning on a jungle safari and everyone is heading to Bandipur, an amazingly beautiful hilltop town not so far from Pokhara.

But, school’s not out just yet and so we are still hard at work here.  Sarah has been getting on leaps and bounds at Annurpurna Primary School, putting her UK teaching skills and experience to the test!  I joined her for her first class when she introduced the idea of a weather board.  The children were asked to choose the weather symbol that best described the weather that day and stick it on the board.  They rightly chose ‘cloudy’ and fixed it in the right place, but as we were leaving class all of the children were crowding around the board and starting to take it down.  We marched back in telling them not to play with it and then had to retreat as they explained that the sun had now come out and so they were merely updating the board.  Fantastic initiative I feel!

Sarah has also introduced the concept of ‘phonics’ to APS, something that is not routinely taught in Nepali schools.  Children learn their ABC and learn how to spell and recognise certain words, but they struggle to read new words as they don’t know how to sound out what they are reading.  Not only is this improving the children’s reading skills, but the teachers and parents are also getting on board with it, sitting in on classes, taking notes and learning to read.  Hopefully, this is the start of a long lasting change for the children there.

Brotherly love at the Street Kids Centre
Our visits to the Street Kids’ just keep getting better and better.  Not only do the children behave marvellously well for us, but they are so nice with each other!  Always sharing and caring between themselves.  Really heart warming stuff.  We had a lovely session there making friendship bands.  We arrived armed with a ‘how to make friendship bracelets’ book and a few hours practice under our belt ready to teach them.  Turns out our efforts were unnecessary as all they needed was the thread and they were away churning out designs far more complex than anything we had planned!

We are having a week off from the Asha Foundation this week as it is exam time for them.  The older girls told us it was better they used Friday to study rather than play.  This met with some dissent from the younger ones, but they were overruled!

Shree Krishna Secondary School is delighted to have two volunteers at the moment.  Nishma is starting to get her own classes to teach and seems to be in high demand – children come searching for her and request her to teach them!  Marilyn is also working here now and is specialising in science.  Until now, children and staff learn and teach science from the textbook.  Marilyn has been astounding her charges with practical demonstrations and experiments and really igniting an interest in science.

Last but not least, Reta has been doing fantastically well at Ward 6.  She is an absolute trooper untroubled by the temper tantrums, the sickness and general chaos surrounding her.  She is carrying on with our mission to get the centre a little more hygienic by making sure all hands are washed prior to eating and after the toilet.  Her laid back, no nonsense manner is just what’s needed here.

Momo Chefs Nishma and Marilyn
In other news, we are all now very pleased to call ourselves momo chefs.  We spent a highly enjoyable afternoon at the Silk Road playing golf, drinking cold drinks and learning to make vegetable and cheese momos.  We got into quite a mess and never quite mastered the technique, all of our momos came out slightly mis-shaped.  Actually, totally deformed is a better description, but they tasted amazing all the same and a good time was had by all!

 Advice for future volunteers
·         A Frisbee and / or water pistols would be great resources to bring out for fun sessions.
·         We really need some small whiteboards to use when teaching younger children who can’t reach the board.   They don’t need to be high quality, flimsy ones are fine!

Our tasty - if slightly mishapen - momos
·         Think about the skills you already have and whether or not they could be developed or used here, for example if you are a first aider, could you develop this so that you are in a position to train placement staff over here?  

No comments:

Post a Comment