Life on a banana plantation: how I built a school in Nepal

To immediately arrange all the points over I: My name is Zhenya, I am 33, I work in a global company engaged in cyberscount data and has a charity fund. I was incredibly lucky: I was chosen among the 18 lucky volunteers of this fund among 300 applications of the company’s employees from around the world, and this is exactly what I was in Nepal in my first, and I hope not the last volunteer track.

Start track. Fees, acquaintance

On the first day, my colleagues flew out of all corners of the planet in Kathmandu, some have traveled almost a day. Almost everyone I met for the first time, because we all work in different positions in 33 company offices worldwide. On the same day, we met our lead track Alison.

The Foundation aims to open 15 schools for 3 years, as well as launch computer laboratories in them, provide training courses and other necessary things. At the moment, 8 schools have already been open in various countries, and the R AZ fund gathers a group of volunteers from employees of the company to attract specialists with different experiences and from different countries to construction, immerse itself into the atmosphere and generate new project development ideas. In 2018, the volunteers guys visited Senegal, and in 2019 the fund collected activists in Nepal.

Our track has begun flight from Kathmandu to Dhangadhi, where we met with four local translators.

We drove into the village, where last year our partners built one of the schools . At this meeting, we learned briefly about the local school system, as well as the program for adults. They pass, mostly women for various reasons not received education in childhood. As a result, they will find out simple in general things, such as an account and reading. However, they claim that it greatly influenced the quality of their lives: now they can sell harvest themselves (and not just count on her husband), to understand who calls them on the phone and navigate on the street, reading the signs.

School foundation ceremony in Bagdol, Nepal

In the morning there was a lesson of the Nepalese language, on which we learned not only the basic expressions, but also got their Nepalese names. My name is Ekata (EKTA), which means "unity".

In the evening, we attended the official greeting ceremony and a prayer rite for school.

And then there was the most exciting moment – we met with their host families. Our mother is the name of Sarasvati, she has four children, the eldest speaks quite well in English and very easier for us to communicate with family.

Troy settled us in a room with two beds. There was electricity in the house. Toilet was on the street. The hose was connected to the water column, so that even the shower we had semi-automatic, and not Bucket Shower, as we were warned. This evening the host family feed us dinner, and then we got their board games, played and talked to children.

First day. Build school in Bagdol

The first morning in Bagdol was magical. We got up at 5 am to catch the yoga to 6. To the meadow walked in the dark. We were on yoga and local, and her very funny smiling master.

On a shared breakfast, we learned that we will be divided into two shifts. I got the first, and others went to cultural master classes. On this day I looked at the earth and dig a pit! Actually, I have never done this before. I just remember how dad pushed foot on the shovel so that she went deeper, and then came the moment when I did the same. I tried very much, but it was unrealistic to keep up with our men.

After lunch, we had a meeting with local pediatrician, midwife and healer. They told how treatment is organized in their community. Then we walked around the village to the river, putting back to the darkness so that our host families are worried.

In the evening, our host mother, Saraswati, invited us in her kitchen: a small separate room in the yard without electricity, in the corner of the fire, on the shelves supplies. She showed how to do the mouth (flat tolets). It seems I rolled the pieces 25 until the dough ended. Mom roasted pellets and prepared stew vegetables. But again I was not able to do everything to the end, although I asked to put three times less. I just could not eat from excitement, and the food was still unusual. We ate on the veranda, sitting on the floor. Daughter in our family asked to sit us "beautiful" (pickup legs in the lotus position), and not straighten them, especially when their grandmother came to visit.

Second day

The next day in the village I was in the second shift. In the morning we had Gender Talk, it means that men and women could separately ask each other any questions. We, the girls, of course, asked how anyone marries, is it possible to divorce how children give birth, how long do breastfeed and more.

We learned that the concepts of "boyfriend" they still do not exist. Usually, the girl has the groom, and otherwise "who will get married after the boyfriend?". By law, you can, but the divorced will be a kind of stigma. Marriages are possible both by agreement and love. Also at the meeting was an elderly woman who flew out of the house with her beloved.

Life on a banana plantation How I built a school in Nepal

They were pretty severely treated and belong to women during menstruation: the girl could not live in the family at this time, to touch the water and food that the rest was eating, sleep was not in a common house, but in a separate hut or just on the street. In the mountains there were cases that the girls simply frozen to death or were bitten by poisonous snakes. It is said that now it is prohibited by law, but I felt uncomfortable (guess why).

They asked us where our husbands were surprised that some had no them, others have a boyfriend (not a husband), and thirdly at least there is a husband, but for some reason he let go his wife alone :).

After lunch was work, and I could no longer dig so actively, no matter how I tried. Basically, we passed the stones and sand.

In the evening, the neighbor called the inhabitants of several houses for a party, and we danced the Nepalese dances, and then a colleague from Russia began to dance to the eddie, well, I could not keep and slightly dug, and local tried to repeat :).

Third day. Farewell ceremony

On the third day, we worked all together in the first shift, because the closing ceremony was in the evening. The first couple of hours worked on the construction site only volunteers, without locals, because the funeral was held in the village. We knew cement, and then filled them with Thai and passed them to trenches under the foundation to pour the base.

After lunch in our tiny room, two dozen girls were stuffed, which were at the same time painted, combed and dressed us for the holiday.

The next day we left, and the local spent us to the bus and sobbed in three streams. Our also did not lag behind. Before leaving, we had a circle with gratitude inside the team (including translators). Three days before, everyone pulled himself a name for his Secret Buddy. All this time, we had to especially support the chosen person, and in the last morning you cook a gift. I got narendra, our translator. I gave him a sweet bar from Russia, and my colleague made a wreath of flowers, calling the Queen of Yoga (although in fact, it was a cooler of everyone).

I felt emotioned, emotionally slightly burnt. When we returned to Kathmandu, my colleagues and we went to the massage and have restored perfectly.

I dream to return to the village with our Nepalese team on the opening ceremony of a complete school and meet with my Nepalese family!

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