Growing up in Kathmandu, I had never experienced village life nor thought my life would take this turn. I still remember the day, I applied for the United World Schools Nepal fellowship form. It was the last date of deadline and I had filled it up at late night. Few days later I got a call from organisation and I do remember how my interview went that day. After the selection process and the training, the journey finally began. It was my first time travelling alone from home with the people who just became family within a month (my colleagues – the other fellows). We all knew that we have to live alone in different villages with complete strangers.
Adventurous journey from Kathmandu to Dhankuta
I’m amazed from where I got all the courage to live with a people whom I don’t know in a complete opposite place from my city. The drive was all good up to Dhankuta but after Basantapur, my god it was scary as hell. It was during rainy season and the roads were damn bumpy. I was sitting on a bus on a front sit holding myself and saying that I’m not gonna scream, I’m not gonna scream but at last I cried out loud and called for a Suraksha didi. I do remember the old lady, how she was sitting calmly and not changing her expression even when the bus was totally upside down. And there I was totally freaked out. We laughed harder remembering the moment. I salute driver dai for driving us safely to Mudhe, Shankhuwasabha. Few days later, all the fellows departed to own placement. It was so hard and tough for my brothers and sisters to reach their place. It was so far and they had their heavy luggages. Dikesh dai almost walked for 6 to 7 hours. I respect their struggles. After reaching to our places, we all shared our stories of struggle from road to village to house we all are living.
Culture Shock and adjustment
At first, I felt so uncomfortable and was totally shocked by the differences in living style. The foods, bedsheet, Pillow, Blanket made me frustrated. Whenever I saw the spiderwebs, I would start cleaning it up. Most of the time we had to eat dry rice. No lentils and no vegetables. During iskush season we have to survive eating iskus every morning and night with Gundruk, Aalu. Nirupa didi even tried chyakhlako bhat. At tiffin time we don’t get food to eat but generous children shares their meal. Children are the greatest gift to me. One day my host family left me to cook meat all by myself and I called Ashish dai and Juna didi for the recipe and still the meat remained uncooked. I got allergies and the unforgettable scars left by bed bugs. But, slowly I got used to with everything. Now I feel not so good living in Kathmandu because of the pollution and crowd.
Living here I have learned so much. About culture, lifestyle, languages. Here bahini is pronounced as buhini and you can say your daughter/son buhini/bhai. The famous slang used is Kriya bajya. Now I know how Boka becomes Khasi. And khasi cannot bear a baby. I saw giving birth by goat and hen hatching egg. Well, waking up here everyday I feel so happy and living a life with children is incredibly amazing because I can go back to my childhood. Sometimes I’m harsh on them but that’s because I want them to grow up beautifully and have better life that they ever can imagine. I love racing with principal sir. He on bike and me on foot running short trail. I love running with children to school. I love listening to birds chirping every morning. Perks of being here are fresh air, no tension, learning everyday, developing personal and professional skills and many more. Despite of all these hardship, I’m satisfied for what I’m doing right now because it’s something I always wanted to do. To do something for my country and make impact on people’s life. I’m living my life to the fullest. Most of all I’m happy.
Re-designing school and adding ECA
United World Schools Nepal is a seed of hope for the community of Majhuwa and I’m absoultely delighted to work with the understanding teachers, concerned parents and the helpful community. I have seen the school growing from worst to better. Before my arrival the school was in a devastated condition. The building was in a poor state, classrooms were dull and scratched everywhere on walls, very bad condition of windows and doors, toilets were dirty, there was no access of water, children were untidy, no implementation of rules and regulations. To make the school better we had kept weekly teachers meeting and monthly parents meeting. We came up with plans for the school and implemented it as soon as possible.
When the new ‘U’ shape building was completed we shifted our school with the help of community members. Community members helped in carrying desks, benches, boards to the new school. My previous education officer and I have changed the school pattern such as school timing, school assembly. We have been conducting extra curriculum activities every friday. EO and I were planning to fence a school. Mobilizing the local resources we came up with the idea of bamboo fencing. We held a parents meeting and told every parents to bring a bamboo. The other day all the members gathered together and using their skills, we splited the work such as cutting and keeping the bamboo pieces. We finally completed the beautiful fencing after working all day long with teachers and parents.
Few months later, EO, I and the Rijesh sir painted the ECD class using different colours in each class. After completion of ECD class, EO and I started to decorate the class to make a child-friendly classroom. We set the carpet on the floor instead of keeping benches for the safety of children. We had put shoe rack outside the ECD classroom. Slowly, calling out the community members we painted all the walls of school as well and then I started to decorate the each classrooms. We among the teachers set a routine to clean the toilets. There were so many buckets of colors. We kept the bucket in toilets and also made a tap for children so that they can wash their hands. Besides the bucket tap, I had put soap to set a healthy habits in children. I have cleaned the classrooms, school grounds. So that others will start as well. I had asked every children to bring a cartoon boxes so that we can use it for classroom dustbin. For the ground I had encouraged school principal to mobilize his skill and make a bamboo dustbin. Now we have kept 7 bamboo dustbins around the school’s premises. We have school play ground where we have seesaw of wood and the swings made up of rope and the woods. Also, a monkey climbing where children plays happily. We have set the our nation’s flag.
Learning from multiple roles
I have worked as a bell girl, cleaner, porter, carpenter, painter. I have been involved in every profession I can. On the occasion of international women’s day we had a flashmob against women’s violence which turned out to be a successful and encouraging movement. I have taught children how to brush their teeth and hands.I have counselled the children about their aims in life. I have corrected their clothes. I have cleaned their nose. I have guided them, suggested them, scolded them. I have been harsh to them for which I feel sorry but there is a love behind my scold. I have seen them being happy and sad. I have been like a mother to them. I feel proud when they achieve something. They share their foods with me and I feel happy whenever I hear them saying, I want to be a teacher like you. I feel as if I have succeeded. Although there is lot more to do. This year our school have upgraded upto class 6 and also there is a increase rate in the number of new students. Also, in the community meeting we decided to increase the salary of local teacher by raising fund to encourage her to do better in coming days.
By: Binata Gurung