August 16, 2003 - Personal Web Site: Ris in Nepal
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August 16, 2003 - Personal Web Site: Ris in Nepal
Ris in Nepal
Ris in Nepal
Ris in Nepal
Clarissa's Peace Corps Journey
Through packing, panicking, adapting, and teaching, this website will follow me through my Peace Corps service in Nepal. Beginning in late February, I will spend 27 months in Nepal. The first 3 months will be spent learning Nepali, and training for my 2 year assignment: teaching English at secondary schools in Nepal.
Welcome to my Nepali world.
Current News and Events:
June 8, 2003 - New pictures, new journal entries, new misc section!
May 20, 2003 - Swearing in ceremony! Clarissa becomes an offical PCV!
April 22, 2003 - New journal entries, old email entries removed.
March 17, 2003 - New photos posted in the pictures section.
March 13, 2003 - Guestbook is up! Go to Communications to sign say Hi!
March 5, 2003 - Moved in with my host family.
April 2002 - Applied to the Peace Corps
May 13, 2002 ? Nominated to join Peace Corps
September 3, 2002 - Received invitation to Nepal!
February 22, 2003 ? Check Into Staging
February 23, 2003 - Date of Departure
May 2005 - Date of Return
(Disclaimer: This webpage reflects one person's experience in the Peace Corps; it is not sponsered by nor does it reflect any official views of the Peace Corps.)
July 29, 2003
I've been rather lazy in regards to keeping my journal current this month. There are several things I have to write about - my trip to Kalaiya, my trip to Janakpur, my trip to Pokhara, my students, my school in general, my life in general? I guess I just haven't been in the mood to write.
The last few weeks have been interesting. I've been learning about myself and about the people around me? (Hmm. That was rather vague.)
At any rate, school started again. From mid-June to mid-July we were on Monsoon break. We started classes again about 1 ? weeks ago. Most of my students came back, but as the days went by concern set in for two of my 5th graders. I hadn't seen them at all since we re-started, and at first the kids didn't know anything either. Finally a few days ago I found out that both of them were pulled out of school and apprenticed to mechanics. In some ways, it's good for them: learning a skill that they'll be able to actually use in Nepal. For me though, it's devastating: especially because one of the students really tried hard to learn as much as he could. I know it's not my fault, but it still feels like my failure.
Two days ago, I lost three more students. Some of my students live in a hostel about 20 minutes away from my school. Their families live more than a day away by bus, and so they take advantage of a program that will house them for free, while they go to my school for free (it's subsidized by the municipality of Birganj). Evidently the hostel got too full, and so they sent a bunch of students to Janakpur to continue their education. Two of my 5th graders and one of my 4th graders were included in that group.
A lot of PCVs would be relieved, in some ways, to lose students. Most classrooms are horribly overcrowded. Ashish's classes run between 80-100 students. My classes on the other hand, because I teach at a tribal school - specifically for low-caste, poor students - are very small. My 5th grade class now has 4-5 students on a good day instead of 8-9. My 4th grade class has around 15. I get to know my students on an individual level. I know all of their names. I don't know a lot about them yet, but I'm learning slowly.
After school yesterday, I was riding my bike down the road by the school when I saw a bunch of my students in a tall, expansive tree. I really wish I had had my camera, because some of the students were very high in its branches. You should have seen them when they saw me watching? their entire bodies shook with laughter and embarrassed agitation. The incident was dampened a little by the fact that I knew that they weren't just having fun? there is small fruit that grows on the ends of those branches; my kids were climbing for food as well as fun. It was, however, still enjoyable to watch them play.
Some of my students live in town. They only have walk 15-30 minutes to come to school. Others, however, live out in the 'gau' (village) and have to walk more than an hour just to get to school. Despite this, my students almost always have their homework done. They get very excited about even just being at school. They love to learn and participate in class. One of my 4th graders leaps from his seat when he knows the answer, and then after I call on him, he throws his arms wide and yells out the answer. It's adorable. (Somewhat disruptive, but it's worth it to see his excitement).
I have very few girls. In 5th grade, I only have one. She comes maybe 50% of the time. In 4th grade I have five girls, but it is very rare for them to all be there at the same time. Usually I only have three. They are so shy. Their English is not as good as some of the boys; and it shows in their homework, and their reticence in class. Their reluctance to participate is, of course, also a product of their social environment. Getting the boys to yell out answers (yes I encourage that) is easy - getting the girls to speak, much less yell, is very difficult. They are getting better though... I hope by the end of the year I'll see marked improvement. We'll see.
Another PCV came to visit this last weekend. He had some interesting things to suggest about my school, and my attitude toward school. I'm going to be attempting to make some changes in my approach to my job. Already in the last two days I've seen a little difference. Instead of doing my lesson planning at home, I have been doing it at school. Instead of planning mentally, I actually have been writing it out. It's messy, but it's there. I think eventually I will type them up, and see if my school would like to keep them on hand to maybe use in the future, after I leave. We'll see. I'm also going to try to decorate my classrooms and see if the posters etc. actually stay. I don't know if they will. Usually in Nepali classrooms things like that disappear. I'm going to try though. I made a cloud-shaped weather chart to put on the wall in each of my classrooms. If that stays, then I'll start making word banks. I need to make color wheels/charts for each room also.
Anyway? that's a bunch of random babble that wasn't very interesting to anyone but me?
I also realized this last weekend how lucky I am. My school is fairly new. I have nice buildings. I have clean chalkboards and desks. I have electricity and fans in every room. I live close to my school. I can get school/teaching supplies from the municipality. My teachers, while they aren't enthusiastic, are very nice and openly curious about the things I do.
I do have challenges with attendance and a few other things, but despite those things, I really love my school and feel that eventually I'll figure out how to help in whatever small way I can.
March 24, 2003
I believe that I am our group's official first cow casualty.
For those who are Nepali-deficient, "badmaas gaai" means "naughty cow." Today I ran into such a cow? or shall I say, it ran into me.
Actually, the story is much less exciting than it sounds. I was walking down the street this morning with another PCT. She was on my left (this is important). As usual, we passed many cows, water buffalo, dogs, and goats en route to our class in town. This particular badmaas cow was no different than any other we had seen today? it would have been a beautiful cream color had the children not raangichaangied it on Holi (can I use raangichaangie as a verb? Probably not? it means 'colorful'). So this cow was cream with pinkish splotches, and had cute little horns on its head. At any rate, the cow walked toward us on my right, and I swerved to the left to try to give it more room (as is wise with any cow encounter).
Unfortunately, as the other PCT was directly on my left I didn't have a lot of space to give the cow. Seizing the opportunity, the naughty gaai swung its not-so-cute horns into my right arm. While I do have a lovely purple and green bruise just above my elbow, it didn't break the skin and I didn't cry (okay, I teared up).
That's it. That's the whole cow story. I told you it wasn't very exciting. I do enjoy being the first cow casualty though? has a nice ring to it, don't you think?
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Story Source: Personal Web Site
This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Nepal; PCVs in the Field - Nepal