My first morning, I was awoken to the sounds of kids playing and adults talking, and as I should be used to now. There’s no such thing as a lie-in in bed here in Nepal. Come sunrise, and people are up. I took the first image above just after I had awoken, with one of the young lads catching sight of me. So, very quickly I was out of bed and down to wash my face and quickly greeted with a black tea, a cultural habit in the morning. In Bandipur when living with a middle class family biscuits are included. However, here in Aandhimul you are lucky to get tea, and was very thankful of that.
Actually, the first 3-4 hours in the mornings are usually related to household duties such as collecting fire wood, collecting branches and leaves from the forest to feed the cows and goats, if they have any, not many families do. Maybe 10 out of the 51 houses in the village have large animals, and a few more may have a chicken or 2. They may also do some work on their land, if they are growing any crops, but again, very few families do or even have any land. And also they prepare for breakfast, dal bhatt. But for many of the poorer families they only sometimes have rice and water, and if they can afford it lentils or some vegetables, or as mentioned on the previous blog, meat.
So, once we had breakfast if was off to start working in the school. As you can see in image 3, we started to clear the rooms in the main building, and again another lady teacher wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty and do some lifting. We had to clear everything from one room first so we could start preparing the rooms to be re-rendered and have new floors. You can see in images 4 and 5 where we started to remove old stones and earth, and the headteacher also joined in the action with the pick axe, and then removing the debris from the room (as seen in image 8).
During this time the school was still going ahead, and some classes had to be moved out into the sunshine. But the children didn’t seem to mind, and at this time of the year there’s much sun and it’s not too hot.
Whilst some were working inside the school, there were 5 other men shovling sand into sacks from the roadside at the top of the hill and carrying them on their backs to the school. With 2 tractor loads of sand and 30 bags of cement and 5 men carrying it was estimated to take almost 10 days. This just made me realise how difficult things can be if you don’t have good infrastrucutre within a country and just the problem with the terrain as well. But there wasn’t much we could do and the materials were needed as soon as possible before the skill labourers could start their work on the school.
You can also see the children in images 10-11 and the video below having their lunch which currently consists of dry snacks and noodles, not very nutritious and as mentioned in the blog from Setograss 6th November we want to change their food to a hot and nutritious snack consisting of many cereals and pulses, that should hopefully being implemented next week.