Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Big News

Today is a surreal day. Nepal is all over the news, world wide. We have a special day off from school and the streets are quiet but happy.

It is the first day of the new Constituent Assembly which was voted in last month. Part of the agreement that led to the election was that the first item on the agenda of the Assembly would be the abolition of the monarchy.

As I write this I am listening to the BBC World Service with a reporter live from the building the assembly is meeting in. Typically for Nepal it has been delayed for a couple of hours as all the parties involved are trying to thrash out the last few details.

To commemorate this day it has been declared a national holiday, and while we don't normally observe those in school (as they have about 90 a year), it was felt that today would be a more significant day. Bund's (strikes) are called often and people block the roads and stop movement, today is nothing like that as the atmosphere is much more open and happy, some shops are open and there are also a few vehicles moving around.

By this evening Nepal should be the worlds newest Republic and could well have some sort of President. Whether this happens we shall have to wait and see.

On a more personal note we had Becky's Dad here to stay last weekend. He has work this week in Calcutta so decided to pop up and see us for a few days. It was great having him here and spending time with him. As he's been in Kathmandu more times than he can count we didn't do any of the touristy things we did with Dan's sister, but it was a great opportunity to catch up and spend time with him.

Saturday, 17 May 2008

May Madness

Sorry it has been a while, but we just weren’t quite sure how to follow our last update!

It has been quite a busy month since our last blog update at the end of our holidays. We are now fully involved in life at school. Becky has now taken on all the Geography teaching, and will continue to do all of it except for half the A’level which she will share with another teacher next academic year. Dan is still not doing a lot of teaching, but the list of other things he is doing keeps growing. He is currently very involved in the external and internal exam planning, as well as learning how to do the timetable for next year. He is also involved in writing some of the MSA report (which will give us accreditation in America) which we have to submit ASAP and then we will be inspected in November to renew our accreditation.

We have both been involved in electives on a Friday afternoons. Pupils don’t have lessons, but can opt to do one of various electives. Becky has been taking a group swimming and Dan has been taking some to play football. Some of the other options which other pupils are doing are American Football, Jazz Ensemble, Film Making, Screen Printing, Table tennis, Dance etc. So it is a great opportunity to get pupils doing something extra to the curriculum and to develop their talents and interests in new areas.

We have also found a church which we think we would like to settle in. It is a Nepali church and so the first few times we went along to the Saturday service all in Nepali! However, just a couple of weeks ago they have started an English service on a Sunday. So we have now also been to that a couple of times and really enjoyed it.

Last weekend we had Dan’s sister, Hannah here to visit. She “popped in” on her way past from England to Australia. So she was here from Friday till Wednesday just gone. It was nice to be able to show her around where we live, and also gave us the excuse to do some of Kathmandu’s touristy spots which we had not had a chance to do yet.

She also got the opportunity to experience some aspects of real Nepali life. So after braving the taxi journey from the airport we had to go and collect her bed which we had bought of someone leaving. Not many people here own cars or trucks so a lot of moving is done manually. See picture!

That evening we decided to take her out for dinner despite the rain, which later turned into a torrential downpour, we got an electric tuk tuk, the cheapest form of transport at about 6p per person, but it didn’t cope too well with all the rain and kept breaking down so we ended up walking part way. Thankfully the rain had died down a bit by that point.

The highlight of her stay, for her at least, was the chance to do a flight over Everest. We didn’t join her on this as we were hard at work in school, but judging by the photos it was an impressive experience.

Yesterday we attended a first birthday party, as a friend of ours baby turned 1. Today Becky is hosting her first ever baby shower for an American friend who is due in a couple of weeks and tonight Dan is off to watch the FA Cup Final, in the evening!