Monday, April 2, 2012

Summer school, day trips and BINGO!

Hello to everyone from a very hot Pokhara!  Spring seems to have sprung on past us this year and we have found ourselves slap bang in the middle of a hot and humid summer.  Of course, we don’t a little issue like let stifling heat get in our way and so it's business as usual for our fab PoD Team.

 Our latest team members, Jess and Lynsey, have been making a great impression both on placement and in Lakeside in general.   Staff at both of their placements have gone out of their way to tell me how well they are doing and they have also been turning heads in their free time. Their boat trip across the lake saw them filling up their boat with members of the Nepali Police Force, getting stranded at the temple, floating helplessly off across the lake and getting rescued by locals screaming, 'are you crazy?!'  Jess is off to Chitwan this weekend whilst Lynsey has been paragliding.  I dread to think what will come of those activities, but I've been checking the headlines and there's been no mention of either of them which must mean all went well!

Jess squishing into her cupboard to teach!
Anyways, back to PoD business...Jess has been working at the new Street Kids’ Centre and has fit in nicely.  It’s currently the school holidays here which means the children have a lot of time and energy to spare!  So, every day Jess puts on her kurta suruwal and heads up to the centre to run ‘summer school’ classes.  The focus of this is to get the children – particularly the newcomers – up to scratch before the start of the new school year in a few weeks.  The extreme heat means classes have to take place indoors.  However, because the centre is not yet finished, they are working in what is essentially a store cupboard.  Everyone squashes in between various pieces of furniture and gets to work.  Jess generally finds a seat, but for most of the kids it’s standing room only.  They do so desperately need an outdoor shelter building to provide them with a shady area to sit, study, eat and play under.  If you can help in any small way, please donate here.

Anyways, whilst study is most important, it is the school holidays and we can’t have the kids spending all of their time with their books.  So, in the afternoon time Jess is joined by Lynsey for some fun sessions.  Our volunteers brave the sun and head out to play football, play ‘pooh sticks’ in the river and all manner of other fun things.  Lynsey brought an amazing parachute with her that the kids go mad for.  They have developed a whole host of games that the manufacturers could never have even dreamed of!

Lynsey’s mornings are spent at Ward 6 children’s centre.  She helps staff run play and educational sessions in what is an unusually calm environment these days. I think this is largely due to the reduced number of children attending sessions.  Lots of regular attendees are at home being cared for and entertained by older siblings on their school holidays.  Lovely.  There is, however, a sense that this is the calm before the storm.  In a few weeks the new school year will start and there will be a batch of newcomers arriving.  We are braced for tears, tantrums and general chaos whilst they all settle in! Should be fun. Anyways, back to the present...

As an experience and qualified nursery school teacher back in the UK, Lynsey has done a great job at identifying ways by which she can enhance sessions without disrupting the centre's routines.  She has been using the outdoor playtime to take older children aside and work with them to develop in all manner of areas.  She is reading with them, communicating and working on educational puzzles and games.  Not only is this great for those specific kids, but it gives the younger children the space and time to enjoy the outdoor play area without bigger kids pushing them out of the way!

A final bit of good news from Ward 6, our efforts to introduce handwashing as a regular part of their daily routine seem to have worked!  When Lynsey arrived the soap dish was full and teachers were making sure children washed their hands after going to the toilet and before meals, without prompting.  Hurrah!

Posing for photos at Devi's Falls
Our aim at giving all of the kids we work with some kind of day trip is becoming a reality.  Last week we took all of the street kids and their mum to Devi’s Falls and the Gupta Caves.  The falls fell a bit flat as there was hardly any water in them, but the caves were a great success.  We all headed deep , deep, deep underground, through narrow, wet and slippy passages through the rocks.  We finally arrived at the underwater outlet for Devi’s Falls which was quite impressive.  I discovered I am claustrophobic, but everyone else had lots of fun.  I suspect a lot of their enjoyment was at my expense.  It seemed to tickle the kids that I was so scared when they weren’t.  Anyways, we survived the cave, had an ice cream and headed home.  Good times!

Aside from working at their individual projects, our volunteers have also been running weekly sessions at the Asha Foundation and SOS Bahini.  Our Asha Foundation sessions seem to have developed into a weekly Bingo club.  All of the children love it and can play for hours.  Literally.  Luckily, the introduction of Lynsey’s parachute offers us a bit of respite from calling out yet another round of numbers!

And that’s about it for this week.  We have some fun programmes planned for Easter and have been busy handing out donations, but they are stories for next week, so watch this space!

For more information on our work in Nepal and how to join our team, look at our website or contact Becky in the UK on 01242 250 901.  If you would like to help, but don't have the time to come in person right now, you can always make a donation to the PoD Charity and help fund our work here.

No comments:

Post a Comment