A Message from Jolana

Chiya khanos! (Please drink the tea!)

I wonder how many exhausted bodies were saved on a good cup of tea. Is this the answer to every problem?

Here in Nepal you get milk tea with exaggerated amount of sugar. I also recommend the coconut biscuits – the yellow wrapper one’s with pictures of coconut trees. They are on those lower shelves made in Nepal and cost about 10-20rs. Far better deal than the imported once!

The family we stayed in Aandhimul did not have tea so we got hot water for a breakfast – some families also do not have sugar in remote areas so they put a little salt in the black tea. I’ve learned how to say do not put salt in tea in Nepali and it really improved the taste!

The Aandhimul village is one of the most beautiful places. I get caught by the variety of butterflies and other insects and then have to remind myself to keep looking at the slippery ground, and its narrow winding paths. It is a constant up and down, and after 10am it becomes a real struggle to walk any distance as the sun burns onto the paddy fields.

Our room in Aandhimul, although we have comfortable self inflatable mattress, sleeping bag and mosquito net – is damp and dark – made from local red mud. Now and again the neighbouring wall falls inside of our room – I’m not talking about the spiders – I’ve never seen such fine examples – really glad to have the net! The Dust and Damp is an invitation to chesty coughs and snotty noses.

Kitchens here are made of small clay ovens – fed with wood – brought by woman or children on their backs. Unfortunately, the chimney has never been introduced so you end up with incredibly smoky kitchens, old ‘didi’ or young ‘bahini’ suffocating with tears in their eyes.

The children here are beautiful, even though some very dirty and neglected. Boys have no boundaries and some girls are pulled out of schools to attend to cooking duties, collecting food for the animals, getting water and looking after their younger brothers and sisters, and finally getting ready for the local village, married life ahead .

I’ve spent many times in total confusion and not understanding – asking what’s first and what possibly can work and what little change can be introduced easily. I had a strong feeling that I would find it within this community. I’m still looking.

In April we introduced teacher training workshops thanks to Angela and Yoshie for bringing great teaching materials – we were able to present some really creative ways of teaching. These included – management of class, lesson planning, mathematics art workshops, story telling, music, body coordination.

We have also linked our teachers to successful day care centre in Bandipur, and I was really pleased to hear from Mon what impact this has made to our 2 pre-school teachers (Mina and Pampha). This inspiration has brought something knew to them and they started creating their own teaching materials using some cardboard paper and some other the materials we brought.

In May, our project’s aim is to improve the water infrastructure, while still supporting our teachers in our school. I’m also planning a health care programme. Lee and myself are staying behind enjoying more views and the local dal bhatt diet.

We said good byes to Angela and Yoshie in Kathmandu with organic food and beer to send them off – both who will be missed in Aandhimul!

I’ve recently met a very talented musician and would also like to invite him for a day of music in Aandhimul. As music has a common language, I hope to introduce another strong bond which does not require spoken words!

I hope to keep you updated with any new progress but in Nepali style! (when place and electricity allows!)

Till then, I hope you can enjoy your special brew!

Lots of love, Jolana!

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