A long weekend and the Soccer World Cup Final meant that when we arrived at Amrit Secondary Boarding School at 9am the principal was mortified to tell us that a decent percentage of students had not shown up for class.
The students that were present were taking part in the morning assembly. Segments of information were broken up with some physical exercises and student performances.
The students sang their national anthem. Then the principal took up the microphone and announced that the Australian visitors would sing their national anthem.
I think we did okay. I mean, we got all the words correct.
Slightly shaken by the early surprise, we began our morning activity. We had been given a class level, a group led by a teacher- there are five on the tour- and an hour to run a class.
My group’s Grade Fours were pretty good. They were attentive, their English was very good, and they were willing to go along with anything we threw at them. However, they also had the wild exuberance and loudness of a group of ten year olds so I was very glad that we had a real teacher in our group to keep things on track.
I think we kept them amused. Our lesson contained toilet paper and human knots and those certainly kept them occupied. Then I pulled up some photos of common Australian things and they tried to guess what they were. Some were easier to guess than others.
It was a nice morning. The principal was very happy with our efforts and we got a clap at the end. The class had bought us some chocolates, which was very sweet.
I just still find it funny that the students thought I was a real teacher.
The next stop was Maiti Nepal, an anti-trafficking organisation. Domestic and international human trafficking is a huge problem in Nepal as, according to Maiti Nepal, “ignorance, illiteracy, gender discrimination and gender violence” in vulnerable communities makes it easy for traffickers to lure women and children away from their families.
We were shown around Maiti Nepal’s huge Kathmandu facility, which included rehabilitation homes and transits homes for survivors of trafficking and a school for orphans, vulnerable children and street girls so they are not so exploitable. Maiti Nepal also works near Nepal’s borders to educate communities about the danger, run prevention programs- including literacy classes and skills training-and rescue people who have been trafficked.
Maiti Nepal can do all of this because of numerous generous donations. Its founder, Anuradha Koirala, was voted a CNN Hero in 2010 for her work. The award brought worldwide attention to the organisation.
You can check out their website to see their latest achievements in preventing human trafficking.
Our final stop for the tour was the Seven Women Centre. It was time for a final farewell and a dance concert.
A couple of the ladies kicked off the concert with a traditional Nepalese-style dance, then another woman jumped up and performed her interpretation of western-style dancing. It was all very impressive, particularly as we were later told that that was the first time any of them had danced in public.
We were next- one of the tour participants had planned and choreographed a dance for us to perform, and despite our varying levels of dancing skill we got a clap at the end.
And then everyone got involved- even our bus drivers. There was dancing, laughing, photos on the roof, more dancing, more laughing, more photos…
And then, suddenly, it was over. We had to say goodbye, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one fighting back tears.
One last note: I’m sure it was more of an au revoir than a final farewell.
This post was modified from the original entries on my personal blog, Erin’s Written World.