It was an early morning trip to Jamne, Thokarpa. I had called the vice principal of Bal Shikshya Mr. Hari Parsad Poudel the day before to inform him regarding my visit. As outlined on my previous blog, I was eager to meet and discuss the strategies regarding the reconstruction of the permanent school.
Kotgau, Thokarpa is where I was born and words can’t describe how I felt on my way there. The trip was around 2.5 hours from the capital. I stayed the night at my uncle’s house and left for the visit to Bal Shikchya school in the morning with Bikash and Bibek.
As we arrived to the site, the view was breath taking however the damage that had occurred was devastating. Here are few glimpse of pictures.
Villagers had managed to clear the site after the earthquake last summer. Notice the remaining of the materials such as wood logs and stones are on far upper right of figure 1.4. Villagers hope to use the material for the reconstruction of the permanent school.
Since the old school is completely damaged, a non profit from Kathmandu called Himalayan Natural constructed a temporary school for kindergarden (known as shishu here in the village), class 1, 2, 3. Here are few glimpse of the temporary school.
The school sits in a village full of under-caste people. The village is known as Pari Gau (under-caste Village). Most of the kids (if not all) attending the school are pari.
There is a real lack of basic needs in a classroom in this school currently. School typically starts at 10 am. Due to cold weather, they start their first class out side of the class room in a tarpaulin where there is sunlight.
We chatted with the principal shorty after conducting the measurements of the old infrastructures. The damaged school was built in 2008. Currently there are 79 kids and 5 teachers in the school. We also had an official demand letter written and signed by the principal outlining the needs of the school.
As I spoke with locals(from Kotgau), they were not very pleased with the aid going to the under-caste (pari) folks of the village. Upper caste (bramin) folks feel almost as if the earthquake had made the lives of the under caste better than it was prior to the earthquake because of the amount of aid they have received. I am also considered upper caste which put me in a really awkward situation. When I arrived at my uncle’s house after the visit to Bal Shikchya, they (my unlces and other folks from the uppercaste area) weren’t please with the work I will be doing for the under caste folks. If I were to say anything to try to make my unlces and others to understand, it would only make the situation worse. I am really looking forward to this challenge for the next few months.
We headed back to Kathmandu after lunch. We hiked until Sukute, and took the bus from there to Kathmandu.
I arrived to Kathmandu a day before new year. As I arrived here, I received a news that Ravi from Kopila Valley had passed away. I was heartbroken. My deepest condolences to everyone in Surkhet. Stay strong Maggie DD.