On the third day of our trip I pack my things, as we have a long bus ride to Maya Universe Academy today. Maya Universe is a school in the Tanahun district of Nepal that provides free private school education to kids from grades 1 through 8. We board the bus and snap a quick group photo.
The bus ride is pretty crazy. I love how we can see entire hillsides covered in colorful houses as we leave Kathmandu valley. The traffic getting in and out of this city alone is a pretty significant part of the trip. Just outside of the city we stop at a shop on the side of the road and have our first experience with the *GASP* squatty potty.
No… not the thing presented on shark tank… but the idea that inspired it. We continue on our way and it starts to rain. After about 5 hours we turn onto a dirt road, what seems like the only turn in our journey.
The rain has stopped by now, but I can still see the aftermath on the road. A ridiculous number of potholes informs me that we must have the best bus driver in all of Nepal. He takes so much care to drive around them and make a smooth ride. Albeit, probably for the safety of the frame of the bus, and not for our comfort.
We come to what seems like an impossible hill for our bus to climb, and it proves to be so. We jump out of the vehicle, put on our hiking boots, and gather the luggage; noting the red clay staining our shoes. Our bus driver leaves, and we watch as two bikes struggle to get up the hill. Yikes!
The schoolbus for Maya Universe rounds the corner and we watch as the bus tries and fails to mount the hill. After a few tries, the bus finally gets up there! Several of our group run to help the kids push while the rest gather our luggage. What has probably become the most memorable part of the trip has been this feat of pushing the bus up the hill with the Maya kids.
Having left our luggage on the bus, we start to walk towards the school. After reaching a pass, we are informed that the bus is stuck, and we leave it there. We arrive at Maya and see our sleeping quarters then head down to dinner.
At dinner the kids are so excited to have such a big American group visiting! They introduce themselves to me and the others and ask, “What is your name?” I can’t possibly remember all of their names, but I will try! At dinner we have dal bhat, a Nepali dish with rice, lentil soup, and other accompaniments. Usually the kids have mixed veggies, but today we have a treat! Mixed veggies and a slice of watermelon!
One noteworthy behavior was that there weren’t enough plates for everyone to eat at once. After I was done eating I had to wash my plate for the next person, the person who grabbed that plate then did the same when they were done eating. I loved that aspect as I saw every kid give the same respectful gesture to those that came after them.
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