Travel Log 1
So it is the first of our travel logs from Miss Walton
Yesterday at 3pm she took off from Heathrow airport bound for Doha airport (this isn’t in Nepal but she had to change flights here. I wonder if you know where this airport is? The airport is very big and very new.
Here’s what she said:
This morning I finally arrived in Kathmandu. I was met at the airport by SK and Serina from Kushedevi. They gave us a lift in their jeep to our Guesthouse where we will all stay tonight before heading off to Kushedevi tomorrow.
This afternoon I had the chance to do some sightseeing. We went to a huge Buddhist Stupa which is surrounded by monasteries and you can go in and watch monks worshiping and praying.
I got to spin a huge prayer wheel and make a prayer as I did this.
Next I am off to visit Swayambhu monkey temple. There are lots of naughty monkeys there so I will send some more photos tomorrow for you to look at.
The other volunteers and members of the group are lovely (Frank, Dai, Serina, Joey (who you all know) and SK. We had a nice lunch together.
I expect by this evening we will all be very tired.
Bye for now. I will send more pictures tomorrow.
Travel Log 2:
Travel Log 3
So the time is now lunch time in Nepal and Miss Walton is at Kushedevi school. She has had a tour and is getting used to things before she starts going into class. Although on the tour she did do a little bit of teaching ‘apparently the teacher gave her a pen and said – there you go – they are your class now’. I think they were only joking but she did stay and teach them for a while and had a really great time meeting the pupils. She has also been playing some games with the younger children in the infants.
The children in the photo and video and waving to everyone at MOSPS. We hope to get some live links set up soon so we can talk to them and Miss Walton.
Travel Log 4
Got up this morning and it was really misty where we are staying. Joey, Frank and I attempted breakfast on the roof and the mist started to clear and we got a glimpse of the Himalayas in the distance. It then very quickly started to rain! We walked to Kushadevi School which took about half an hour and we arrived in time for their assembly. There was a big welcome and then we started our work. Frank started to paint the wall in the school grounds which was a very hot task. I was then taken to ‘observe’ some maths lessons. This turned out to be going into one lesson in the secondary school building with Grade 7 (the children were between 11 and 14) where the teacher did one maths question on the board then gave me his pen and walked out of the class telling me ‘they are your class now’. So I had to carry on the maths lesson the best I could for the next 45 minutes! This quickly ended up with us all playing rock, paper, scissors and the children all coming up to the front introducing themselves. Was a bit daunting though!! The next part of the day was watching the school singing competition which was great - some very cute singing from the younger children. I then went to see the Kindergarten and nursery classes. I played some games with one class and another were singing ‘the wheels on the bus’. After that we went to get some lunch - samosas today, then we had chai with the Headteacher and senior leadership team. We also tried what can only be described as a sponge pudding soaked in syrup. Whilst we were having the chai, I received a video from Class 7 and showed it to them - they all absolutely loved it and said the portraits they had been painting were fabulous. We’ve just come back to the RCF office to do some planning and SK has received a call to say that unfortunately one of the teacher’s mother in laws has died and so what happens now is a man from every household in Kushadevi has to go and help with the funeral. The body is taken to Panauti, washed in the river and then cremated along with other Hindu rituals. This all has to happen within 24 hours so SK won’t be with us now for a little while.
As today is Saturday, the children have a day off (their only day off each week) so this meant it was all hands on deck with painting the wall and trying to get it ready in time for the science exhibition. The paint was very watery so it was quite tricky and needed a few coats but luckily some of the children from the school came and lent a hand so we managed to get lots done. Jamie arrived this morning from Kathmandu airport to join the group.
Travel Log 5
Today was the first day of my Maths teacher training in Nepal. We all travelled to the town of Panauti , which is about 15 minutes up the road from Kushadevi, in the jeep together. We arrived and the children were having their morning assembly. There was a lot of time spent sorting out a room for the training and then a very long welcome ceremony - it was an hour and a half! Finally the other members of our group headed back to Kushadevi School and I started the Maths training. It turned out that all the teachers were actually secondary school teachers and not primary teachers like we all thought so I had to adapt some of the things I did but the teachers were very keen to get involved and have a go. See if you can spot any of the images that you use in Maths in the pictures. When the training was finished, I got a lift on the back of one of the teacher’s motorbikes into Panauti then hopped on the back of Sarina’s scooter to travel back to Kushadevi- it was great fun riding on the back even though it was a bit bumpy!! At Kushadevi School there was a class who didn’t have a teacher today so the children asked me to come in and teach them something so I did a bit of maths with them - they were very excited and had lots of questions they wanted to ask me about life in the UK. The children here love football so we also had a quick discussion about their favourite footballers and half the class chose Messi and the other half Neymar. At the end of the afternoon I walked back to where we are staying and as we all had different jobs I was walking on my own. On the way back up the huge hill to where we are staying, I met a lovely local lady who wanted to walk with me and chat on the way to cutting down some of her maize crops. She didn’t speak any English, and I don’t speak and Nepalese so we had to communicate using lots of pointing and acting out what we were trying to say!
Day 2 of Maths teacher training went very well - today's theme was problem solving. The teachers all got involved and enjoyed trying out lots of the problems that you have been doing too at school at MOSPS.
Travel Log 6
Miss Walton, Joey and the team have been working hard to get ready for the science exhibition at Kushedevi.
Unfortunately there has been a lot of rain and some of the original paint provided wasn’t waterproof. SK got some new paint and this meant they had to do some ‘touching up’ making it look good again.
They have used the marquees to help protect the wall from the rain – which was a thunder storm lasting much of the day. You can see Joey in the film in one of the photos covered in paint and rain!!
Another film shows Miss Walton’s journeys to and from school. Joey and her got up at 5.30am yesterday to make the walk to school. If you listen carefully you will hear the music in the background. Every morning the temple nearby plays this.
Then there is a bit of footage of her jeep ride back to the guest house at the end of the day. The roads are very narrow and muddy because of the thunderstorms. The tyres on the jeep are not so good so they ended up all having to get out to push the jeep up the last bit. They had to use the rubber mats from the foot wells to help them.
Many children get up early to make the walk to and from school – there are photos of pupils arriving at school at 6.30am for Taekwondo lessons. Could you get up that early?
I wonder what happens when the weather is bad? Do you think the children are able to get to and from school safely?
Also in today’s log you can see where the children wash their hands at school. The rain water is caught in the tank, the children wash their hands and the water goes straight down the plug onto the floor.
Seeing this and the toilets I think we should be more grateful for our toilets in school and make sure we treat them with respect. I am sure the pupils at Kushedevi would and they would be very thankful for them.
Miss Walton and Jamie were asked to try some food that the Hospitality students were making for the exhibition. They said that it was very nice.
Lastly is a film of a chance encounter the other evening of a Newari which is a Buddhist festival. During the festival goddesses were paraded through the streets of Panuati. What an amazing spectacle to see.
Travel Log 7
Today was the Science Exhibition at Kushadevi School - lots of different schools took part and the children all brought their projects. As we walked around, they presented each project to us. It was great fun testing out all their activities!
Travel Log 8
Today the schools in Nepal are closed because it is Father’s Day. This meant we were due to have a little bit of a lie in but, as usual, the temple music started at 5.30am so I was wide awake! I decided to go up onto the roof of where we are staying to watch the sunrise and it’s didn’t disappoint! Joey, Jamie and I then went on a mini hike up the hill behind where are staying to visit a tiny school - there are only 3 very small classrooms. As we set off, the Himalayas came into view! There were still clouds and some mist but it was a really amazing sight to see. We also saw some super cute baby goats on the way. After that we all went to Namo Buddha, which is a huge Buddhist monastery, set at the top of a hill. We weren’t allowed to take photos inside but it was really extravagant with HUGE Buddha sculptures, loads of mini Buddhas and some extremely colourful and sparkly decorations. There is a famous story linked with this monastery which I’ll send you separately. This evening we decided to have a go at cooking our own food so we went to the shops to buy some vegetables, rice, paneer (cheese, a bit like halloumi) and some different spices to cook back at SK’s office. Frank and Sarina made a great team with the cooking and everyone else chipped in by cutting veg etc. We made a vegetable stir fry with coconut rice and then a paneer and tomato curry type dish to go with it. It was delicious! We had to go full Nepali with our eating though as there were only 3 spoons so we had to eat with our hands this evening!
Travel Log 9
Today we travelled to a different district - Bethanchok. It took about an hour to get there and this is where SK’s wife is currently teaching. Because she works for the government schools as a teacher she doesn’t have a choice where she works so she’s not sure how long she will have to be there. She and her son travel there each week and stay for the week then travel back to Kushadevi on Friday evenings so they have Saturdays at home (the children go to school 6 days a week here). When we arrived at the school there was an assembly and a welcome ceremony where we were given some beautiful flower garlands to wear. I then taught two maths lessons with Grade 2 and Grade 3. After this we had some lunch at the school and then they were having a big dance competition so we watched the start of this (we were also given topi hats as a thank you gift) before the headteacher took us for a tour of the village. This included visiting the buffalo milk shop and tasting some buffalo milk and then visiting a family who have buffalo (including two babies!). We were told after trying the milk that we shouldn’t drink any water for a while otherwise we might get upset tummies - thankfully we’ve all been okay since!
Travel Log 10
Last day in Kushadevi today…. 😢. Joey and I got up and 5am to watch the sunrise then we walked down the hill to try to find the temple that has been playing music every morning and every evening. We weren’t quite expecting to find what we did! There was a flag with speakers attached to it and then pretty much a building site next to it so no temple at all! Was a beautiful morning though so still a lovely walk. After that we headed out to Panauti to visit a couple of temples. Today is Teej - a festival - so schools are closed again. The festival is all about women fasting in the hope of a long and prosperous life for their husband. The women all dressed up in beautiful saris and there was lots of dancing. At the end of the day we went to Sarina’s house and she cooked us the most wonderful dinner! She’s been so kind throughout this whole trip and has been with me during all of my teacher training sessions, school trips and lessons, helping with translating and organising things. Her daughter tried to teach us to dance too, which was obviously an impossible task as I can’t dance at all! The evening ended with a lovely goodbye ceremony as it’s my last night here. SK presented me with a beautiful pink shawl and then Sarina surprised me with an amazing jumper that she had knitted for me - it even has sparkly wool as she knows I like glitter! It was such a lovely way to end my time here in Kushadevi and I’ll definitely be keeping in touch with everyone when I go home. Tomorrow morning I’m heading back to Kathmandu on my own for my last night in Nepal before flying home on Wednesday morning.