Progress report on Shree Liti Hostel, Dhading.
On September 18, early in the morning, I took a bus to take off to Madhebasi, Dhading. It was 6:15 AM. But unfortunately I couldn’t take the camera, as Ekta had taken it for her field trip. At around 8:45 AM, I reached Madhebasi with no discomfort, and I started my foot journey to Shree Liti School. The very long way was a lonely journey for me but, still, I managed to never stop on the way. I reached the school at around 10 AM.
When I arrived at the school, the hostel teacher « Ram Sir » (who is employed by SEA to give tuitions to the hostel students) told me that he had to leave to go to the Madhebasi market, and he went off. The school was on holiday, because of a memorial service for a lady teacher, who had died in Dhading district. Then, I went to get some lunch, which the hostel cook had prepared for me. I ate my full plate, because I was very hungry and the food tasted good. But this season there seems to be a certain shortage of vegetables. After eating I immediately went to talk to the boys and I started asking them questions.
They said that the food is good and that they have good relationship with the cook. About the food routine, there is no specific routine because of the problem of food availability, but they seem to have milk on a regular basis, and chicken is served once a week on Thursday. As for fruits and eggs, there is no proper routine but they are getting those foodstuffs. Boys and girls don’t have any problem with the food and the cook. Please note that the cook is expecting an increase in salary, as the number of students has increased this year.
What came as a shock to me is that there is no specific tuition for hostel students. The way things work is that after dinner the students start doing their homework on their own and if they have any problem they approach the teacher. The teacher makes sure that they are awake and that they study till 10 PM. But I think that the children should be guided properly and taught individually–this is, I think, what a tuition teacher is all about.
Well, all hostellers are fine and healthy and happy too. The boys try to stay in the hostel even during the holidays, but girls want to go home even when they have one-day holidays. They are all regular at school and are regular in their homework too. There is no disciplinary problem. They are all good and happy.
Our most recent hostellers, Chari Maya (Anand’s sister) and Sunita Bhujel (the day-scholar student that we recently transferred to the hostel since Srijana had left) are in the same class (grade 1) and they get along extremely well.
Srijana is now in Kathmandu. She didn’t attend school for the past month. Her family is seasonal migration people. When the winter comes they work as stone-cutters and stay in Dhading, but during the rainy season they move to Kathmandu to find a job. This is why Srijana had to leave the hostel, as she couldn’t actually leave her mother. But the good news is that within a week she will back in Dhading and will be able to attend school again, as day-scholar at least.
Chari Maya and Sunita are really enjoying one another’s company. They are both very happy to stay in the hostel and both of them are adjusting very well to their new environment. Chari Maya, who had never gone to school beforehand, has opened up tremendously. The reason why she wasn’t saying anything is that she could only speak and understand Tamang, but now she understands Nepali, although it is still hard for her to speak in Nepali. This language problem was what kept her isolated but, of course, the fact that her mother is dumb combined with their terrible living conditions didn’t help. But now, in the hostel and with her new friend Sunita, she is doing just great.
I played football with the hostel boys. Well, that day, no teacher was there with me, so I had to stay in the hostel for the night. After the dinner, I organized a small drawing completion on the topic « your village ». Everyone drew the school itself! Ashok won, so I gave him Rs 50 as a prize.
Next morning at around 5:30 I was awake, so I had a chance to speak with the principal. I was already in a hurry as I had to go to my job too, but I could spend some time with him. He told me that everyone was regular at school, but that we had to wait for the exams (which will be held after Dashain) to know more precisely how the kids are doing at school.
This is all I could get from this trip. I am much sorry for the photos of Chari Maya, which are not of good quality as I had to take them from my mobile, but she is doing just fine, like Sunita and all our hostellers.