During week two of my stay, along came picture day at Sunrise. All buttoned up and ready to smile, the little miniature people were rounded up by the teachers and set atop a chair to match the height of the camera. Afterwards a group picture was taken, but the kids didn’t shy away from a few selfies I wanted to take in the in the meantime.
Week two proved to be substantially difficult, as my U.K.G. (upper kindergarten) class not only seemed increasingly hard to control, but the Nepalese teacher in charge of this class insisted on stepping out and leaving me for extended periods of time with the children. I don’t have kids. I don’t have the raw experience to know how to handle a room of untamed little beasts. Much like American children, these cannot understand most of what you are saying unless you repeat it multiple times and use hand motions. However, these Nepalese children have an extra weapon in their arsenal: they can speak a language that I can’t understand. If ever they deem that trouble must occur, they can have a wide-open little conference meeting right in front of me and I have no clue what they are muttering. As you will learn later, this is how the older students cheat on tests when I’m proctoring.
The teacher kept stepping out. She would also choose to ignore the progress of certain children because they were falling behind. Thus, they had become a lost cause to her. I intentionally spent time with these slower-learning students to learn what helped them learn, to learn what they lacked. But I made a direct request to the principal of the school to help out with a different class instead, beginning the following week. I didn’t feel welcome in that class. I still wanted to teach the lower kindergarten class, however. I was gaining substantial ground and respect with them. The principal accepted the request gladly.
Week two at the host home is where I began to really bond with the family.
Anshu is my new 10-year old sister. She is the sharpest, fastest-learning, and funniest 5th grader I have ever known. She wants to be an “American rockstar”, “owner of a computer company”, and a “dancer” , “two of those three” she says. On week two after school each day, Anshu and I played games after dinner. Card games (matching, slaps, Uno), hidden object games, indoor improvised badminton using one racquet and a pair of shoes, arcade games on my computer, etc. On the weekend, we walked to the grocery store to buy chocolates. Cheap chocolates, expensive chocolates, and bottles of Coca-Cola. We made popsicles by putting the Coke in the freezer. Anshu’s older sister Abibsha, her aunt, and her cousin Kanchen joined us in a game of telephone pictionary, in which each person draws something, passes it, and the next person has to translate what they think it is (and so on).
Each meal always consists of rice. Breakfast might contain a donut or some bread and apples plus an egg. Lunch is dhal bat, dinner is dhal bat. Remember, dhal means lentil and bat means rice. The rice is always served with curried veggies of some sort. Lunch on Saturdays is always chow chow and tea. Sometimes milk tea.
By week two, I had figured that Sundays were the best day to do my laundry. This is done by hand in large metal bowls, and very slowly. The clothes are hung on the roof to dry for the next day. This process will be covered in detail in a topical post.
You will see soon that week three was when I began to feel more comfortable in this crazy country, and began to learn new things at a quicker rate. Here is a preview of some adventuring I made in week three...