A Travellerspoint blog

My temporary life in rural Nepal

Visitors to the school

sunny 23 °C

Since my arrival there have been a few times when we’ve hosted special guests at the school. After the overwhelming reception that my trekking group received when we passed through the village on the way to Pokhara all those weeks ago, it’s been interesting to see it from the other side.

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First up was a former pupil of the school who now resides in the UK and heads up a large organisation of ex-Kalabang residents in Kent. He also happens to be the brother-in-law of the Headmistress, and is one of Prakash’s nephews. Small village, small world.

This was still during the exam period, so to burn off some excess energy in between finishing their exam and politely greeting our special guest, the students were made to stage an impromptu concert in the playground. I say 'made', but they looked to be enjoying it as much as I did, as a spectator. Class 7 did 3-4 songs, then Class 6, and so on. The songs were all in English, and mostly with actions – apparently the legacy of former volunteer teachers. It made me realise I might have to think of something* to pass on, too.

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By the time the guest arrived, the children were able to greet him sweetly and sit quietly listening while he spoke with the school reps in the library.

The next visitor was an early-morning one, arriving a good 30 minutes or so before school started. Not only that, but it was after exams, so school attendance was voluntary. Because of this, his reception was a bit more low-key, and the focus was more on speaking with the adults. This visitor was an Adjunct Professor from a Seoul university, in charge of an overseas volunteer program. His interest was in Kalabang village more generally – a broader exchange of culture and ideas – but he was interested to know what contribution his Korean students could make at the school, too.

Just a small group of us gathered in the library for this visit, but there was still the welcome garlands, floral decorations on the table, guest book and so on. He was very interested to know what I thought could be improved about the school. I was put on the spot, but I didn’t hesitate to nominate the rickety classroom furniture as being most urgently in need of upgrade.

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Although the professor had a Korean/English/Nepali translator with him (from one of the govt offices in Kathmandu), he spoke for himself most of the time. When he threw into the conversation that he was an Anglican minister, I quickly looked at the translator, whose eyebrows had shot through the roof just like mine! It turns out I had not mis-heard. Christianity is surprisingly big in South Korea; something I would never have guessed.

Our most recent visitors were members of another Explore tour group. Unfortunately they turned up about 2 hours after we’d been told to expect them – almost 3 hours after school had finished, which meant the children were very deep into the playtime zone. But they were still able to be coaxed into a nice little welcome committee. The travellers received a lovely greeting, a tour of the coffee garden, a reception in the library, songs in the classroom, and finally an invitation to write in the guest book (and make a donation to the school…entirely optional). A nice welcome although maybe a bit formulaic, now that I know, but if I was to compare I would say ours was better.

  • Any ideas for a song will be gratefully received.

Posted by Andrea R 18:19 Archived in Nepal Tagged village school nepal

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Here's a few action song ideas for you:

The farmer in the dell
Hokey Pokey
A sailor went to sea sea sea

I'll ask my daughter if she has any other ideas

by Jo Dance

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