Woke up with the alarm and checked my email and Facebook in bed to find several welcome messages. Up and dressed then went to Cafe Swotha for a repeat of yesterday's healthy breakfast plus a mull over the lessons I had planned but wasn't happy with. They brought me black tea and I requested a small jug of cold milk so enjoyed a "proper" cup of tea with breakfast.
Walked to school via the temple then signed in. I was greeted by the staff who wished me a happy birthday then up to the library to replan the lessons. At about 9.30 Karuna, the head, came in and we proceeded round the school to each class where the children all sang Happy Birthday and I had to wear the special hat. I had bought enough sweets for each child in the school to have one and it was lovely to give them out. One boy in class 1 also has his birthday today (as does Bijayata's brother!) so we had a photo taken together.
|Ujjal whose birthday is also today. He was giving the teachers sweets.|
|In the birthday hat!|
|Giving out sweets in the Nursery|
|Me and Ujjal - he is very shy and didn't want to smile.|
I was supposed to teach maths but was late for the start of the lesson because of giving out the sweets so the teacher had already started. I helped the children with their work and tried to explain fractions in simple English - not easy. Then a session in the library sorting out resources and chatting to the teachers before an English lesson with class 3 doing spelling by hangman (you have to guess each letter consecutively so have to understand the blends and patterns in English to predict what comes next) then the final lesson on habits with class 5.
At the end of the lesson Anju took me upstairs to the library where, to my amazement, the teachers had decorated with balloons and were all gathered. I sat at a table in the middle and they burst a balloon containing glitter over my head! Then they gave me a chocolate birthday cake and sang happy birthday while I tried to blow out the candles (they were trick ones!!). We had a photo with everyone together then shared the cake. I gave out a woefully inadequate box of chocolates (it looked large but had few chocolates inside) and then was given a gift of a shawl and a card. I was so touched and felt really emotional. I was able to thank everyone for their generosity and friendship over the last month then people scattered to have lunch. I was given a final task of jumping with a pair of compasses to burst the final balloons then was rewarded with a cup of milk tea.
|Surprise chocolate birthday cake.|
|Singing Happy Birthday|
|Trying to blow out the candles and making a wish.|
|With all the staff. I shall treasure this photo.|
|Cutting the cake into 17 - not easy!|
|With the shawl present.|
|Still trying to work out how to cut the cake into 17!|
|With chocolate on my nose|
|Enjoying the cake.|
|With a cup of tea - every day at 2pm I have been brought one.|
|Glitter on the floor from the balloon.|
|Trying to burst the balloons.|
Koruna and I then walked to the hostel where we left a big bag of sweets (I had lots left over) for the hostel children. I was able to meet some of the staff there, many, of whom have come through the hostel and school themselves and to see some photos of the children. Then back to the family home for lunch of paneer curry, buff, chicken, potato, rice and daal. This was followed by fresh mango and King Curd from Bhaktapur - delicious.
I headed back to the school where I was in time for another cup of milk tea and a chat with the teachers in the library. For the final session I went to try and help out but nowhere needed me so I headed to the nursery where I was thrown in front of the senior nursery children (aged 3 and 4) and asked to do an impromptu lesson on counting to 20. I think I did ok!
After school I went to the office to see Kiran and to pay for the shipping of the books (about £450) and there is enough money left over to buy a printer for the school. I have committed to finding the funds to resources the consumables for the printer each month so will be fundraising again...I'll put the details in a later post if you are interested in helping out. Then Kiran presented me with a hand knitted poncho which is beautiful. I was very touched indeed.
I walked home via the temple ponds where the children were swimming and having a great time and spoke with Bikesh at the kiosk who,on hearing it is my birthday, invited me for a complimentary cup of tea. I gratefully accepted and after putting my things in my room and trying to skype Mum and Dad (both out) I went and enjoyed the sunshine and a pot of delicious Ilam tea (local Nepalese brew).
I manged to speak to Mum and tell her about the day then wrote up the blog. I'm now heading out to Casa Pagoda once again for a celebratory bottle of Everest beer and something to eat. A wonderful and extremely memorable birthday.