Wednesday, January 28, 2009

to the Himalayas

I'm leaving my host family today to meet my friend Eman at the airport. The family has been so great and the co-vols also are awesome. We made momos (Tibetan stlye bao-zi) last night, which was really fun. I'll miss them all. It's amazing how accomodating they are with having 3 or 4 volunteers coming and going all the time. And they're fun too. Eman and I will be heading to Pokhara at the edge of the Himalayas tomorrow and will go on a 4 day trek in the mountains for some genuine Himalaya experience. We're going with a guide who is the brother of one of the kids at the DRC, so it will be nice to have someone around who knows what he's doing. Hedoesn't speak good English, but I'll just pretend I'm Edmund Hillary and he's Tenzing Norgay. The full experience right?

Yesterday was the last day at the DRC, which was emotional. All the kids said goodbye and asked me when I was coming back, and I didn't really know what to say. It's been so great there. Everyone is so nice, the kids are really sweet and quite mature for their ages. And they take care of each other so well. And so happy. It's amazing that they can be so happy with so little, while many Western kids are discontented when they don't get cookies after school or a new Xbox. It's been really eye-opening living there, and you realize how much stuff is really superfluous and unnecessary. I will be excited by toilet paper for a while though.

Tuesday was Losar (new year) for the Tamang caste. Every caste seems to have a different new year festival day. We went into the Bouddnath area, where there is a huge stupe and a lot of Tibetan people, and there was a big festival in a yard for the celebration. The was dancing, rock bands, and local singers as well as some Nepali kids from the school that the other volunteers help out at. It was fun talking to them and observing the people who came to watch. We were definitely the only foreigners there.

Yesterday, my co-vol Cassie and I went to the kids' school for a couple hours to see what it was like. We taught one English class to 6th graders, which was hard. Then we sat in on two other classes taught in English about population and environment (what a cool class for primary schoolers) and computers, which was interesting, since none of the kids have computers at home. The kids are really good at spitting out memorized sentences (in English) about definitions and explanations, but I don't think they really understand most of it. It's strange. Again, so much taken for granted at home.

I'm off to the mountains.

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