I was teaching and living with a family in Tokha, a small and very traditional Newari village on the outskirts of Nepal.
Every morning we were woken by the turkeys. At 5am this was hard to get used to, though it soon became routine! We’d eventually roll out of bed around 7am and all the family would be up and ready; Baba (our Nepali father) would already have left for work. Our sister would have a lovely cup of sweet chiya prepared for us and we would sit in the kitchen and talk with her about school or family life. After getting dressed in our teaching kurtas, we would be back downstairs helping to prepare the Dal Bhat. Dal Bhat consists quite literally of rice and lentils, usually with vegetable curry and pickle on the side. At 9am this would be eaten as lunch (sounds like hard work at this time of the morning, but it quickly becomes addictive!).
After ‘lunch’ it was off to school in time for the 9.40am assembly. This part of the school day was taken very seriously with the children all in lines singing the National Anthem and doing exercises; it was remarkable to see when compared to English schools here students simply ramble in at any time chatting away!
First lesson started at 10am and I would usually take this period, teaching English to 9 – 15 year olds. During the day I took three periods, using breaks to mark work and write up those last minute lesson plans. The children loved to be read to; simply the sound of our voices was a novelty to them. Older children were soon able to write poetry and letters to other schools, though it was a challenge to provoke their imaginations, which they weren’t used to using.
At lunch I would sit with the other female teachers and they were great and very welcoming. They spoke in English even to each other and taught me some Nepali every day – not only was I teaching, I was learning too! We would eat a small snack of biscuits or chora (dry beaten rice) with potatoes, before getting back on with teaching.
School ended at 3.50pm and as I walked home I always had an excited group of students walking with me. This was the best part of my day as it was so heartening to see that the children were still interested in getting as much education as they could, even after school.
Once home I’d be welcomed with yet another cup of chiya and Lucy and I would get changed and chat about our day. We usually spent the evening in the sitting room with the family, eating another Dal Bhat at around 9pm and then retiring to bed very soon after!
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