Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Walkathon


Last Friday KISC held a walkathon. It was a great community event with the whole school, students, staff and some parents walking to the new site. The students have been busy collecting sponsors since before Christmas to raise money for a covered sports field. This would provide them with a good quality astro covered pitch to play on all year round with shade from the sun and shelter from the heavy monsoon rains.
The aim was US$45,000. Many in the community didn’t think we could make it. After arriving at the new site it was announced that not only had they reached the target, but they had smashed it! They have collected pledges totaling over US$56,000! Now we just need to collect the money in!

Once at the new site we had music and balloons to welcome us, hot dogs, brownies and lemonade for lunch and tours of the new buildings. It is just 5 weeks until we open on the new site, so it was all very exciting as many of the students hadn’t seen it before now. There is still a lot of work to be done, but we are on target. If you would like to sponsor Sam and Mim it’s not too late, just get in touch and let us know!

Friday, 5 January 2018

A New Year and a new home.

Our new flat
Moving Truck
This was our final Christmas in Nepal, and a rather busy one. We had a 3 week break from school, so we spent the first week resting after a busy term and slowly beginning to pack – as well as some end of term sickness unfortunately. We then took a few days to celebrate Christmas including lots of singing and dancing (not by us!), a roast dinner and a picnic with friends on Boxing Day.

Then on the 27th we began packing with some urgency and moved on the 28th. We have moved to a small flat 7km away from our old one on the outskirts of the city. While this may seem crazy just 6 months before leaving, it has meant we have already downsized a lot and so
will have less to clear out in the summer. It also means we are just 10mins walk from KISC’s new site. KISC will move in mid-February and so will make our last few months here much easier.

Moving was interesting, but actually went very smoothly. We hired a small truck plus driver and two moving men who had to do 3 runs between the houses to get everything shifted. Dan also did about 5 runs in 2 days in the schools vehicle which we borrowed.

Enjoying more space and spectacular views.
The third week of our holiday was then spent settling in. We had to begin by squeezing all our stuff into a much smaller flat plus all the niggling DIY issues of a new house. We’ve had an electrician in 3 or 4 times, plus a plumber. We’ve also had to figure out where to get things in a smaller town which isn’t used to foreigners. Took us nearly a week to discover there is a dairy nearby where we can get fresh milk. Today we got our two empty gas bottles replaced (essential for cooking and hot showers!) and so feel nearly there.

Monday we start the new school term and the new commute, but also celebrate 10 years in Nepal. We will have a small housewarming party tomorrow (Saturday) to mark the occasion.

Friday, 22 December 2017

Carol Singing

Ahh, that wonderful Christmas tradition, Christmas Carol singers coming round. Well in Nepal we have that but a bit different. A group pre-arranges to visit one or two houses an evening and comes with sound system in tow ready to entertain the neighbourhood. The hosts then provide snacks for everyone who comes to sing and to listen. The whole thing takes several hours.

Last night we gathered with some international friends to sing some traditional Christmas carols, round a roaring log fire in their back garden. We sang a few of our favourites, such as O Come all Ye faithful and Hark the Herald Angels Sing.




Then, as we were singing, about half of the congregation of our Nepali Church showed up to join us. After setting up the full sound system including 2 guitars and several mics they started singing some Nepali Christmas songs with the requisite dancing. They also put on a little skit of the angel appearing to Mary and Joseph. This was all followed by an invitation to everyone within ear short to join them for church on Christmas morning, then lots of food which our friends had arranged for everyone to share. Nepali curries with a dried flat rice called churra, followed by western sweets of brownies, cupcakes and cinnamon rolls. It was a lovely, fun evening of two cultures meeting and celebrating Christmas together. 

Monday, 6 November 2017

The New KISC Director

Over the past few months KISC has been actively looking for a new KISC Director to replace Dan when we leave Nepal next summer.

They interviewed in early October, and we were excited when they invited someone to come for a final interview and to visit KISC. Judy was formally offered the job at the end of this short visit and has accepted.

She is Australian and needs to finish up her current job at Christmas before heading out here sometime in the Spring after some training in Australia. This means she will have time for some language and orientation as well as hand over before beginning the new job next August after we leave.

We are very thankful for this appointment as it allows us to move with peace of mind. Click here to read the official KISC announcement.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Festival Season

Himalyan Times Article on 27 Sept
We are in the middle of the Dashain (pronounced Dos-ai) festival here in Nepal. It is a 15 day festival observed throughout Nepal each year. Every day has different significance with different rituals to be performed. The main days of the festival are the 7-10th days with the 10th falling on this coming Saturday. Many Nepalese travel to their home towns and villages at this time to be with their extended family for the main days. 

We found this article in the paper yesterday. It estimates that 400,000 people have been leaving the Kathmandu valley for the past few days. Today is the 8th day of the festival and the streets are noticeably quiet with all schools and offices closed and most shops and restaurants too, as well as the fact the city has 2 million less people in it than last week!

We stocked up on some fruit and veg today, but can no longer get fresh bread as the bakeries have shut down. Newspapers will be out of print until after the weekend now too. We were glad of some people still working though, when a leaking pipe started spraying water in our bathroom this morning! The plumber (who was probably less pleased) came within the hour stopped the leak and will return after the weekend to replace the pipe.

Fresh Meat
Food is a very important part of the Dashain festival and goat is the meat of choice, preferred fresh. Slightly fresher than our traditional Christmas turkey. So we have seen a lot of people taking their goats home by various modes of transportation this week.

Sam and Mim were watching one this afternoon being bought in the back of a pickup truck to the butchers while I bought my vegetables next door. I hurried to finish my shopping and take them home before they were both traumatised, much to Sam’s disappointment!

And once Dashain is done, it's only 2 weeks until the next 5 day festival of Tihar (Diwali)

Thursday, 3 August 2017

England

We have been back in Nepal two days now. We had a good time in the UK this summer – as always many miles traveled, (nearly 3000 this time), lots of family and friends visited and caught up with and good English summer weather enjoyed. Actually much of the weather has been very good, apart from the last week.

Last weekend we enjoyed a family wedding as Becky’s sister got married. The wedding took place in Oxford and the reception was in a field by the river Thames. It was a great way to end our time in the UK.

As we settle back into Nepal we are able to reflect on our time in the UK. For the UK itself it has been an interesting couple of months, the general election, several significant terrorist attacks, and of course the terrible fire at Grenfell Tower.

Nepal too has seen elections and monsoon triggered landslides. KISC, has had its new 5 year agreement with the ministry of Education and Home Ministry (this allows us to operate and provide visas for our international staff) approved.

For our family, we have had time to relax, enjoyed extended time with grandparents, great grandparents, Aunts & Uncles and cousins, especially those over from Australia (Dan’s sister and family live in Sydney). We have also had time to reflect on the coming year, which we intend to be our last in Nepal and all that that entails.


At this point we don’t know what the future beyond June 2018 holds. We will be praying – and appreciate your prayers, and we will be trusting in the God who has taken us on such an amazing journey over the last 10 years since we joined BMS in the summer of 2007. Our desire is to make the most of this year first, and then start to prepare for the next stage of life. We feel sure it will be an interesting next few years for our family.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Electioneering

It seems that elections are all around us at the minute. Maybe you feel like Brenda - “Not again” or maybe you're excited… ok, probably not.

Supporters of one party campaigning down our lane
Nepal, like the UK is gearing up for elections. These are taking place this coming Sunday, 14 May. These are local elections, but they are the first local elections to take place for about 20 years, although national elections took place in 2008 and 2013. Following years of political struggle, a civil war, and a constitution process that took 8 years, it feels like this is a significant step in the process of turning Nepal into a democracy. These elections will be for 700 village and municipality assemblies.

Electioneering is well underway in Kathmandu now. This last week flags of one of the parties have been put up on all the telegraph poles in our street. We have also had at least two groups of supporters come down our street. They have been in a large group of 20-30 people, with the flags of their party. Each party has a flag with a simple symbol in the centre so that they are easily identified for the illiterate and under educated, particularly in the rural areas.

Public Information Posters (click to see them in more detail) 

This evening a group came along with a loud speaker on the back of a motor bike and a guy with a microphone shouting slogans and explaining why his party was the one to vote for.


We’ve also seen public information notices appear on walls near our house. As you can see from the photo, they include helpful pictures making it clear what inappropriate behaviour is at election time, including having a party with food to coerce people to vote for you and trying to get people to vote for your party by threatening them with knives and guns. Good to know.