Monday, November 26, 2012

The last visit to Lumbini for me

Just returned from a day with one of our schools visiting Lumbini. 
On the way, Head Sir got the dancing started in the aisle with his drumming.

For some students it was a first visit to Buddha's birthplace, plenty to see and make notes about.

Part of the teacher team.

At the lunch break Head Sir got the volunteers up dancing ......

and some of the students.

A little more sightseeing at Maya Devi and the Sacred Garden,

then back on the bus ...... 'Is tomorrow a holiday?' 'Yaaaaaaaay!' Ann joined in.

Plus a little more dancing in the aisle to bring us home.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Why so long between posts?

It is clearly a reality that I've simply kept on putting it off ....... not happy with some idea I've had for a post and then the urgency has just faded away. Obviously, I am not the best blogger. Unexpected weeks in Kathmandu during May because of strike action in the Terai due to the politics of Nepal's constitution, busy weeks in June getting to know the staff of our new schools, rainy season holiday in July so no school and for me a fabulous time (though short) visiting home, back here in August and into it, head down, to see what can be achieved in the next few months.

Pacific Guest House (PGH). The VSO volunteer home away from home - our destination on arrival in Kathmandu and where 'out of towners' find themselves on stays in the capital. I've spent many nights here.

Great snacks, about 100 metres from PGH.

About 100 metres in the other direction from PGH, they do not seem to have a happy life really.

One afternoon in May, VSO volunteers diverting ourselves with low cost material projects at PGH.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Road widening

Local authorities are sorting out/demolishing all or part of buildings that have been placed illegally on the roadside. There is no doubt that wider roads in parts of Kathmandu would benefit some, but also that many buildings (and livelihoods) while perhaps built knowingly on the road side, have been there many years – think perhaps 30 years.  Imagine the consternation when the +7.2m appears in paint on the front of your shop. Creating new front walls for your reduced building is happening on long stretches of road. The main road through Bhairawa has also been subject to checking and clearing. At my corner shop the bicycle repair shop was moved some metres back, not looking so tidy just at the moment.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Enrolment campaigns

Part of our project is to increase enrolment in our schools through working with the local implementing partner, for us here in Rupandehi, the Dalit Welfare Organisation. They lead activities like the enrolment campaign and arrange bridge classes for students who have not been attending school with the aim of a transition to the appropriate class after nine months. At 7am over the last few days I’ve joined the walks through villages around three schools. Each has been very different – students with tie and belt and orderly marching in one, a more casual stroll with teachers gathering students as we went in the other two. Taking the school to the village and talking close to home about what’s going on in school seems to make a lot of sense. In a school close to the Indian border the numbers in school could be doubled it appeared from four to eight hundred students if enrolment and attendance was improved. In other locations the drift to private schools appears to be significant. Teachers speak of families enrolling their children in the first year of school in the government system but immediately a private school provides bus travel – class 1 – parents move them on. 

In fact, due to my poor ICT skills probably (and maybe poor internet options in Bhairahawa) this post was written in April and is only now finding its way on-line ...... with luck there will be another post soon bringing a more up-to-date bulletin.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A wedding

What a wonderful opportunity to be able to attend the marriage of the daughter of my Nepali family. The week leading up to Saturday was full of people coming and going, every day something different being cooked in our backyard, and the neighbours’ backyards some days. Puja and Dipendra had so many different duties to fulfil, some alone and others with her parents, lead by a charming and laughing priest. This all took place in the front garden, transformed for the day. Towards the end of the afternoon the bride’s father gave many gifts to Dipendra and his family before a truck was loaded up with furniture and the couple set off to his family’s home for another round of ceremony and celebration.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


The school year ends soon and our project moves from the current focus schools to new ones. That means farewells of course and farewells to the original Bhairawa volunteers who arrived in Nepal in March 2010. This week has also included the holiday for Holi, where powdered colours are smeared, thrown, mixed with water and ‘shot’ or thrown by balloon. Not that playing Holi is confined to the official holiday. As well as the three scheduled school farewells on Tuesday, because we were travelling by minibus in order to also deliver some carpet, we managed to fit in a funeral meal and a promotion party. Some days are busy!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Last week of year 1

During this last week of my first year (how fast it’s gone since 11/11/2010) things have continued to roll on in much the same way really ..... Cycling around and about Bhairawa but now the temperature is FAR more pleasant. Every now and again seeing sights like the sarus crane.
Attending meetings where I struggle to follow the conversation, but this time being amused to meet a fluent Nepali speaker who grew up in Aberystwyth – encouraging me to dig out of my brain my very few Welsh words in answer to his question Cymraeg.

(my ICT skills are not up to giving you the photo I planned here - sorry)

Visiting schools, but never knowing what the day will hold. These photos are taken in ECD classes because I was delivering ‘zines and photos to the teachers – who loved the ‘zine of their work put together over 2 training days in October.

This day, being really pleased to see a maths game that a VSO volunteer introduced to the teacher being used and enjoyed – not just as it was demonstrated in the training, but adapted with the teacher’s own ideas.