My Experience in Nepal
Looking back now I am incredibly proud of myself and over the moon for having done this experience. I feel very fortunate for getting a chance to witness how children in Nepal learn and live. During my time there we had very limited water which made washing incredibly difficult and most of it was contaminated so drinking water was a rarity. With it almost being the monsoon season, there was often no electricity so fans and refrigerators did not work. Also being as it was summer it was superbly hot. Regarding food, we used to eat just once a day in the evening. Despite all these factors, I couldn’t put a price on how the experience has shaped me. I knew at the time I would come home to clean water, electricity and food but these children would not. This is how they live everyday. Coming back I worshipped the belongings that I own as I know that I am incredibly privilege compared to some of the children there. Even explaining to them how we live in London was an alien-like dream to them. They were in shock at how one world can have such extremes of living.
With the Eleanor trust fund I managed to pay for the accommodation at the orphanage. Living on site meant we really got to know the children. Leaving there was hard enough; I couldn’t imagine how it would be to be there longer. The children are what have made the best memories of Nepal. Their personality shines through and they are truly incredibly people. If there were living here in London they would all thrive as individual and become success people. However, where they live those opportunities to thrive are almost impossible. To them they feel they will be stuck in the small town in the middle of a forest/national park for years. We had brought resources with us from England to give to the children and the orphanage. They were so appreciative to have these things. These smalls items are their treasured belongings that we take for granted.
During my time there I did not only support the children at the orphanage but also worked in a school. Here children were aged 3 to 16 and I was given an opportunity to teach in all years. Wow was it amazing. I was here with three of my friends from university. They all could speak a little Urdu which meant they could communicate with the children more than I could. Despite the language barrier, I still managed to get across what I meant through actions, and expression. During teaching, I found I used a lot of pictures/object and drama. Often they would stare at me (like is she a crazy women). This is because they haven’t been taught that way before. They learn through rote learning. The teacher reads a passage. The children follow. The teacher reads it again and asks questions that the children must answer without the text in front of them. They learn through memorising only. A friend and I were given an opportunity to teach a class this way with the help of their teacher. We found it very restricting and difficult. I felt like I wanted to throw the books out the window and liven up the classroom. This lesson made me really appreciate our schools here and gives me more passion for teaching.
On our last day of school, we had decided to feed every child and teaching in the school watermelon. We had ordered 20kg of the largest melons from the local market and spent time cutting it up and handing it out to children. This was such a heart-warming time. Children would be greedily eating the melons as their do not get lunch at school. They would call to us for more and scream out ‘thank you’. Also, on our last day we were given a small ceremony by the whole school. This was because we had raised money to supply one whiteboard for each classroom. We initial put our money together to get one. Then we informed our friends and family and within a day had enough money for a whiteboard per class. The school was so joyed. No more blackboard, no more chalk dust; better health, better education.
I have so many memories of my trip to Nepal I could write a whole book on it. During the time I kept a diary which now looking back on it makes me smile. I am so happy I wrote one as I feel that the experience was one I could never replicate. I would definite teach aboard again but this being my first experience will be the one that truly has shaped my way of teaching and who I am as a person.
If you would like to see some videos and more pictures from Christina’s trip please follow the links below: