Today we set off to Deeya Shree School for our first morning of teaching! The traffic was horrible so we ended up leaving the van and walking the rest of the way. Walking along the bustling streets of Kathmandu was scary as usual with motorcycles, cars and people coming from all directions. We were still not accustomed to streets without traffic lights.
Walking into Deeya Shree was very exciting, as we arrived just in time to see the students there end their morning warm-ups. The students marched back into their classrooms in lines. It was very heart-warming seeing the young students enthusiastically wave at us as we entered the school, which made us even more eager to start teaching them.
The teaching day went by surprisingly fast. We were split into four teaching groups, with each group teaching a different subject -- Math, Technology, Science and English and Moral Education. The students in each year group had their own different quirks, and all of them were super fun to interact with. Of course, the younger years were more active, while the older years were fairly mature. We were mildly surprised by how enthusiastic they were about learning, as they listened to us fairly intently and had done the worksheets we prepared for them quickly and accurately.
However, outside the classroom, most of the students were fun and energetic. We particularly enjoyed playing Duck, Duck, Goose with the Year Fours, although we kept losing because they were just too fast. The energy that the kids had was endless and hard to keep up with; simply watching them run around chasing each other was tiring.
Our first teaching day came to an end when it was time for the students’ lunch. A couple of younger year students that we didn’t get a chance to teach went up to us after leaving their classrooms. They went around holding out their pinkies, asking “friend?” to every one of us that they came across, and the request was responded by us hooking our pinkies around theirs. It was the most endearing thing we have ever seen. We also learnt a fun handshake from the Year Four class. Thank you Year Fours, very cool!
After a quick lunch, we toured around a few temples in Hanuman-dhoka Durbar Square. Some temples had been shaken up by the 2015 earthquake and were under construction respectively owned by China and Japan, which was very interesting to us.
Also, did you know that Nepal has living goddesses called the Kumaris? We learnt that they are young girls who have undergone tests and screenings by priests and were deemed worthy of being a physical manifestation of the Kumari. By the time they enter puberty, another Kumari is chosen. Every day, the Kumari comes out of a window in the temple to meet worshippers for a few minutes. We were very close to seeing her, but alas, we had to move on to visit other temples.
Later in the day, we went to visit the Swayambhunath Stupa. While we were walking up the stairs to the main stupa, we encountered a sea of demon monkeys who raced down the stairs screeching for food or something. All of us fearfully walked in a tight line to avoid getting mercilessly attacked by them (“Just don’t make eye contact with them,” our tour guide said). It was worth it though, as the view from the stupa was breathtaking. We had a great panoramic view of the city, as well as the mountains surrounding Kathmandu. Shoutout to Mr Schippers for taking high quality photos of us with his iPhone 11 (equipped with a mitosis camera, according to Shawna)! ;)
Overall, today was an eventful day filled with laughs, culture, and children’s sweat. We look forward to continuing our teaching at Deeya Shree School tomorrow!