Taylor’s International School KL Join Distribution
We had the pleasure of welcoming twenty-three students and teachers from Taylor’s International School Kuala Lumpur to our Support Centre on Friday and before long they were busily packing sanitary kits into bags, ready for our distribution in Gorkha. Their school has held several fundraising events this year in aid of this distribution and the team came to Nepal to join us on the project.
By 7.30am on Saturday morning the bus was loaded and we were on our way. Our friend, Raj Dhalama of Adventure Mission Nepal, had done all the logistics for the three day trip, sending some of his crew a day ahead to set up camp in Muchok -5 Village in Ajirkot, in preparation for our arrival. We’d needed to go by local bus in order to negotiate the rough and narrow, dirt roads, making for a less than comfortable ride, but nobody complained as we bounced our way up the hilly tracks. Seven hours into the journey (after a fresh fish curry at a Trishuli riverside café) we pulled over and to start a two hour trek across village trails, which loosened up stiff limbs. By the time everyone had arrived at camp it was almost dark and the temperature had dropped considerably, so it wasn’t long before we were all gathered around the camp fire, decked out in thick clothes, clutching hot drinks. The chef did us proud with a delicious dinner of chicken curry and rice before we made an early retreat to our warm sleeping bags.
The next morning we were all up early and rewarded with a perfect view of the snowy Manaslu mountain range, as we ate our breakfast. We had been given permission to camp on the original school grounds of Chaturmala High School, where sadly four of the teachers were killed when buildings collapsed during the earthquake. The area has now been cleared of rubble and a temporary school built on the hillside nearby. The program got off to a late start as some of the girls were walking long distances from neighbouring schools to take part but once it got going we were adorned with garlands and treated like royalty. We listened to speeches given by school representatives and then enjoyed song and dance performances by some of the school girlls which, in keeping with the day’s theme, were about the menstrual cycle and anti-violence.
There were too many girls to distribute to at one time so they were divided into six groups. The Taylor’s students had prepared lots of games and activities and did an outstanding job of keeping everyone happily entertained until it was their turn. They rotated shifts to help record and hand out the sanitary kits to girls above eleven years old, their female teachers and social mobilizers. Many mothers, grandmothers, toddlers and primary school boys and girls also came along, peering through the windows to see what was going on. By 3.30pm 243 sanitary kits had been distributed, following a brief talk by Bimala on menstrual hygiene and how to use and care for the kits. Taylor’s had raised funds to sponsor 350 kits so we will put the remaining 107 kits towards our next project. Afterwards we went back down to the camp for a late lunch before chatting to villagers and playing games with children. The Taylor’s students then set about picking up several bags of rubbish from around the general area (much to bemusement of the village folk). After dinner a mother’s group came to the camp to entertain us with local songs and dances. They were trying to raise funds to build a community hut, which we were happy to support.
On our last morning, a glorious sunrise made up for not being able to see the mountain range. With a newly found appreciation of modern plumbing and soft beds, everyone was eager to head back to Kathmandu and looking forward to a much needed shower. We set off just after 9am for the long return journey but hit rush hour traffic as we approached the city and didn’t reach our drop off point until long after dark.
Yesterday the TISKL team visited the ancient city of Bhaktapur and today they head back to Kuala Lumpur. We’d like to thank Raj, Deepak and all the crew for looking after us all so well. It’s been such a pleasure to have shared the distribution with so many wonderful people and we’re very grateful to both the students and teachers who embraced the whole experience without the slightest complaint, when it could so easily have been otherwise considering the tough conditions. It’ll be hard to say goodbye to these impressive young people, who are such a credit to their parents, their teachers and their school. They’ve been simply awesome!