The whole Project Nepal group finally reunited last night as the last of us arrived at Maya Universe Academy. Those who arrived a few days earlier have been teaching lessons in Chinese, Arts and Science. Woojin actually cut up a pig’s heart for one of their lessons yesterday!
The school complex is very large which was surprising considering its location, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, a jungle in the mountains. There are around 70 orphans here who live in hostels at the school. When the day pupils arrive, the total number of children increases to about 200. They are divided into small classes of around 10 to 20.
When we arrived, we were welcomed by Bas, the second leader in charge. He gave us a tour around the school complex, including the waterfall of water from which we would shower, wash our clothes and drink from; the fountain of life. The water from the supplying aquifer is so clean that the village is named after it, Chisopani (which means cold water). He also showed us the classroom that the previous Imperial College volunteers had built, which he claims is much stronger and sturdier than the other bamboo classrooms (you go guys!)
The children are so bubbly and gleeful, they would run up to us introducing themselves and asking for our names whilst holding on to our hands.
In the evening we joined them for dinner which was quite an event. Dal Baht was served with pork from the pig they had killed from their farm today. Apparently the pig weighed 90kg!
After cleaning our plates, the children blasted out some music from some speakers in the corner of the room. The slightly raised platform served as a stage for singing and dancing. Within an hour, all the children came to life and were singing their hearts away and dancing as if there were no tomorrow. Of course, the volunteers happily joined in and embraced our roles as climbing frames.
While half of the group went to one of the children’s birthday parties, the other half spent a relaxing night stargazing on the roof. The skies were crystal clear and there were so many stars, we just lay there in awe. Another group of volunteers from Kent University also joined us on the roof, the roof was about to collapse!
Being at the school with limited facilities is such a humbling experience for us all and we are trying to keep our spirits high. It is so important that we as a team motivate and support each other in our work, especially as a few of us are now falling ill. We can imagine how the next few weeks here will test our teamwork skills and unite us as a group.
Publicity Officer and Social Secretary