Last week I had an opportunity to join Meet Up event in Prague and meet with passionate backpackers and travelers. During the 3 hours meeting there were 3 different presentations: one about traveling in Nicaragua, second about traveling in Panama and I was the third speaker and shared slightly different type of the story: voluntary work experience in Nepal.
Today I would like to invite you for a one day visit in the Nepalese Orphanage.
Usually children woke up between 6.30-7.00 am, and if they still have some homework to be done that they did not finish previous day, morning is the right time to do it. There are no tables in the house, children do the homework and eat while seating on the floor, on the carpets.
The breakfast is prepared by older children and usually consists of dal bhat: lentil soup and steamed rice. They use right hand to eat, but not because they do not know how to eat by fork and spoon, but because it's natural for them to eat this way like for most of western people to eat by the use of cutlery. During the day they eat 3 meals: breakfast, lunch at school that consists of cookies or crackers and water. For dinner dhal bhat with vegetables like cauliflower or potatoes is served again. Their diet is mostly vegetarian. Once or twice a month they eat chicken. I never took a picture of children having meal, as I felt it is such an intimate and important part of the day for them.
The part of the daily routine is also taking care of the home temple: lighting the candle and offering fresh flowers.
After the breakfast it's time to get ready to school. All the children wear uniforms. It's very important for girls to make good looking hairstyle to school and tie ribbons around pony tails and braids. When all the backpacks are ready it is time to go to school. They go through the rice fields around 15-20 min. At school children spend usually 6-7 hours from 9.30 am to 3.30,4.30 pm depends on the day.
Classes take place from Sunday until Friday and Saturday is a day off. There is a winter break in February - 2 weeks and one month break devoted for the spiritual festivals that usually takes place in October. Classrooms are very basic. Studying materials are limited to books and workbooks. There are no computers at school. It would be very difficult to use them as the energy shortage might reach even 10 hours per day and is unnoticed. Children learn all subjects in English and they have 5 main subjects: English, Nepalese Language, Math, Social studies Environmental studies. Twice a year there are exams that children have to pass in order to go to the next grade. There is a temple close to the school and field used for the physical exercises.
After the school it is the time for children for 1-1,5 hours of break before they will need to come back to the house and do the homework. I have to admit that children study a lot as they know that education for them is an opportunity for the better life. Some of them want to become a doctor, engineer, nurse, soldier or an actor. They all have dreams, like we do have.
When the homework is done it is time to prepare the dinner and go to sleep. On Saturday, when the children have free day from school they usually play outside, study and in the evening watch TV. Their favorite movies are Bollywood movies and their favorite cartoon is Kung Fu Panda.
I came to that Orphanage to teach and practice with children English, spend free time with them and help with the daily house chores. I was supposed to be a teacher, but I felt like I am a student that is learning from them joy, happiness, no matter what the surrounding conditions are.