It is impossible in Nepal to do anything without a “program”. It is also impossible to get through a single week without a holiday for one of the very many festivals (yesterday it was a celebration of Sarawati – Goddess of Education – naturally this meant a school was closed).
Today it is the “Kalimati Kindergarten Opening Program”. The whole village has turned up, the District School Inspector has arrived. We wait 2 hours for Ram to arrive, everyone is introduced with their formal titles for this particular program – chief guest, special guest, honoured guest – the national anthem is sung, candles lit, singing and dancing and processions.
Next they start to ‘decorate’ me in a process I can only call “death by chrysanthemum” – the weight of the garlands and scarves make it difficult to breathe or see. My face and hair is daubed with red powder.
The end result…
We have a lot of speeches… from the chairman of the School Management Committee, the headmaster, from Shiva and Ram, the district school inspector, from the head of the Mother’s Group. (I did not get away scot free either from speech making).
Followed by a plaque unveiling and ribbon cutting…
But eventually it is doors open…
First in are the kindergarten children…
Then everyone else squeezes in and all chaos ensues. Eventually I have to ask Ram to calm everyone down as the tiny tots start to get overwhelmed with all the noise and excitement, tears starting in one or two eyes.
A while later Gita exhausted but happy, puts mattresses and cushions to the test. The carpet a whole lot better than the concrete they normally have to sit on.
Classes 4 & 5 commandeer themselves some space and review some new library books. These guys soak up any books you give them. as ever I am frustrated that the very few books are locked away, but the teachers have promised to keep these accessible.
The teachers look at some of the games for the older children (including chess, mastermind, map games, checkers and backgammon). Devi Lal is a demon playing chess and promises to teach everyone else.
and Bishnu, the kindergarten teacher gives us a thumbs up – she now has a lot more resources to teach with. I’m really happy with the size of the windows and skylights letting in plenty of light.