Friday, July 31, 2009


Glorious Sunrise!

I've been back from Kathmandu now for a few days. Many people were glad to see me and welcomed me back with smiles, Namaste, and nodding glances from across the village paved walkway... it felt good to be back as well. Strangely, I felt so comfortable returning I forgot where I was and started to brush my teeth with the tap water~ it was as if I were "home"!!! OMG! I caught myself, but had to chuckle, how quickly we adapt to things.

Morning view on the Buddhist Shrine, Bandipur~ it looked like a painting.

The rain has finally started here in Bandipur and thankfully the weather has cooled off as a result. It had become unbearable HOT in the past few weeks and there was a water shortage~ these two conditions made life uncomfortable....but we could see amazing views of the mountains, so that was a good thing. I welcome the cooler weather and feel grateful for the abundance of water that is now present in least for now. Nepalese people really know how to "roll with it" and are resourceful. The village children were happy I returned and when I showed up on the porch with my storybook for the evening I was instantly surrounded by smiling faces and the excited sound of happy kids~ they wanted their story! They asked Sujan when I was gone..."When is the American coming?" (I need to tell them my name again!!! Tonight!)

Here Digumber is speaking with Bindyia, one of our scholarship girls, he is telling her to tell the other girls that we will be taking class each day. Nepali people, especially girls/women, do not express emotions outwardly, they are taught to keep them inside. This is rather different for oftentimes it seems as if they are sad or angry, when in reality they are not. Digumber shaves his head each year in remembrance of his father who passed away many years ago~ this is a cultural tradition among many in Nepal and India.

This is a picture of Digumber and his dedicated staff members, and some of my English students and friends here in Nepal. They are planting plants~ the staff members here are like a family and I have come to really love them as they are so kind and gentle. They always have a smile and they work so hard and are so thankful for everything.... amazing.

Everyone has been so good to me here. Our president in Nepal, Digumber Piya, has really made me feel very comfortable here and arranged many things for me, and I cannot thank him enough. The Nepali people, and especially the Newari people (Bandipur is a Newari village) are so loving, gentle, and kind. Digumber is a leader in many places in Nepal and somewhat of a celebrity (even among the Nepali people we've met in California...they KNOW's so crazy!) He helps many people through his volunteer work and I see him taking care of many business aspects, but always keeping an eye on helping those who need help and finding ways to preserve his culture and enhance the environment. I think the world would be a much better place if more of us worked in the spirit of helping others as well as helping ourselves. It's good to see. He's a good man and many of the young people look to him as a role model.
time for me to teach!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Kathmandu, Time & the Monsoon~

This picture cannot adequately give you the full experience of the traffic, people, animals, pollution, noises...honking and engine's overwhelming to the senses. You must watch your step due to pot holes, animals, people, and any other assortment of issues, as you also watch for your store. I am getting good at crossing the street through traffic~ this is a real art. There are NO pedestrian laws here and so far, I have seen only one crossing light and people follow the light rules only partially! :) Keeps you alert!!!!

The beautiful bookstore where we will get our books for the library and supplies to help support the scholarship schools.

I've been in Kathmandu for four days now and will return to Bandipur today after lunch. It's been a successful trip since I was able to go to the EKTA Bookstore and choose many of the books for the library, visit with a Nepali friend~ Ramita, get my technology issues settled, and do a little shopping. For some reason things seem to take longer here (at least for me) in Nepal. In America I can do all of those things in one day, and here it seems to have taken me four days and I was "working hard"!!! I think there is just a difference in life in general~ just moving through the city of Kathmandu can be a challenge as the traffic is horrendous at times. I have also moved in and out of feeling ill and it is always a challenge to know if what you are about to eat is "safe" or not! I just think, "That which does not kill you makes you stronger", I hope it's true.

Flooded street in Kathmandu...people are swimming!

The rain has been torrential and one day as I stepped off the curb to get into a taxi my entire leg disappeared up to my knee in a puddle....OMG! I thought....that is so not good. I climbed into the taxi, smiled, and told the driver where I needed to go. People were literally swimming through the street and sidewalks and I could feel the water under the small taxi as well. Oh all ended well I made it to Ramita's office in Thamel.

Shopping in Thamel is fun! The shopkeepers all want to make a deal with you, especially now since tourist season has not really started yet. Once they know you are American or European they instantly hike the price 5x. I understand, but find this practice to be annoying since I am not a rich person myself. I believe in a fair price and I always error on the side of graciousness with tipping and paying for services and goods, but I don't like being "ripped off"'s a matter of principle. I have left many a deal because of this.

Yesterday I needed to buy an umbrella because I left mine in the manager's bag when riding the bus to Kathmandu. I stopped by a shop where a little Nepalese woman was working. She showed me the different types of umbrellas and we chatted for some time. She had only one eye because when she was a child she was very active and despite her parents warnings to not be so active, she still was, and one time literally poked her eye out. (Poor thing...) she was telling me this story. She said that her parents told her each year they would get her another eye, but each year they were not able to...She was so matter of fact and as I listened I tried to really listen and empathize with her. I told her I was sorry that happened to her, but that I was glad she still had one eye and how I thought she was quite pretty! She smiled and said..."Yeh, this is good...just this." (she was putting her hands on her hips and pointing out her body!) It was so cute! We spoke English and Nepali together (poorly~ I may add) and it was fun! I wish I had taken her picture now...but I did not. :)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Story Time~

Sujan with the kids! They love him!

Each night I read a story to the kids in the village on the porch of the hotel. They begin to look for me somewhere around 6:00 p.m. and if I have not appeared with book in hand within the hour, they begin to ask the staff where I am!

They sit down quietly as I attempt to read them a story... They love to "repeat" the sentences immediately after I read them and I go with it...hard to keep continuity at times, but I think this is how they are read to in school and perhaps it does help them learn how to pronounce the words and sentences. Regardless, they enjoy it immensely and so do I.

One of the staff members, Sujan, is a natural born teacher and he jumps right in to help facilitate and works with the kids so nicely. He clearly loves kids and it makes me smile when I see him with them! The other day we brought out a stack of books after the story and it was like reading frenzy!!!! Hilarious~ kids and books were everywhere...the village people just looked at us all like we were a bit odd... I just smile and say, "Namaste!" :)

they are getting used to me....

Working With the Scholarship Girls~

Here the girls are working on posters about themselves that I brought from America. They are currently on their "vacation" but each day they insist on homework and bring back sentences and writing that clearly display tremendous effort and great appreciation! :) I write comments on their papers and correct their grammar/spelling errors...they love it!

Working with the scholarship girls has been so fun! They are very smart and enthusiastic to learn. We work together each day for two hours, from 10-12. Each day we work on a variety of objectives... I enjoy making the learning fun and interactive and they are not used to this type of teaching and learning. I often get straight faces and have to ask directly for feedback from them! Each day I ask them to reflect on their learning and they are now beginning to feel comfortable with this activity. They are beginning to smile, laugh, and interact during the lessons and when I see them in the village their little faces just light up and it makes my heart so happy!


It is fun to meet with them each day and see the fruit of their labor~ They truly value their education and want to be challenged and pushed academically~ so amazing!


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Life in Nepal~

This is the view from my window! :)

I have to say, despite the wonderful enthusiasm and positive spirit I possess, I have had my moments of feeling really down here because I miss you all. Without a cell phone, internet, and no other way to have contact with "my people" ~ I have been so homesick... but when I am feeling down I listen to India Arie, look at my pictures, and journal....I remember why I am here and I "feel better"....

Can you imagine I am walking through the hillsides blasting my ipod and it's heaven! India Arie, Cat Stevens, YoYou Ma, and all the other music I love...funny...

anyway...I just wanted to share that...
it's not easy to be away from those you love...I so appreciate the emails and messages I've received from all of you..thank you, thank you, thank you....

I became ill the other day after a "small party" with the women in the village...(I teach them English each day and we have become quite friendly....) they brought peanut butter, jelly, bread, and milk tea to class and it was quite fun! I think maybe, my tummy couldn't hang with the water from the milk tea...but whatever, the next day I was and I felt awful... I was supposed to meet with the library furniture maker and I couldn't leave my hotel... I looked at one of the staff members of the hotel and said, "I want my mommy!!!" I literally wanted to cry..he was so sweet...he said, "I will go and find her."

A bit later I saw him and he was checking on me...He said..."the only mother I could find was very old..." and I said..."That's okay... she will do for now."
We both started was very sweet....
Many of the staff members at Gaun Gahr (hotel) are young adults and they have taken to call me "Aama Guru" which means "mother teacher"... it is an honorable title...and quite sweet...I am like their mother and strict teacher as well... although we laugh and play all day while I'm teaching...much to the dismay of the hotel manager who is a strict rule follower and often looks at me as if I am crazy!!!!



Learning Nepali~

Well.. One thing I know for sure~
I am a much better teacher than student!
I have my Nepali class each day for 1 1/2 the end of my day, 5:00 pm to 6:30 p.m. on my balcony/office overlooking the Himalayan Mountains...birds and animals sounds and Nepali folk music glide in and out as I say my Nepali vocabulary and basic Nepali conversation with my patient teacher~ Bikram Sir. He is a leader and college professor in Bandipur and a very nice man.
(I have pictures of all the people and places and life ...will post soon!)

I am learning, however, and the staff of the hotel I have been staying at (who I am teaching English to each morning) help me practice too! Nepali people love it when I try to speak to them in their language and they laugh at me!!!!

I tell them..."Do I laugh at you???" :)
it's okay...I'm sure I sound hilarious!!!!

"Ek Dom Meto Chaa" means my food is delicious.... (it's very nice to say this)

Tapaai Ke Namo ho?
What is your name....

Mero Nam Heather-ho.....
my name is Heather

I've learned a whole host of other words and phrases...I know I will learn Nepali well....practice, practice, takes 7 years to learn a language to become fluent as a native......and that is with I'm okay!!!

More later....

Teacher Training~ 12 Day Program

(Some of the teachers from the training~ We modeled an interactive cooperative game to reinforce the previously taught Multiple Intelligences Presentation! Fun & Beautiful!)

Hello Dear Precious People!

My last post was in Hindi because the computer in Bandipur automatically translated the English for me...I could not change it, so I "went with it"!!!
thank you for the hilarious messages...and LL I will still have to translate yours...but of course, I would expect nothing less of you!!! :)

I am currently in Kathmandu...and plush it all seems to me now! Electricity, running water, internet, and an atm... HEAVEN!!! :)

Things are going well....
So far I completed the teachers training for 12 days and it was phenomenal. The teachers came from Bandipur and many different surrounding areas...some of them literally walked for two hours each way to attend the training. They were enthusiastic and open to the new ideas and learning. I read to them each day (many of your favorite books) and modeled teaching through differentiated methods and utilizing methods which incorporated honoring the individual's spirit. They were amazed at how much you can learn while also having fun. I taught them about the brain and learning and how as educators we are responsible to help our students learn to learn while also taking care of ourselves as well....
overall a tremendous success!!!! I felt as if I was with "my people"... people who feel they can make a difference...indeed.....
I had a wonderful facilitator and translator with me Iswar Shrethsa who is a Nepali educator and trainer for many years...he helped balance the cultural and language barriers and I feel very grateful to him... One thing you learn doing "business" in flexible, patient, and keep a good sense of could go absolutely insane!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

पोस्टिंग इन हिन्दी~

इ ऍम टाइपिंग इन इंग्लिश एंड थे स्क्रिप्ट इस बीइंग ट्रांस्लातेद इन हिन्दी!
इ दो नोट क्नोव वहत तो दो अबाउट थिस इस्सुए....
सो इन्तेरेस्तिंग...

वों'टी लेट में चंगे तो इंग्लिश!!!!

इ लव यू अल एंड विल सी वहत इ कैन दो अबाउट थिस!