We arrived at Simpani School and got a really amazing welcome. The science and sports equipment was unloaded from the truck, and we were officially dropped off. This was the first time we had actually met the Head and his assistant at this school, because of the remoteness we did not know about it until late 2012, when Binod was contacted by a local requesting support for this village school.
Many of the children attending this school trek for 4 hours a day – 2 hours there and 2 hours back. Now anyone knowing the mountain area of Nepal will know that that is hard trekking and if it takes these local kids 2 hours it would mean at least 4 for us. For a child to study and learn after so much exertion a day is quite something. I have really been thinking about this country and the privilege of receiving an education is quite something, but a girl being educated is vital. Women need to understand how they can improve their lives.
It was wonderful to present the gifts to them to help their school. I spoke to the English teacher who explained to me about the children that trekked so far, and how often they came without food in their stomachs and just a few Rupees to buy some tiffin (a snack). Their parents are very poor and work in the fields. Sometimes they need the children at home to work. But if there was a residential area, these children could be looked after and educated at school. The building for the residential area has been started. Simpani is in an area which is referred to as an ACAP (a preservation organisation) area where trekkers are required to purchase a permit, which raises money to fund the preservation work.
This is the part-built residential building. It would be wonderful to make this happen and give them the residential accommodation for these children..
Prior to me arriving with the science equipment they had prepared a room. They were so excited to be able to teach science using equipment. The science teacher had given Binod a list of the equipment required. She was so happy to receive it. I also was shown the library, which was well looked after. I was rather amused when I saw a book on the shelves called “Who were the Beatles”; seems their story reaches even the remotest part of the world!
The trip to Simpani School was amazing, the surroundings were breath taking, the teachers and children were delightful. I really do hope that we can improve education for the children in this area. After leaving the school we trekked back to Khudi. It was a long trek that the locals would have done very quickly trotting down rocks. For us it seemed forever. I became giddy with the incessant going down rocky steps. It is certainly a remote area. The women that I saw on the way down carry extremely heavy loads. Eventually we reached a flatter area, and I felt a bit better, it all seemed to go on forever.
That evening we finally arrived at Khudi. Exhausted I had some food and went to bed. The next morning the sun was shining and it was really beautiful. The bed I had slept on was the normal hard rock feeling. It had not been a comfortable night. Binod was not feeling that well in the morning, but we had work to do. We went to Khudi School to visit the twins again. They seemed so happy when we arrived with big smiles on their faces. We also presented the school with sports equipment that they were so very happy to receive.
We finally got the bus home, a little squashed and bumpy but nothing I am not used to by now. So back to our flat and getting organised for our next adventure.
I have spent a week now at the flat. During this time we have had 75 bags printed with Hi-Cap UK on for all the children that we support. We are now preparing a list of all the children that we effectively have given scholarship’s to. We actually at the moment support 70 children. But we have been given news of others and I suspect that by the end of this week we will have another 5. The bags are so very nice, they will be filled with stationery items and enough copy (exercise books) for a year. We will also arrange for school uniform for all these children. We are struggling with all the different sizes and organisation of this at the moment.
Life is so difficult in this country every day is a learning curve. I continue to ask questions and get surprises, as does my partner Richard does when I speak to him on Skype. Many a time he says that it is a “different world there”! It certainly is.
The weather has been dreadful again, and day after day I do not know how these people survive. It is so cold inside, life is so uncomfortable. I see people in the mornings scouring the hedges, and checking any rubbish that has been thrown out. They are not beggers, they are just people going about their daily routine, making do however they can. Life is so hard. Things do not get better for many people, but we can make it better for some, that is all we can do. Every day I realise how fortunate I am to have been born in the UK. There is never a day that goes by when I realise this.
At the moment I am waiting for 2 children to arrive with their cousin. These children have been identified as needing help. Their mother was recently bludgeoned to death by her husband. The husband is in Nepali prison for life. I am not sure what life means here. More learning for me. But basically these kids are in need. They have some relatives but they need support. Remember there is no Social Security here, no health system, although government schools are free, when children’s families cannot afford even a pencil, or a book to write in, education is not possible. So we make that possible by providing these small items, and uniform. Giving opportunities to as many children as we can will make a difference I am sure, and help the next generation to lift themselves further out of the poverty they grew up in.