In the last two months we have had floods, sun and snow in what should be the dry season in Nepal – this has caused havoc in the village….and excitement too!
On a sunny day, we took photos of the teachers both in our senior school and also in the Montessori school. Even in the short space of time since, we have welcomed Basanta onto the staff. We are also excited that we have our first ever administrative assistant at the school. Her name is Apsara Labung Limbu and she lives in Hangdewa with her Mum.
Just look at the pace of change in Hangdewa. When we first sponsored the school in 2007, we built our own tiny hydro-electric generator (a pool of water higher up the mountain) for light bulbs and a few old laptops. Most villagers managed without any electricity. Now we have plentiful (unreliable) electricity from the hydro-dam built below the village by the Chinese….and lights in Taplejung for the festival of light (Tihar/Diwali). There are even some ‘Christmas tree’ type lights for the dance in the village!
The rain caused the real problems. Just as the harvest was ready, the fierce downpour pushed over millet and rice heads into mud and ruined crops. Roads were swept away in landslides which became impossible to navigate, sadly causing an ambulance to topple over.
Our sponsored student, Bharosha, studying Agricultural Science at home online, at last went to her university for the start of term…only to discover the halls of residence were unfinished, the town was flooded, and any higher-up rooms were suddenly expensive and hard to come by. Her friend offered her space on her floor, only to get there and find it flooded. She kept smiling.
Our Practical Science room construction was held up again, with materials unable to cross the landslide. Such is life in the Himalayas.
We were lucky enough to have Dr Denis Cruse, who headed up Chemistry at Haileybury School in the UK, advise us on room layout and what equipment and chemicals we needed. Together with the local advice of our new Science teacher, Siddhartha Limbu, we are now racing ahead, making the most of any sunny days; we now have a roof! Advice also included what to do with toxic chemicals high in the remote Eastern Himalayas. Currently, STEM is taught in general classrooms, but we are still proud of what can be done: above is Feshan’s cardboard excavator moved by pistons.
We have also started planning our creative space next door to the science room; it will be a library, music, and art room. For music we shall buy traditional Nepali madals (above, see them used at a local wedding) and guitars. We have been donated money for photography (6 digital SLRs)…..with big plans for our top class helping to create a guidebook and sell beautiful photos online (with help from new Trustee, Julia Mueller).
Wings for the World are as important to us as Responsibility and Local Awareness. We have several projects on the go, including a guidebook.
One of our Mentors lives in Worcestershire and her three children go to First Beoley, a school for 97 boys and girls aged 4-9. The head teacher, Ben Irving, has created a year’s project which will help both his and our children get to know each others’ countries and localities, as well as their own. The ‘Introductory Postcards’ (left) set the scene for the next phase: ‘My View’. Children will look out of their windows, notice what they see around them and share these with their new friends. There is no guidebook to Hangdewa, so our children will create one! The project continues to span outwards to the Region and the country.
Plenty to see in the snow , as some of our alumni have been discovering. Pathibara Temple is always popular.
New Trustee at Q. Learning Nepal Trust CIO
We are delighted to have a new Trustee: Julia Mueller. She brings Digital Marketing/Commerce expertise to our Board and to read more about her go to: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/juliamuller
Julia was born in the mountains of Austria and has experience of renting out her villa there to tourists – we are still planning for visitors to come to our superb villa.
Our Children attend school Sunday to Monday for about 300 days a year. They have exams 4 times a year because class ranking means something to their parents, many of whom are illiterate. We monitor carefully how children are doing. We have had money donated so that we can help some children ‘catch up’ after lockdown and many attend school from 6.30am-3.30pm to attend extra classes or coaching. We believe that extra-curricular activities play an important part in nurturing well-being and creativity. Here are photos of the inter-house quiz the prefects organised and ‘no pen day’.
Thank you for all your wonderful support in 2021.
Wishing all our friends around the world a very Happy New Year 2022…..and on April 14th, it will be the Nepali New Year 2079!