Team Nepal - Day 9

Jonah here:  After a week of a lifetime’s worth of adventure in Pokhara, Anju and I returned last night to Kathmandu to meet up with our new teammate, Dr. Norman Christiansen.  It is time to get started on the next leg of our journey.

We left early this morning for the Chandbagh School, headed up by the enthusiastic and patient principal, Bhushan Gurung.  As is often the case, the school had been badly damaged during the earthquake with construction all over the place. Students were working in two makeshift classrooms under tarps in what otherwise appeared to be half of a play area. We were instructed to run our playshops in the open space next to that area.  While we were initially hesitant, we quickly learned that the gym teacher was also running activities right next to us with noise and distraction par for the course.

Today we ran 7 playshops for groups of about 40 kids ranging in age from 6 thru 14 years as well as 2 groups of about 25 teachers.  To be perfectly honest, this whole process has been challenging.  On the one hand, I am happy to work with as many kids as we can reach.  On the other hand, sometimes I feel we must do more - like it’ll never be enough. And if we’re not training people, not replicating ourselves, it’s not enough.  So far, we’ve succeeded in training Deneen, Anju, and Jennifer from our first Second Response team in Nepal as well as a group of teachers at the Campion School; at least up to a point of running their first group together with our help.   

Of course it’s been a pleasure and a privilege to experience the unique quality of each group participating in a playshop as they progress from new, curious circle to grounded, united, calm family. That said my ambition here is to train people and leave capacity on the ground. So when we arrive at a school where we’re put in front of kids with nobody along to “practice” or “observe,” I feel frustrated that we didn’t do enough to explain ourselves or set it up clearly as an opportunity for practice and knowledge/skill sharing.  It’s further disheartening when I find myself in a position of voicing my wishes for it to be different to the principal who is obviously juggling much more than my own (selfish?) ambitions.  So, it’s complicated.  I’ll never know if I’m doing enough… or maybe better put, I struggle to feel as if I’m doing enough - and that discomfort probably isn’t all bad.

It was certainly a good day of practice for our team and we reached hundreds of children with the playshops. We returned home exhausted but eager to keep refining our process to be as effective and far reaching as possible.

Anju here:  This time, it was a whole new experience being home in Pokhara. After visiting my family, we returned to Kathmandu. Seeing so much destroyed infrastructure by the earthquake, I felt sad.  Worse was seeing the children studying outside in tents with their hearts still scared and vigilant, hoping there will be no more earthquakes. Every time I lead a playshop, I feel so happy knowing that the children are having a good time, smiling and jumping around. It was a successful day:  we shared 7 playshops and were very tired in the end