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2010-08 ~ Jenny's Story

Jenny, a primary school teacher and a trustee of Manisha UK, together with her friends, Leigh and Cornelie, took time out of their summer holidays to experience the diversity of life in Nepal's rural villages and schools.

Here, she captures the spirit of those experiences in snapshots of their journey, moments in time that will stay with them a lifetime!

Jeep journeys...

As we bounced over rocky roads we caught glimpses of Nepali life; the women in the rice fields constantly at work, young men on their mopeds weaving in and out and between the lorries.

The radio played a mixture of traditional Nepali music and late 90’s classics, interjected on every corner from a blast of a passing lorry’s horn!

Saris and smiles… 

One evening, whilst in Tansen staying with our host Bhim, a lady we had affectionately named our ‘Nepali mum’, three red 

Saris were produced. Within ten minutes we were transformed from scruffy travellers to Nepali ladies. 

The lounge became a hub of excitement and activity. As one of us was twirled into a Sari, another had her hair braided or red lipstick applied. 

From this moment forward we felt we were part of the community and danced with the local ladies until the early hours!

Headteacher by day… 

We were staying at Bhalebas school just outside Tansen in a remote village. In the evening we joined the circle of villagers as they sang and danced. 

We realised that the man leading this entertainment, with his drumming, was the head teacher we had been formally introduced to earlier that day. This is when I really felt the strong sense of community spirit. 

The head teacher was drumming, the ladies were singing and clapping for the dancers. Another teacher was also there, whenever he jumped up to dance there was a roar of laughter as he performed the latest Bollywood dance moves. 

The inevitable happened and we were called upon to dance. With a few nights of practice already under our belts, we had a couple of new dance moves to rely on! 

Face paints and roof tops… 

Another lasting image from our adventure in Nepal was the day Leigh delved through her rucksack to produce the face paints. And what an impact they had! 

Our young Nepali friends were our first candidates. 

As painted faces started to spread between the houses, children started appearing at the door way awaiting their turn. 

With painted faces we were then led to the roof top to see the panoramic view. 

We spent the afternoon learning new dance moves, sipping tea and enjoying the view. 

Play time and parachutes… 

Our classes at Pipal Danda school were coming to an end, it was 1 o’clock and the sun was baking the tin roof of the classroom. Outside I heard “Everybody! Heads, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes!” Great idea I thought lets go outside and join Leigh’s class for some games. 

Out came the parachutes along with Cornelie’s class of 3-5 year olds. 

We played parachute games with the whole school, whilst the locals looked on and occasionally joined in! 

Then, as we later found out, the local animals pass through the school playground twice a day on their way to and from the pastures! This, of course, was nothing new to the children and they ran to the edge as the goats and the cows marched through their playground. 

The children of Nepal… 

The children we met along the way were all different just like children in the UK. 

Some children we met were shy to start with; others couldn't wait to practice their English with us.

Teaching in a Nepalese school was a wonderful way to get to know the children and understand how they teach and learn in Nepal. 

The children were very respectful and listened intently. 

Considering my level of Nepalese began and ended with ‘Namaste”, the teachers in the schools were invaluable for my experience. They were extremely friendly and welcoming and helped to translate during lessons.

My advice to you? ...... Don't delay, volunteer today!