It is Friday afternoon and it’s time off at Chaurikharka school! That gives me the occasion to provide some news from Nepal. I am in the sitting room of our lodge, several teachers have stopped by to have some tea, there are bouts of laughter and discussions in Nepalese: I don’t understand anything but I like listening to them. Outside it has just started to rain; I do hope it will calm down before Aurélien comes back from his carpentry occupation. Ah no, it’s not time off on the work site!
I am Cécile, I am 25 years old and finished my training as a primary teacher last June. This initial year of replacements has given me the opportunity to experience a new adventure, this time in the company of my brother Aurélien, 19 years old (celebrated in Nepal!). Having terminated college, he decided to take a break in favour of a different kind of year and will be here until next May.
We arrived last Sunday in the pretty Khumbu valley. It kept us on tenterhooks since we had to wait four extra days at Kathmandu before being able to fly to Lukla. That enabled us to discover the capital and its effervescence – what a life! It made me think of those large books for children: you know, the ones with thousands of coloured details in which scenes follow on rapidly, each one more unbelievable than the last. The same thing – only for real! I did not have enough senses to observe everything. The pollution level is unfortunately very high and the experienced waiting period gave a very special colour to the joy of being able to reach Lukla.
After several failed attempts (the airport staff began to know us quite well!), the weather conditions were finally favourable. Dependence on the weather is the first contact with the reality of the high mountain terrain… You really feel small here!
After having landed on one of the most dangerous airports in the world (don’t worry, Mummy, all went well!), Kunga came to collect us and we set off for Cheplung, a hamlet about 40 minutes away from Lukla. On foot, that is ! That’s right, here there are no cars less than 2 days’ walk away! Everything you see, eat, drink or use has been carried… That gives a very different aspect to every little thing around us.
We are welcomed to the family of Sonam and Kunga. Their generosity and availability are such that we will certainly have to write about them very soon!
Every morning, we follow a small path to reach Chaurikharka school, which takes us about 15 minutes. Numerous children are already playing in the courtyard, dust flies and laughter can be heard… In the same space, a stock of windows, a wheelbarrow and wooden planks keep the company of a pile of stones: remains of the old school which suffered from the earthquake.
Brand new buildings now stand proudly around the courtyard: the site is progressing well! Today, large fences have been dismantled to reveal the future infant school. The secondary school is already well advanced; the painters are now at work putting the final coat on the door frames. At the primary school, the major part of the work is complete and the internal finishing touches will be executed shortly.For his part, Aurélien is giving a hand with the carpentry : sawing planks in order to make skirting boards, he is beginning to be a pro!For my part, I am occupied with teaching. During the first three days, I accompanied Miss Rubikha in her nursery class (5 year olds) and I was able to compare my experiences with Nepalese reality – not quite the same as at teaching college!
From time to time, I was “requisitioned” by Mr. Purna, an English teacher who gives his course with a touch of humour, not forgetting a lovely beret and a well knotted tie. His idea is to be able to show the European look to his pupils – rather nice!
Wednesday afternoon, while going round the school with Lakpa Thering, international coordinator, we learned that a teacher had to go back to his family and that all his class had consequently been without a teacher for several days.
And that is how, at the next bell, that is exactly 7 minutes later, I was nominated principal teacher of Grade 3 class ! Happily leaving Nepalese and lhama (Sherpa language) to my colleagues, I discover English, maths and sociology with my 14 pupils aged between 9 and 12 years old. It’s a great challenge, but very satisfying!
We are very happy to be living here for several weeks. This project of Luklass is great and is bearing its fruits: thanks to everyone! I’ll be back soon for the next news!