Thursday, November 17, 2011

Winter in Nepal

Hello, Namaste, from a very wintery Pokhara.  There has been a sudden change in seasons since I last wrote.  We are now all bundled up in silly hats, blankets and fleece socks, huddling around fires and drinking tea and hot chocolate by the gallon.  There have been a few crisp and clear days where we have had great mountain views, but we have had more than our fair share of cloudy, rainy days too.  We are blaming our new arrivals Mandy and Amber for bringing this from the UK but we don’t really mind because they are working hard and making a great contribution to our projects and our team.  

Aine and Sam with Didi and her new, custom made splint
So, to work.  We have had to say goodbye to Aine and Sam which was hard for us but even harder for their clients.  These two have made SUCH a difference to the lives of those they have been working with.  After distributing all of their equipment to their clients they successfully referred a gentleman to a rehabilitation clinic when he had been previously written off as having no rehab potential.  Massively life changing stuff.  Despite being an overall success story, things didn’t always run smoothly for them.  We particularly enjoyed their story of their client who wasn’t home when they arrived for their appointment to fit her into the arm splint that they had custom made for her.  Their client’s sister gestured for them to sit down to wait for her to return, so they did.  They waited and waited and waited and then finally asked the sister when their client was expected back; ‘two years’ came the reply.   Needless to say, our volunteers opted out of the long wait and left the splint with her family...A wonderfully Nepali experience!

Connor and Niroj all painted and ready to limbo!
Mel and Connor have been having fun at the Street Kids’ Centre.  There have been a few new arrivals there which has been a little challenging for everyone, but they seem to be getting on well enough.  Mel raised a huge smile from one little boy simply by helping him to make a paper spider.  We had a great evening there during our team visit.  Abby and Liz revealed their artistic sides by face painting all of the children and before we knew it we were surrounded by ghouls, pirates and butterflies.  The excitement of this did set the children a little wild so we tried to reign them in with some super active high jumping, limbo games and skipping.  Luckily we didn’t have the task of getting them to bed later on!

Annupurna Primary School have had some big changes this week.  A Dutch donor arrived and set up a kitchen at the school and gave some money towards funding school lunches.  Following this visit the teachers seem to have been kick started into action and have been really pro-active in running classes throughout the day.  We aren’t sure if the two events are connected, but either way they are both positive and we are hopeful that they continue!

Class 5 learning how to run their new library
We had another goodbye with Abby this week which made us a little sad.  Her placement, Shree Dipya Jyoti Primary School had a wonderful leaving party for her.  All of the staff, management committee and local donors were invited to a ceremony in which she was decorated with tika and flower garlands and given a lovely Buddha statue in a glass case.  The school has really appreciated the input of our volunteers there, teachers are sitting in on their classes and taking notes to try to learn and implement their methods.  Our volunteers have also started a library at the school.  They arranged for a bookshelf to be made, stocked it with books and appointed library monitors from Class 5.  Staff have already added to the library and the kids are enjoying the benefits of having access to books and the responsibility of being in charge of their own resources.

Ward 6 have had a change in volunteers.  Jacqui left us for a trek through the Himalayas just as Mandy arrived so we had a nice and seamless transition there.  Mandy has used her first few days to find her feet and work out how she can enhance the hard work done by staff at the centre.  She took in some wool to teach the children to hand crochet which went down very well, the staff even joined in too!

Aside from our teaching our volunteers have been having lots of adventures in and around Lakeside.  Sarah finally got her paragliding flight after 3 failed attempts, Liz, Sam, Abby and Jacqui enjoyed the hilltop town of Bandipur, Mel fulfilled a lifelong dream of bathing and elephant at Chitwan and Mandy has been soaking up the atmosphere of the higgledy piggledy streets of Old Pokhara.  Good times indeed!

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