Campion, school of Champions.
Madan picked us up early for a full four (turned into five!) playshop day. A part of the Chaudhary family of schools, this local boarding school has over 700 students and we were, frankly, confronted by the potential onslaught of group after group under the hot sun with no end in sight. The saving grace of this potential overwhelm was that we would have a group of teachers with us, throughout the day, training to do playshops on their own.
We were graced by a shady rooftop venue and the teachers joined us at the beginning of the first playshop. Jennifer ran the first playshop, a delightful and giggly time. Deneen ran the second with another classic dog howling moment. And Anju made the third playshop beautiful with her own growing brand of flair.
Between each group of kids, we played some games with the teachers and debriefed the accumulating knowledge about the flow of the exercises. On each next meeting the teachers seemed to be growing their understanding of what we were up to and, by the end of the third playshop, they were asking some more specific questions and seemed eager to take over.
Jonah jumped in for the fourth playshop and narrated the steps to the teachers as he went through them with the students. The teachers watched and nodded with understanding. After a delicious lunch of traditional Nepalese food, we returned to the rooftop where, following some warmup games and some more detailed instructions, the teachers who had spent the morning observing did a courageous and wonderful thing: they collaboratively ran a playshop together, for the first time!
While the whole thing was absolutely beautiful, there was a particularly powerful moment in the end when all the teachers were standing in a circle in the middle, facing their students and breathing deeply and slowly, modeling the grounding exercises they’d returned to throughout the playshop they ran.
When the students left, the teachers were ecstatic. They hugged each other and high fived us all.
We ended the day with some words of encouragement: mostly that they already knew everything they needed to know, they always did, and that the kids were as lucky to have them as they were to have each other.
It was a very special day - not only because we left real capacity on the ground here in Nepal, but because it was Deneen and Jennifer’s last day here. The team grew surprisingly close over this short span of time and we’re all pretty sad to see this part of the trip come to a close.
We ended the night taking our driver, Madan, and his family out to dinner in Thamel, a bustling neighborhood in Kathmandu. Anju and Deneen ate spaghetti, Jonah and Jennifer ate traditional Nepalese dinner, Madan had his favorite, Dalbhat, and Madan’s grandson had Coca Cola. Sharing food with new friends has been a highlight of the trip - from our visit to Jennifer’s sister’s recommendation, the Yak restaurant, to the beautiful home cooked meal at the RST Orphanage, it’s all been very special.
Despite losing a few centimeters in the earthquake, Mount Everest remains the highest peak on the planet and, supposedly, on a clear day, you can see it from Kathmandu. Though we haven’t caught a glimpse yet, Jennifer and Deneen leave with tomorrow’s sunrise and, hopefully, they’ll get a nice peak. Whatever they see as they fly out, Anju and Jonah will be thinking of them and sending them love and gratitude for the hard work and friendship we all shared over the past 10 days.
For now, blog’s going dark for a few while Jonah and Anju head to Pokhara, Anju’s home city, for a little break. Thanks for reading, and for partnering with us and the work we’re doing out here to bring a little light to a beautiful place facing a hard time.
Second Response Team Nepal