Monday, April 18, 2011


• Like clockwork, Gudu brought us breakfast in our room at 8:00 am - fried egg on white bread with toast & jam & tea • The bulk of the morning was taken up with class planning, now that we have a basic sense as to where the boys are in their English skills, we think we have something we can build on • Maybe? • Teaching English, on a volunteer basis, when neither of us are teachers, is tricky to say the least • What is even more tricky is that there is no assigned curriculum - we have to establish it as we go - us, and every other volunteer that rolls through here • If only there could be a set curriculum to follow, I think both the Monks and volunteers would benefit that much more - note: must tell someone in authority that! • Like clockwork, once the main power came on, Kitti and I hit the Internet cafe • Boys in the cubicle next to me were singing along to Celine Dion & Beyoncé on the radio - they were actually pretty good • I smiled at them and they giggled with embarrassment back • Before we knew it, it was time for 11:00 Daal Bhaat • Finished our final lesson planning and Karma was waiting in D.T. and Anjou's room to escort us to the Monastery • The Monks, even the little ones with all their energy, walk a slow steady pace up hill, up the long row of stairs to the Monastery • At first I thought it was for our benefit, but no, that is how I think everyone around here tolerates all the hills • Only the crazy European & North American tourists are moving quickly up the hills - well, not this North American - I learned from Karma & the boys about the slow steady pace & embraced it • We were greeted by some of our Monks when we got to the entrance to the Monastery, which lead off the stairway • We thought we had our class worked out, but these boys are not disciplined and sitting in a class is not their thing - Enter plan B • Class started at 12:45 today and by 1:30, we were wiped • Plan B: a Field Trip to the Monkey Temple (the young Monks are not allowed to wander up to the Monkey Temple on their own, so it would be a bit of a treat) • At 2:00, we would take the six winners from the day before up to the Monkey Temple, if they wanted to go (we gave them a 5 minute break and said we would be leaving at 2:00 if they wanted to join us) • I cringed when Kitti told me that Pema, the most disruptive of the bunch, had completed his work the day before, and therefore was allowed to join the Field Trip • Pema was a kid who acted out, in all the wrong ways, trying to get attention • When Pema wasn't smiling, he could look down right scary to me (and yet, I knew he was a Monk, albiet a lama in training - much training I thought) • At 2:00 Pema, Rabi, Rin Tsering, Dowa Lama, Singhe, Kitti and I traipsed up to the Stupa at the top of the Monkey Temple • Wow, these trouble makers turned into happy fun little boys • Pema became my sidekick and said we were nice - again, wow! • A breakthrough • Pema was just craving attention & wanted his photo taken, as they all did • These young Monks were as good as gold, listening to me on the walk • We counted Hindu Temples, discussed the colour of monkeys & told them the English words, "Prayer Wheels" • Rabi was the photographer in the crowd & took our group shots - you couldn't get him to stop snapping once he started - I couldn't get mad at him, he was having such fun • 3:00 came so quickly, as we were all having such a good time • Once back at the Monastery the boys, even those that didn't join us, performed wild Kung Fu acrobatics for us - wanting it all photographed of course • Karma, and the lucky 6 all got chocolates • Karma seemed relieved when we told him we didn't need an escort home, that we would be ok • Kitti and I happily walked down the stairs and along the wall of the Temple, watching monkeys cavort and chase each other • Who would have thought that I would be dodging monkeys on my way home from work? - fun • Our 4:00 snack of noodles and tea was waiting for us as we got home • Sitting on our beds and eating, we were discussing the success of our field trip, still learning who is who & their different personalities • I did however, have Pema's name learned on the first day - what does that say? • My bad boy stood out • D.T. has been at school all day, revising a brochure and Anjou has been entertaining with her sister & friends • Anjou is relaxing as she is about to head back to the country, Chitwan, to be head of her family during farming season • Anjou will be in the country for 3 months, walking 2 hours into the jungle each day to get what she needs & come back and plough the land by a hand pick and axe • The family is completely self sustaining in the country • Kitti and I have given ourselves a budget of 1200 rupees each, for the week • The Internet only cost us 10 rupees, how could it not last? • Kitti and I went for a walk to check out our neighborhood further • I managed to find an interesting prayer necklace in a shop down the street & a chap that had wooden carvings - this ate into my budget a bit - but I was still on track • Back in our room I could hear the sounds of dinner being made • The hiss of the rice pressure cooker, Gudu pounding the veggies on a stone with a stone to make a pesto & the friendly chatter of Anjou and Gudu in the kitchen • Dinner was served precisely at 7:30 - Daal Bhaat

Our field trip up to the Stupa.

Group shot at the Stupa

Like my fancy men, the Sadhus,
these guys love to pose.
Left to right: Rin Tsering, Dowa Lama & Pema.

Pema asked for this photo to be taken
with the Buddha.

Photographer Rabi gone mad,
taking 20 photos 2 seconds a part here.

Our Monks amongst the Temples.
 The chap in the green t-shirt is an ex-Monk.
He used to be a part of this Monastery, but left,
& is on holidays from school now just visiting his pals.
Each Monastery has their own rules as to whether one can leave or not.

Kitti showing the boys their photos.

Walking down from the Monkey Temple
with Kathmandu in the background.

Our Kung Fu boys.

They were absolutely fearless in jumping off railings & spinning around.

Kitti called this young Monk, the littlest Angel.
Don't let that sweet stare fool you,
he was the most passive aggressive little guy.
His real name is Nyma Setar.

This smile so captures Singhe's personality.
It makes me smile.

Really guys, we have to go...

Mom & baby.

It really was a treat to see this on our way home.

Not unusual to see this - dogs curled up on the cement in a cluster.

Did I hear necklaces?

A house in front of ours.

The house at the end of our lane.

Kitti started photographing the boys.

Then they were coming at me so quickly.


  1. I love your story telling, and today's entries about the young boy monks is priceless.Pema has already wormed his way into my heart, and the littlest angel, from all appearances is a little sweetie who knows how to get his way. The pictures so capture the energy and playfulness of the "boy monks". Just wonderful.

  2. I believe this experience was life changing for you. It is nice for me to experience a bit of what you went through and therefore, also change my life.

  3. Pema has definitely made a lasting impression on me. I'm glad you are enjoying my experiences.


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