Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Pokhara: Primary School Visit

Dhara Primary School, near Pokhara

Our contact, Padam, picked us up with the Chair of Goverenors in tow and we drove out into some of the best rice paddies in Nepal. About 5 minutes before we arrived, Padam got the driver to pull over and he made a call. They weren't ready for us yet! We got out of the car and mulled around on the edge of the paddies, while Padam waited for his signal to get back in the car.
We didn't really know what to expect at the shool. In Britain if you do a school visit, you'd probably get a cup of PG or Fair Trade instant coffee and maybe a custard cream in the staff room. The there would be a tour around the school by the head or deputy. It was clear from the amount of people surrounding the entrance to this small school that they'd prepared dinner and a show.
We arrived to find an avenue of people – parents, governors, local and regional education buffs, that formed a corridor for us ,and then placed mountains of garlands over our heads. The head of the school did his speech straight out of the school's 2068 brochure. It became clear when he said that the school had clean drinking water and mentioned the start of the school day and uniform etc. verbatim as in the brochure.
It's so clear that their idea of a school link has nothing to do with some kind of intellectual cultural echange and educational enlightment – they so need the basics.

An unbelievable amount of garlands and a giant red tikka (bindi).

A classroom: a few wooden benches,a low table and bare walls.

There were 2 wall posters in this one: of fruit and veg.

Lunch of Dahl Baht in the classroom. Magi tried out her finger forks today.

The obligatory end of ceremony boogie. I'm not sure if it's a major faux pas to swing your garland like Bear did, but the Nepalse just kept on smiling.

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