By Prakash Shrestha: at 2017-07-09 00:00:00
My volunteering experience was spent at Shree Devi Bhotang Secondary School, in the village of Bhotang, where I taught English ranging from Grades 1 to 10.
When I first arrived, the children were quite hesitant to speak English and hide behind their mothers’ skirts when I approached them. However, this shyness did not last long! Within a few days of my arrival, all the children would run out of their homes shouting “Namaste Miss!” as I walked to school with some of the older children.
My accommodation was fantastic, comfortable and I had a room to myself, which was a real luxury. Didi (meaning elder sister), the lady whose house I stayed in and I became very close. Although she spoke no English and I no Tamang, she quickly became my second mother. Every morning we would have tea and roti together for breakfast, and upon my return from school in the afternoon, she would be waiting for me with a cup of steaming tea and a plate of my favourite biscuits!
I had thought I would spend a lot of time on my own during my placement, but I was continuously invited out to tea at villager’s houses, or going on hikes, organised by the other teachers from the school. I was there in the summer months, when it is warm enough to sit outside in the afternoons and early evenings, and the villagers all sit outside their homes watching the comings and goings of village life. It is here that I made great friends with a number of women who would soon become my daily knitting group!
One of the biggest challenges of teaching at Bhotang is that the new school is currently being built, so lessons take place in TLCs (Temporary Learning Centres). During the monsoon season, the rain falls loudly on the steel roofs, making the acoustics of the classroom very difficult to teach in. But to the credit of the students, they continued on with their lesson as if nothing had happened, something that I am not sure my class back in the UK would have done!
The relentless hardwork of the teachers at Bhotang was something that will stay with me forever. They work tirelessly for their students, creating extra tuition classes in the morning for those who need extra support, and opening their homes to students to help with homework.
I absolutely loved my experience in Bhotang and will definitely be returning to volunteer in the future.
Kinvara Jardine Paterson