And these two little boys .. the concentration on the chess board intense! This picture sums up so much of Nepal for me… these two are future Kasparov and Karpov… but so few resources and their likely futures to be either absent form their families working on building sites in the Gulf states (the first thing every Nepalese boy does on turning 18 is get a passport and sign up with an agency to get work in UAE, Qatar or Saudi) or they will be farmers.
Something that drove me a little crazy when I got to the school, was to find the few donations and a metal box full of coloured pencils and books, were locked away and gathering dust in the headmasters office. All to be protected in case of theft but in being protected utterly unused. Having persuaded the headmaster to open the box, the teachers Ratna and Jaganmaya expressed amazement, they have been teaching in the school for years and not seen the contents. The headmaster was not keen at all on the children having access and the balls I had bought caused him some consternation that the kids were playing with them before school.
I was determined the same fate would not fall the books and games I had bought. Solution to install a hanging bookshelf in every classroom and distribute the games according to he various ages. When the headmaster argued the children would steal things (i don’t care… better they steal than stay locked up and never used!), I suggested giving each class a games monitor to be rotated on a weekly basis, who was responsible for ensuring each classrooms games were back in place every day. The children lapped up the responsibility. I only hope it the new regime managed to stay in place after I left.