Saturday, January 24, 2009

Welcome to the Zoo

My host family's house is pretty crazy right now. They have a dog, a rat, a fish, and four foreigners along with the 6 family members. And this week, they've adopted three stray kittens who hang around the house after finding affection and food there. The dog gets jealous of them and comes inside too. It's quite a zoo. Home life is really good. Everyone is fun and we play cards sometimes. I helped make Nepali bread once and on Wednesday, cooked dinner for the family. Pasta with mushroom cream sauce and garlic bread. I had planned to make a salad, but what I though was romaine was actually bitter mustard greens. Oh well.

The DRC is still fun. The kids are really silly. They play a lot of games that I only half understand. More of them keep arriving, so names are hard. There are two kids, one without feet and one without a second leg, who run around really fast like little monkeys. A few of the young boys are pretty sick at chess.

Most of the kids started school on Thursday, so me and my fellow volunteer walked them there. Coming into the gate, we saw some abandoned looking structures with two concrete walls an corrogated steel roofs. It took a few seconds before I realized these were the classrooms. They each have a few rows of benches and tables and a measly little chalkboard. No lights. No decorations. Not even walls on all sides. The kids have to wear their school uniform correctly, and Hemanta, who is about 7, was crying because she had forgotten here belt and was going to be beaten for it. We went up to the dusty patch of bare ground which is their playground and played with their makeshift hacky sacks (which are made from tying together bundles of rubber bands) until classes started. When the bell rang, everyone lined up according to class and gender and did morning exercises. The kids all wanted us to stay and help teach their class, but we haven't yet. They do not have enough teachers to go around, so half the time, any given class has no teacher present. We take so much for granted. . .

I have four more days here before I meet Eman at the airport and go trekking in the mountains for a few days. It will be nice to get out of the city and away from the pollution and noise. The water at our house has been on and off and it seems like everytime the pump gets fixed, the electricity is out, so we still have to wait 8 hours for water to work. Electricity cuts are down to 14 hours a day! Wooo! Welcome to Nepal. Welcome to the Zoo.

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