Tuesday November 17th

Another exhausting day! However, we are beginning to see some sort of a routine develop and today Janice and I had a big break through with the staff.  In the past it seems to have been only in the last week that volunteers have got into the staff room and really got to know the teachers, building trust with them and greater willingness to talk and improve their English, which in many cases is very basic.  We decided before we came that we wanted to avoid this if at all possible as it seems such a missed opportunity. So ….. we decided to bring some English biscuits to break the ice and try to get in there as soon as possible.  We took the biscuits last Friday, but it was so chaotic that it was impossible to do that day, so we left them in our room, for yesterday.  When we arrived yesterday morning there was no sign of them!  Some of the children live in the school all the time and apparently the volunteer’s room is not locked – so no prizes for guessing where they went!  Two large boxes of very expensive Scottish shortbread have been guzzled by hungry little mouths – hope they really enjoyed them!  Nothing daunted Janice and I decided to use our so called ‘free period’ this morning to ask if we could go and talk to those staff who are also free.  This is a total mystery to us as there are often five or six teachers in the staffroom and several classes without teachers at all!! We can only think that because they mostly teach their own subjects they won’t teach anything else.  The unions are very strong here at present, we’ve been told.  It’s one of many things we want to get to the bottom of.

Most of the female teachers are very young – 19-22 ish, and have only the equivalent of A’levels.  They were very shy to begin with, but once we started to show them the pictures of our families they really opened up and began to talk about their own.  Many of them have fathers and brothers who work in India, the Arab Emirates and some in China and Tibet.  They are often away for months, if not years,  at a time and so households can be very female dominated.   The two girls on either side of me in the picture are cousins living in the same family and have invited the three of us to the twenty first birthday party of the girl in blue.  That will be quite an experience!  They are so keen to learn, but very fearful of looking stupid in front of their peers, so we have had to be hugely encouraging, and trying out our Nepalese to show them just how good they are by comparison.

I took class 9 today for the first time – they are sixteen and doing their leaving certificate this year.  Their English is amazingly good, bearing in mind that this school was only founded in 2001 and before that they had no education. They wrote letters to the girls at Ockbrook which are really extremely well put together, and very touching in what they say. I will email them so that hopefully there can be replies before I return home.

As well as the Y7 and 8 classes I went back to the kindergarten  with Janice for another ‘music’ session.  We discovered that the children had learnt two of the three songs we taught them yesterday, and had sung them to Uttam this morning.  As you can see from the photos they are gorgeous children and they were fascinated and very quickly  picked upon the repeated phrases, shouting ‘I’m not  scared!’   and ‘Ugh ugh’ every time a new obstacle was encountered.  It was huge fun.

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One Response to “Tuesday November 17th”

  1. anne from finland Says:

    Hi Margaret, It so lovely to read what have you done there!!! If I could be there with you!!!! It is so interesting to learn to know other cultures. Many greetings from all of us!

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