We have now completed all of our school visits – it has been a busy six months and in particular the last 6 weeks have been very hectic and it has all gone so quickly.
|Saran's wife, Santi, with their son Sohan.|
Having finally sorted out his visa and paid the fine for not getting it renewed on time (in some part due to it being a public holiday!), Andy made his way back to Bhalebas and was met by Saran on his bike, who rode him, heavily laden up to the village where he met up with Rob again who had been teaching that day in the school.
We spent the evening down at BJ’s small bar / café opposite the school and had a couple of drinks and snacks before returning home to Saran’s home for an enormous Dahl Baht!
|Andy's leaf art!|
We had a good day the next day making boxes, doing our leaf art, some PE and various other lessons with the children before a leaving ceremony was held for us and the teachers presented us with some very smart looking waistcoats made out of the traditional Palpa Dhaka material. The schools have all been so generous with the gifts they have given us and Bhalebas, particularly was very hard to say goodbye to. The teachers also put some food on for us and it was a really nice send off.
|With our new waistcoats, a gift from Bhalebas school.|
|Boys at Dumre enjoying their art lesson|
This was also the time of the annual fair in Tansen and there was a lot of excitement around this. The whole of Tundikhel, the big flat sports ground that perches on the edge of the hill, was covered with marquees, various stalls selling anything and everything and lots of different fair ground rides. The most exciting part of the fair was the arrival of a helicopter from Pokhara. This helicopter is usually used for tourist flights to see the Himalayas but it was down in Tansen for a couple of days. We decided that it would be a nice idea to treat our homestay family to a flight in the helicopter. We got confirmation that the flight was on that morning on the bus down and phoned up and told Dhani who broke the news to Abhi and Deepa. They phoned back a few minutes later screaming with excitement. It was a really lovely moment!
|A nice bit of colour to add to the classroom.|
We taught for the day at Dumre but actually returned that evening to Tansen as we had more materials to bring the next day. We again did lots of exciting activities with them; the boxes, handpainting, leaf art, measurement of different jumps and lots of PE lessons too. It was a really great visit to the school and the teachers took a real interest in what we were doing.
|Experimenting with phones!|
On our final night we stayed in the school and there was a short break for the children as they threw a rather impromptu and quite strange dance party in one of the classrooms. It did feel rather odd to be dancing around in a classroom at that time of night.
We slept in the library along with two other teachers. It was not the most comfortable of nights but we only had a short morning (as it was Friday) to teach the next morning before saying our final goodbyes and heading back to Tansen.
In the afternoon we went down to the fair with Abhi and Deepa and had a go on some of the rides. It has to be said that the rides are a lot scarier when you have very real concerns about health and safety standards. On the Pirate ship there were people clinging onto the back railing not in a seat at all and no-one seemed to bat an eyelid!
|In the nursery at Dumre.|
|With their posters after learning about the colours of the rainbow.|
|With the family before our helicopter ride.|
|A perfect day with clear views of the Himalayas.|
The next morning we were up early and we headed down to Tundikhel where the helicopter was taking off from, with the Bashayal family. Janaki, Abhi and Deepa had never been up in the air before. Dhani had initially said there was no need to get him a ticket but eventually we had persuaded him to go too. He had been on a plane before but perhaps looked more nervous than anyone else. Abhi, in particular was very excited by it all. In typical Nepali style we had a long wait but eventually it came round to our turn. It was only a four seater helicopter (including the pilot) and so we split it so that Andy, Abhi and Janaki went up on the first flight and Rob was joined by Deepa and Dhani on the second flight.
|Abhi shouted out that it was the best moment of his life! Amazing!|
Despite being short the flight was simply awesome! It took us right over Tansen and down towards Rani Mahal where we had trekked previously. It was the perfect day for it with clear blue skies. The scenery, with the hills and the Himalaya’s off in the distance, crisp and white, was stunning. As we were coming into land Abhi shouted out “This is the best part of my life!” which was fantastic to hear and we both felt more excited for the others taking the flight than we did ourselves. For the next few days it was a big topic of conversation – it really was a memorable experience for all.
In the afternoon we went back to the fair, with Abhi and Deepa, and went on some of the rides. One attraction in particular caught our eye. There was a huge round bowl and stuntmen and women were riding motorbikes and cars round the edge with no hands and doing all kinds of tricks. It was amazing to see and probably not something you’d ever see in England given our more stringent health and safety regulations.
The following day we returned, this time with Biju, Kamala and Sushmi, our friends from Tansen. We had another good day just wandering around. We even had the dubious honour of seeing the ‘Indian Idol’ perform, though we didn’t stick around too long for that!
|Finally doing some teaching at Pipal Danda.|
Happily we did get one day at Pipal Danda school and it was really great to visit for teaching rather than to discuss building work. It was however great to see that they had made some kind of a start to the toilet block so hopefully they shouldn’t all have to share for too much longer! We had a really good day at Pipal Danda and after all of the tough times there it was great to end things on a positive note. We have now finished our teaching programme now as we are next heading out to Bardia National Park out in the far West. The time has gone so quickly but we do feel we have made a positive impact in the schools and they are all looking forward to the next Manisha UK volunteers coming out next Autumn. It is sad knowing time is now running out and we won’t be working in the schools again as they are now preparing for their important exams.
We'll leave you for now with a few more pictures from the fair and our days teaching at Pipal Danda.
Andy & Rob.
|The fair attracted big crowds and there was a lot of excitement in Tansen.|
|The Pirate Ship - the boys you can see aren't actually sat down. They are stood at the back with nothing keeping them in.|
|The lady was doing this with no hands and taking money off the people above. Cars also went round!|
|Rob and Deepa on one of the more vomit inducing rides!!|
|Hokey Cokey at Pipal Danda|
|Focussed on her cutting!|
|Waving goodbye to our last set of pupils - very sad.|
|With the teachers at Pipal Danda and hopefully a fresh start.|