Nepal is a small country. The distance from our house to Lamjung, where EQUIP’s partner schools are, is only 65 miles away as the crow flies. What Nepal may lack in length and width, it certainly makes up for in height. The road is bound by the landscape and our bus had to snake along the edge of rivers and along mountain ridges over an entire day. Traveling is no joke in these parts.
I was able to visit a school and meet a few principles and teachers. Since it was exam season, the students were all taking practice exams, while teachers were creating more exams. All the classrooms were quiet with low murmurs as we passed by trying not to interrupt. Doing well in your exams is seen as a ticket out of the village and onto higher education and the hope of a good job. Unfortunately, there are few vacancies that match their degrees, while the trend of migrant labor outside of the country continues. Difficult questions remain in finding a way forward. Test taking provides clear targets yet test-taking abilities are unable to translate to the current context. I am glad to be part of a locally-led team that is engaging with these issues.
We spent our time with the other EQUIP family living in Lamjung who has a daughter just a little younger than Jude. The little one’s were strong magnets for the locals, which is quite different in Kathmandu. A highlight was watching the two of them play together as we continued to get to know such a wonderful family. We are hoping to actually be back shortly for a “village stay” of sorts. We realize the importance to be able to use our language we’ve learned in a more natural conversational setting without being able to fall back on English.
Language still continues to be our priority this year so it was a treat to be able to visit a school in the area I’ll be working in, build relationships and gain a better idea of what our future holds.