Remote and Relaxing
Trip Start Feb 24, 2009
31Trip End Aug 19, 2009
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I am staying in one of the hotels in Juphal, run by Tarak and his wife Ganga, who are friendly and welcoming and speak good English, it makes such a difference to be able to really talk and get to know the people you stay with, my Nepali is getting better but still haven't got past the point of just being able to ask for the things I need, conversaion is a long way off
I have now finished my first week of teaching at The Dolpa English Educational School, a new school in town for 5-10 year olds, who previously either had no education, or had to mix into the classes at the senior school, where they were learning nothing. The school opened in March, is taught entirely in English, and currently has 52 students in 4 classes, but in two weeks time 20 or so more will be starting. The school is pretty standard for Nepal, few resources, a wide range of abilities in each class, heavy on discipline and rote learning....complete lack of any kind of imaginative teaching. Just stand at the front of the class, read from the text book, make the children copy down the lesson from the text book. Little interest at all in whether they understand the material, as long as they have copied it down correctly. I have settled in a bit now, and started to try and do some different activities with the children, drawing pictures, acting out words, songs etc, but the first couple of days were a real struggle, and their level of English is such that I sometimes spend half the lesson just trying to communicate what it is I want them to do..."No I don't want you to write the scentence out 50 times, I want you to tell me what it means!"
Tristan and I have been for a couple of walks in the surrounding countryside this week, the first one up to the Alpine forest which starts on the slopes of the valley just above the village
Yesterday was Tristan's last day before he heads back to Kathmandu, and as the school only has a half day on Friday, we got adventurous and walked down to the river (450m down...and back up). The walk took us down to a much more traditional and less developed village than Juphal, again all flat roofed houses, with ladders to get onto the roof made of a single log with notches cut into it. Most houses also have a wooden statue of a person on top, although I have yet to discover the significance of them...they are cool. Once through the village we wandered through terraced fields growing mostly barley and wheat (and a lot of wild marijuana plants!), Tristan is a botanist so I learned a lot about the wild plants of Nepal in our 3 hour walk. The walk back up was tough and we got a bit lost, but that meant we ended up at a collection of about 3 houses in the middle of nowhere where everyone came out to give us directions, and then when they realised we had cameras were falling over themselves to have their photos taken. Such amazing friendly people.
We eat our breakfast (rice rice and more rice) sitting on the roof above our room, looking out over snow capped mountains, the river far below us and eagles and vultures climbing the thermals in front of us
Tristan was supposed to have left by now, but we have just had news that the flight has been cancelled....will I ever get out of here? Would it be so bad if I didn't ?