In just a few days (Friday 3rd January 2014) I am heading off to Nepal for roughly 3 1/2 months with a company called Africa & Asia Venture. I will be teaching English In Jana Bikas Secondary School in the village of Chandidanda in Besisahar which is affectionately known as ‘Chandi Danda’ for 2 1/2 months before spending a further month independently travelling around the country.
The guide books advise that Besisahar is a growing town at the end of the motorable road in the Marsyangdi River Valley that leads behind Annapurna and which culminates in the Thorong La pass at around 16,000ft. Besisahar is apparently a linear town and the street is well supplied with back-packer hotels and shops.
Chandi Danda is on a hill above the town and getting to it apparently involves a level walk across some paddy fields followed by an arduous 20-25 minute climb up about 400-500ft. There are just over 600 pupils in the school split approximately 50:50 between boys and girls. There are 16 members of staff; 4 female and 12 male. There are 15 class rooms and some basic science facilities which lead to class sizes of roughly 40 pupils but these can be as large as 100!
I have heard from many people that the Nepalese are some of the warmest people you will ever meet and so I cannot wait for the moment that I get to meet them.
I will be meeting two fellow AVs, Freya and Sam, at Heathrow on Friday afternoon and Olivia will be arriving in Kathmandu at the same time as us where we will be met by Guarav who will be looking after us for the first few days. Guarav will be leading our induction course in Thorong Peak Guest House where we will learn some basic Nepalese, the customs and culture of Nepal, how to prepare and eat Dal Bhat and perhaps, most importantly, learn how to teach. We will also get to visit Thamel, Shwaymbunath, Pashupatinath and Pathan.
At the end of the induction course we will depart for Besisahar and our first day in school will be Sunday 13th January as Nepali weekends are Friday to Saturday.
Thanks must go to The Allan & Nesta Ferguson Charitable Trust and The Bulkeley-Evans HMC Scholarship Fund for their generous grants which are enabling me to go.