By: Katie Moon
Before coming to Nepal I had mentally prepared myself as best as possible for the journey I was about to embark on. From teaching for the first time, leaving for my first major international trip by myself, and living with a new family in a new and much different culture than what I had been accustomed to. To get the most out of my experience, and be able to provide the best learning opportunity for my students, I knew that flexibility would be an important trait to possess. Until arriving in Nepal, and more specifically my village of Ghandruk, I never knew just how important flexibility would be.
Some of the best experiences that I have had thus far have come as a result of going with the flow. I have been able to engage with the rich Gurung and Nepali culture that lives here in my village as well as form great bonds with my didi’s (big sisters) and dai’s (big brothers), fellow teachers, and community members. Whether it be blindly following my dai through the village at a moments notice when he says “kanchi, jam jam” which results in hand plowing the field and planting garlic with my didi’s all afternoon, or having to abandon lesson plans and resort to playing games outside because that is the only way the third graders will absorb any English that day. Didi will also frequently say “you, me, dance tonight” and an hour later we end up at a “culture program” (community dance night with Nepali music) a few houses away. Since Ghandruk is a bigger village, and my guest house accommodates many, I have try to help out my family when it gets busy. This means that I help serve dal bhat to 40 Nepali high school students who have come to visit Ghandruk on an overnight school excursion. And because the power frequently goes out here, sometimes we serve said dal bhat in the dark, via headlamps.