First week in Kargyak
It has been already a week since we have arrived to Kargyak. We are slowly getting more familiar with the local people as well as with the customs. The first thing we started arranging was installation of solar panels on the roof of our future house which we rent from one of the villagers. Raju boys has repaired the walls and floors and we are now waiting for the walls to dry to be able to move in as the lady of our current home has already asked us few times about our plans to move out.
Nevertheless, our teachers, Lada and Marketa, has started teaching English and Maths on Monday after preparing a lesson plan with Tenzin Yiga, the teacher of Bodhi, Social Sciences and General knowledge and Tennam who teaches Hindi 5 hours a week. Other subjects taught in the school are Arts, Music and PE. Since the children has been divided by the previous teachers into 4 groups; Nursery, Lower Kindergarten, Upper Kindergarten and 1st Class and there are only 3 teachers the lowest 2 classes are being taught together.
The school starts every morning with children saying Buddhists` prayers and singing Indian anthem. Children are then divided into classes according to their schedule. Each class lasts for 45 minutes and is followed by 15 minutes break. These breaks are usually used to play games, sing and also to practice hygiene; even the smallest kids already learnt sentences like "Wash your face" "Clean your nose" etc. The older children has also mastered greetings and are able to introduce themselves as well as make short sentences about their daily activities. Children have already had a test from English and Bodhi. English teachers decided to comply with the Indian system where 33% is enough to pass and therefore all children managed to pass the test. Tenzin Yiga decided that satisfactory level to pass test from Bodhi is 75% percent and therefore much fewer children managed to pass the test.
The most challenging part of the teaching is to teach children to put their knowledge into practice as in the traditional Indian system children mainly memorize data and are often used to repeating questions after teachers rather then answering them.
The rest of our team is concentrating on various tasks; Kamila is taking care of our bellies; we are grateful for her resourcefulness and skill with which she is doing so. She even managed to bake a cake on a stove where the only fuel used is yak dung with a bit of kerosene! Milada has, together with Tinhle, started making sun-dried bricks for the school. It is necessary to start well in advance with them as they have to dry for at least 3 weeks before they can be used for the construction. Fortunately, we have also stock of about 1000 bricks from last year so there are only about 3000 to be done this summer :0). Honza is arranging third group of laborers to work on the construction and managing the tasks of our current 2 groups as well as solving everyday issues like finding a blacksmith (not an easy task), arranging food supplies (Shinku La pass is still full of snow and horses can therefore pass only with light loads) and other necessary issues connected with smooth running of the project. Our no Bang! week is almost over and those of us who have been playing bridge all week instead are about to agree on no bridge week.
Written by Marketa, translated by Milada