Saturday, 10 December 2011

Good News

A few weeks ago Dan had a meeting at school to discuss how KISC could manage without any new staff next term. It was a month until the end of term and there was no-one in the pipeline for January despite several key teachers leaving. The meeting ended with the conclusion that someone had to come. There just wasn't enough teachers or people qualified in the right areas to cover the teachers leaving. You could say things had got pretty desperate. Hence the topic of our last blog.

Later that day the secondary principal, Libby, an Australian, who has lived in Nepal for nearly 20 years came to see Dan. Her eldest child who has just qualified as a teacher would like to come out for a year to teach at the school (his old school) and would like to bring his girlfriend with him, who would also like to work at the school. Great!

Then a few hours later another couple of emails came in. The girlfriends friend also wanted to come out for a period of time, starting in January and someone else has heard of KISC through Libby's sending organisation and wants to come in January too! Then the next morning Dan arrived at school to find out that the girlfriend's sister had emailed the previous evening to say she would like to come too. 5 people in one day. Fantastic!

At the same time Judith (KISC's CEO) was in America meeting with our recruitment person who is based there and together they went to several recruitment fairs. These went really well and we have had over 20 applicants for people to come to KISC in the future, quite a few considering long term commitments. Since returning from the recruitment fair Judith has also had more classroom teachers applying, interviewed an experienced international school Principal and a couple of our existing staff who we were expecting to leave at the end of the year have told us they are considering staying longer. Amazing!

So God has been amazingly faithful. We have the staff we need for January and lots of people looking for the future. Now all we need is more space.

We have mentioned the need for space before. Now we have enough teachers for every Primary year in August we need another classroom, and we still need open space for the students to run around. A number of people have felt prompted in the past few weeks to pray for more land - through conversations, dreams, prayers... So God has been faithful, and we want to ask him again to be faithful. So if you are someone who prays please join the KISC community, here in Nepal and around the world, as we thank God for his faithfulness and ask him for the provision of some land to become available - and the finances needed to get it!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

URGENT Staffing Needs

There seems to be a common theme about our time here, which we've probably bored you with before now, but it's fairly crucial. Staffing.

Yet again we don't have enough staff for January. We need at least 2 of the following positions filled in time for January term, which starts on the 16th January. If you know anyone that might be suitable, or are interested yourself, get the message out to them to contact Laura Beth Webster at, and get them have a look at our website.

If you don't know anyone, but do pray then please Pray.

Urgent needs for January 2012:
  • Maths teacher
  • English Teacher
  • History teacher
  • Science teacher

There are also plenty of positions needed for the next school year. For more details check out the vacancies page on our website.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Back "Home"

We have now been back in Nepal for 10 days. Back in our home here in Kathmandu. We both felt as we left England that it had all been a bit rushed and maybe we were coming back too soon. But thankfully since we have arrived back it has felt very much like coming home. Samuel has certainly enjoyed “catching up” with his old friends, and Miriam seems to have settled very quickly, and has even started to settle into a routine, which is great at 8 weeks old.

And for us it has been good too. Dan has certainly enjoyed the first few days back at work. Starting to get back into the swing of things. Walking in on the first day was hard as everyone else was in full swing, and the work related questions came thick and fast forcing him to get his brain back into KISC mode very quickly. Becky is learning to cope with two children at home, she’s enjoyed the first week back, catching up with friends and trying to settle Sam back into his normal routine.

Of course it was hard to say goodbye to our family as they remain back “home” in England. We had a fantastic summer spending time with family, and seeing many friends too. Samuel certainly enjoyed getting to know his grandparents better and loved being able to play with them and have lots of time together – nearly as much as they enjoyed it. But for now, we are back to skype relationships with the family as we settle in back “Home” in Nepal.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Miriam Clare Parnell

As most of our readers have hopefully heard, on the 4 Sept we welcomed into the world Miriam Clare Parnell. She was born in the Wallingford maternity unit, weighing 7lbs 14oz at 3.12am.
The last two weeks have been a lot of fun, a lot of tiredness as the 3 of us get used to being 4, and a lot of busyness as the prospect of returning to Nepal starts to loom large. Samuel has adapted very well to being a big brother and is very interested in Miriam and very keen for her to be part of all we do.

We are finding it is a lot different having 2 instead of just 1 as the times for rest when the baby sleeps are not usually an option as Samuel is up, and the time Samuel is asleep is often the time Miriam chooses to be awake.

We are now visiting churches again as part of our home assignment, starting this weekend with our home church of Toxteth Tabernacle in Liverpool. After that it’s just 3 weeks until we fly back to Kathmandu on the 17th October, so life is busy getting everything prepared ready for our return.

Thank you to all of you who have sent cards and greetings, the many cards now adorn our lounge here in Didcot. We know we won’t get to see very many of you before we return, but thank you for your thoughts and prayers over the last few weeks and as we prepare to head back to Nepal.

If you haven't already heard Nepal experienced a significant earthquake over the weekend. Thankfully, our friends there are all safe and sound, but there was some loss of life.

We have added a bunch of photos to Facebook. You don't have to be on Facebook to view this photos, so just click the links below. The two albums are pretty similar, although there are some different photos in each.

Dan's photos

Becky's photos

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Reverse Culture Shock

We arrived back in the UK a few weeks back and have been enjoying settling in and seeing lots of families. Samuel, particularly, is enjoying the attention of Grandparents. Thankfully we have been able to get a BMS house in Didcot for 3 months, which is right in the town centre, and easy access for the shops and families.
Coming back this time we’re really starting to feel like we’ve been away from England for quite some time and we’ve noticed a few things that are now strange for us, in the country of our birth.

Even though I don’t drive in Nepal I do ride my bike around Kathmandu, and am a regular car passenger. But I was still surprised with how aggressive I have become on the roads, not dangerously, but just not very generous, going for gaps that aren’t rightfully mine etc, just because you need to too survive on roads in Kathmandu.

Two button flushes were certainly around before we left the UK at the beginning of 2008, but I have really noticed being back this time how they have now taken over every toilet in the land. I seriously don’t think I’ve pulled a handle on a toilet yet.

I know this is kind of a hot topic, and I knew it was expensive, but I reckon it has now gone up more in the 3 ½ years we’ve been in Nepal, than the previous 11 years I was driving beforehand.

I’ve not been fully up on the newest bands for quite some time, but at least I’d heard of most of them. Now the TV and radio are advertising and playing bands I’ve never even heard of. And not just the odd band, every single band seems to be new to me. Or is that just my age?

TV screens
Like toilet flushes these were certainly around plenty before I left, but again, the 30”+ screens have now taken over. I don’t think I’ve seen a CRT since being back.

Indoor shoes
I’m finding it really hard to walk into a house and not take my shoes off the second I walk through the door. And if for some reason I don’t take them off, for example lugging furniture into and out of houses, I feel very awkward wearing my shoes inside.

Wow, the internet is so fast! Download an episode off iplayer in less than 5 minutes, as opposed to 3-4 hours for an equivalent download back in Kathmandu.

Flushing the toilet from the cistern, and not using dirty shower water. Showering in drinkable water seems such a waste. Being able to just rinse a cup or bowl and then use it straight away, rather than worrying if it’s completely dry, because back home, if it had unfiltered water still on it we’d be getting mighty sick.

I'm sure those readers who have lived overseas can sympathise with this!

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Birthday Boy

This week we celebrated Samuel's second birthday. It seems an incredibly short amount of time since we were in the hospital with a brand new baby and conversely it seems like he's also been part of our lives so long we couldn't imagine (or should that be can't remember) life without him.

It's also a special time as we await the arrival of his little sibling, who is due at the end of August. Next birthday, God willing, we will be a family of four, which sounds like a real grown up family!

Anyway, back to Samuel's birthday. We celebrated with a party with four of Samuel's friends and their parents in our flat. All boys. There was time playing with new toys (two minor meltdowns over who got to ride Sam's new trike), time playing games (one minor meltdown over the fact the music kept stopping in musical bumps), food (no meltdowns, although one refusal to eat) and then cake! (This made everyone very happy).

We live under the flight path for both local and international planes. Kathmandu International Airport is no Heathrow, but a few times each day we have the planes passing over our flat, and Sam loves pointing them out and going “Neeauun” as they pass. So we felt an Airplane cake was appropriate and Dan made a good effort (at least for someone with the artistic skills of a Sea Cucumber) and it was very much enjoyed by Samuel.

So year number 2 is complete, and Samuel is now on his way to 3, passing through the terrible two's, becoming a big brother, and hopefully becoming conversant in English and Nepali on the way.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Update on Needs

Hi all.
Our last blog was written just over two months ago. Sorry for the long delay. Just wanted to update on our staffing needs.

Well since we last wrote we have been blessed with several teachers. The primary school in particular have seen many teachers come forward, and they are now in the position of potentially having too many teachers, as we actually don't have enough classrooms for any more classes, even though we have enough students. It's a good position to be in!

The secondary school are now looking well staffed for August too, although we still have a couple of needs. We have no Art teacher for August and so we are in desperate need of an Art Teacher to come for August. If you know of anyone do let us know. We also could do with an English teacher, although we can cope without, it would relieve a lot of burdens off several other staff. And we also need History and Study Support Heads of Faculties for January. If you know of anyone, send them our website link:

Quite a Day

This day happened to Dan a few weeks ago and we have been meaning to put it on our blog for a little bit, so here it goes.

7am: Breakast is interrupted by a phone call from the principal – a teacher is in hospital, she had her appendix out during the night. Another teacher stayed with her in hospital all night. The Principal is going in now and will be in school at 11. The other teacher is going home to bed and will be in about lunchtime.

8am: In school taking form class and then teaching my first ever RE lesson.

9am CEO pops her head into lesson and informs me that 3 members of SMT (Senior Management team) are going off site for our board meeting until after lunch and with the Secondary Principal in hospital, I and primary vice-principal are in charge of whole school, in case of emergency situation.

10am: I meet with our new ICT Systems manager to discuss current development issues including moving email system to Google. A quiet hour.

11am: Break time. Reminded by admin manager I have a 1.30 meeting with a potential parent who wants the British Education system explained, as they are currently in an American school. Then the site manager comes and informs me that we only have 12 days left of fuel for the generator and that we can’t get any more diesel due to a fuel crisis. Principal arrives back on site. I go teach as break finishes.

12pm: Teaching Year 10 ICT

1pm: I return to school having popped home for lunch. 1.30pm appointment doesn’t arrive. Informed teacher maybe coming out of hospital today, which is particularly significant as she’ll be coming to stay with us for a few days while she recovers.

2pm: I’m busy running around school organizing cover and plans for school tomorrow as there has been a general strike (bandh) called. We still plan to open but will not run buses and vans, which means around 1/3 of students won’t be in and 4 members of the teaching staff.
Also start to make plans for generator. Realise that we will have to start turning off generator at 3pm to conserve fuel instead of running it after school to allow staff and students to do work. We also have to consider the possibility of turning it off during the school day during periods when there isn’t so much demand.

3pm: School finishes. Whole secondary school lines up on roof as normal for notices etc. I explain tomorrows procedures. It has a particular impact on the students in Year 11, 12 & 13 who are just days away from starting their IGCSE, AS & A level examinations and so can’t afford to miss a day of school. Those who live beyond walking distance will make arrangements to stay with friends who live closer so they can get in the next morning.

4pm: Dashed home from school, Becky off into hospital to relieve the person who’s there with our teacher. I’m bathing Samuel and then entertaining him.

5pm: I’m about to put dinner on for Sam when I get a phone call from Becky to say hospital bill is huge and they need another 46,000 rupees (about £400). I spend nearly half an hour ringing round people trying to get enough cash together (hospital doesn’t take cards) and find people able to take the money into the hospital to pay the bill so she can leave. Eventually do.

6pm: Sit down with Sam to eat our slightly later than planned dinner. After dinner Becky & the teacher arrive home from hospital minus one appendix.

7pm Sam is just in bed and I am reheating dinner for Becky so she can have some. Our patient is Skyping family back in the UK to let them know she is ok.

8pm: Sam has been asleep for an hour, our patient is also asleep. Becky and I share some quiet time together and watch a DVD.

9pm Pregnant Becky goes to bed, I stay up for another hour reading. Then off to bed for sleep, ready for another (hopefully slightly less) eventful day.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Urgent Needs

Working at KISC we learn to live by faith when it comes to staffing. And God has always been faithful. Every year we wait patiently for the new staff to sign on and they always do. KISC has been going 23 years and always had enough staff to function, even though the majority are volunteers, supported by home churches and living thousands of miles from “home”. However this year the situation is more extreme than it has been for a long time.

We have several urgent needs to be able to run well next year. If you are a teacher, or you know someone who is, then please look at the list below and see if there is anything you could do to help, or pass it on to someone who might be interested. Teachers need to have some support, usually through a mission or from churches, although KISC can offer a little financial support, it’s not enough to live on. This enables us to keep our fees at rates that missions can afford.

We need for August 2011 (roughly in order of urgency)
• Head of English
• 2 Primary Grade teachers
• English Teacher
• Head of Humanities or History teacher or Geography teacher (preference is in that order)
• Primary Vice Principal
• Art Teacher
• Another Primary Grade Teacher and a Reception teacher
• Student support teachers (those who can help with students with learning needs including ESL students), both Primary & Secondary

And from December 2011
• History or Geography Teacher (opposite of whichever comes in August!)
• Head of Student Support
• French teacher

Please pray. Please consider if you could commit one year of your life to making a huge difference in the lives of some amazing kids, and as a result play your part in the work of development, and the spreading of the Gospel here in Nepal.

For more details or to apply click here.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

BMS Day of Prayer

Monday is the 2011 BMS World Mission Day of Prayer. So this afternoon a group of us got together at our house to pray. It was good to spend some time together thinking and praying for the work that BMS are involved with all over the world. We were guided in our prayer by resources from BMS’s own website, which you can download by clicking here.

It’s also a special couple of days as we know tomorrow churches across the UK will be praying for the work of BMS and on Monday the BMS offices in Didcot and others all over the world will also be joining in prayer. So if you want more information follow this link to the BMS Website.

BMS Day of Prayer 2011

Thursday, 3 February 2011

A week at KISC

Stealing an idea from another blog we read we thought we’d do a week in our lives. This time we’re with Dan.

In the Secondary school we have assemblies on Monday and Friday. This week was exam week for our senior students at KISC so our assemblies are always slightly disjointed as we try to fit 80 students into a room setup for 40 to take exams. However, the students gather round and sit on the edges of tables and we carry on regardless. After assembly I was running the Secondary Leadership Meeting, the “workhorse of the secondary school”. This week we were trying to finalise our assessment policy to cement changes that have been taking place over the last 2 and a half years. One of my key roles is in managing all the curriculum and assessment of the whole school, and while we are mostly a British Curriculum we try to be as truly international as possible to enable our students to study anywhere in the world after KISC. So setting up an assessment policy that enables that involves a lot of work and development.
The rest of Monday saw me teaching Grade 8, but a bonus free as Grade 12 were in exams.

Tuesday begins with homeroom, and I am the Grade 8 homeroom teacher. Grade 8 is the biggest year group in the whole school at 19 students, but of course that’s small compared to the UK.
This term we’ve been looking at slavery in PSHE, so I gave them this morning’s homeroom to work in groups looking at some of the tactics of the abolitionists in the 17th & 18th Century. Next week we will be comparing slavery of that time to modern day slavery. I actually had no classes after that as the rest were in exams, and so I had a productive day of work, doing some planning for my classes over the next few weeks. Tuesday evening is our house group where we meet with a bunch of other expats to study the bible and pray together.

Wednesday is always my teaching free day, so again it was a day of getting admin done, this time focusing on updating all our handbooks for the various different sets of parents and staff ready for next school year. At the beginning of March we will be asking the students to select their IGCSE and AS options ready for me to plough away at the timetable for 4 months. We’ve also decided to completely restructure the daily lesson times and move to a two week timetable, so I will have all that to factor into next year.

Thursday was a slightly crazy day and went from a massive high to a deep low as the day went on, but it all worked out ok in the end. Since Christmas we had been having problems with some very important software, our whole school database. We have a very impressive system, which contains all our staff and student and parents details as well as all the details about the courses students are studying and their grades and reports. However, this wasn’t working and our technical ICT staff had been working all hours to try to fix it since the start of term, they had got it working in stages, over the week but crucially we still couldn’t get any outputs working. Having a lot of data stored in a computer with no way of getting it out is fairly useless. Finally, around lunchtime, we were able to print out some data and I was very happy. However, about an hour later we realised that the data it was pumping out was old and didn’t include any recent updates, including the reports a number of our staff had been writing. We thought for a while it had all been lost, but then thankfully it was retrieved and now we have a fully working system.

Friday often focuses on SMT (Senior Management Team) for me. This is made up of the heads of each section of the school and deals with all the big issues of the whole school. This Friday we focused on our staffing needs that are ongoing and we were discussing how we get “the right people on the bus” to enable us to continue to be the best school we possibly can. It was a good end to a busy week.

Some news articles on Nepal from the BBC:
Working by Candelight
Prime Minister at last