Sunday, 7 December 2014

Fever Court

Sports fever has hit KISC in the last couple of weeks as our sports teams, and one in particular have taken part in various competitions. For a small school (just over 100 secondary students) we have a few sports teams and are reasonably competitive. We have a very hard working swim team during the swimming season (summer – it’s too cold to swim now), a girls basketball and football team that have taken part in competitions and our newly (re)formed boys football team took part in its first competition for a number of years last weekend.

But the number 1 sports team at KISC is our Basketball team. Back in 2012/13 they went about 25 games unbeaten and won so many trophies we didn’t have room for them in our trophy cabinet at school. The sports department at KISC has put on a couple of basketball competitions in the past (known as the KISC Friendship Tournament) but we have always had to host them at other schools. But last week for the first time we were able to host the competition in our own basketball court, which is now about a year old (see previous blogs here and here).

The winners (Picture courtesy of
While the team haven’t been on quite such a rich vein of form as 2 years back they are still a strong team. The core of the team, and in fact the starting 5 has been the same for the past 3 seasons. This certainly proved decisive as the KISC team won their group and got through the quarters to the semi-final without hardly going behind at any point. The semi-final was a tighter game but they still won convincingly. The final, held yesterday (Saturday) was a much tighter game and the opposition, Liverpool International, certainly pushed them hard and had quite a lead at one point. But the strength and unity of the KISC team meant they eventually won 70-54 to ensure success in our own tournament.

I then got to present the winners and runners up medals to the teams. The competition, and therefore KISC, got some good coverage on one of the local news websites and there was a real community atmosphere at several of the games, especially in the later stages as many other students, staff and parents came to cheer the boys on. And one of the best things was that it was on our own court.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Life on the Roof

Pretty much every house in Nepal comes with an accessible flat roof. This is where people can hang their washing to dry, access their water tanks and, as the winter approaches, it is also where more and more people spend their time trying to keep warm.

Winter here is dry and sunny, but cold. Temperatures very rarely drop below freezing, but with no heating and poor insulation houses get pretty cold, so during the day the best place to be is out in the sunshine.

We are very fortunate in that we have a nice big roof which is almost as big as our flat directly below. We are also the only ones who use it most of the time, so through the winter months the children have enjoyed cycling (although they are getting a little big for the space now), playing ball games (although it's a long trek down 3 flights to get the ball if it goes over the edge) and drawing with chalk on the roof.

While supervising the children Dan and I usually spend our time enjoying the mountain views and people watching. Our building has 3 flats so our third floor rooftop is one of the tallest in the area so we can see others around on their roof tops as well as the streets below. We often see children playing or being bathed in the sun, women combing each other’s hair, or just folk having a nap in the warm! It’s a great vantage point to watch Nepali life unfold.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Activity Week – Primary style

Last week was Activity week at KISC. This an annual event where the secondary students go on trips around the country (we blogged about this in 2008, but realised we haven't since - one for next year). However, this year Dan stayed at school to hold the fort and help out with Primary’s Activity week. This was also our first year as parents of Activity week and rather than us write about what happened, we thought we would ask Sam about the week.

What happened last week at school?
Activity week was about spies. We were learning about spies

So what did you do each afternoon?
I went to the hall and started my activities. There were games and I went to the very top of the building and just there was the art room so we did art. And then a friend of mine in my class, Naomi, her mummy taught us a bit about spies, she called them agents instead of spies. The spies were finding out about God and Jesus

What was your favourite part of each day?
The games.
Primary Staff in their Spy Costumes

What things did you make during the week?
(He goes to get them to show me) An I spy shaker, binoculars, name tag, a bookmark and a couple of drawings and a box to keep my spy things in. And it’s painted red.

How did each day end?
We went to assembly and there was a drama.

Tell me about the drama
Mr Sheenan, the year 2 teacher, we called out for him because we loved his character. His character was an officer called Inspector NoClue. And my Daddy was really funny. I laughed at lots of bits. Daddy was a bad man.

What did you have to wear on Thursday?
A spy costume. I wore a black jumper and black t-shirt and jeans and sunglasses and a hat.

Did you enjoy the week? Are you looking forward to Activity Week next year?
Yes! I can’t wait till Spy week again

(At this point the interview ends as I have to disappoint the interviewee by pointing out that the theme won’t necessarily be spies again next year!)

Monday, 20 October 2014

Australia & Community

The Bride & Groom
It’s been a bit quiet on the blog front from us for a while as we’ve been away on our big trip down under. While we don’t normally write about holidays on our blog, this one was a bit special. For those of you who don’t know Dan’s sister emigrated to Australia in 2008. She has lived in Sydney ever since, she has also become an Australian citizen and last month she got married to her Australian fiancĂ©. So, for the first time we were able to travel down under and enjoy her wedding. Becky was a bridesmaid and Sam & Mim were page boy and flower girl.
Flower Girl & Page Boy

In addition to the wedding our other main highlight of the trip was being reunited with many former KISC folk. KISC has staff from all over the world, but Australia has consistently been a major recruiting ground for staff for KISC and so we have many former staff spread across the country. You may remember the “Day of 5” blog from a few years back when God came through on providing 5 teachers urgently needed all in one day – all of these were Australian and some of them we were able to meet up with while we were there.

While we were in Sydney we attended a KISC Sydney reunion with 3 other couples all of whom had been at KISC in some form (including as parents) and another day we met with another couple who had both taught at KISC and got to meet there two children who had been born since. Then we went to Brisbane for a week to stay with the former Secondary Principal who Dan had worked closely with for several years, and her family. We were able to meet up with their 4 children, all of whom were former KISC students, and 2 Dan had taught, as well as 2 other former teachers. In all we had 6 current or former teachers and 5 current or former students (including one who was both a former student and teacher!).

KISC Brisbane Reunion
It was great meeting up, sharing stories and being reunited with good friends, most of whom we hadn’t seen since they had left KISC, which in some cases was 4 years ago. It was another reminder for us about the importance and the strength of the KISC community, and the bonds that are forged while at KISC are not easily broken. That is a feature of this lifestyle, we go deep in relationships quick, we have to say goodbye often, but we are left with friends all over the world.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014


Last Sunday we were able to spend a day with the EQUIP staff and their families. We shared in our last blog about the work of EQUIP and as a Director of KISC, Dan was invited along to their annual family fun day. The EQUIP staff are a mixture of Nepali’s and Bideshies (foreigners), including Brits, an Australian and American.

We all arrived at KISC at 9:30 on Sunday morning and piled onto the KISC bus with our swimming costumes, games and activities for the day. After a one hour bus journey winding our way across Kathmandu to the furthest corner from where we live we arrived at the Gorkana Forest Resort, a very nice hotel on the edge of the valley.

There were about 35 of us in all with staff, their husbands, wives, children, siblings and parents and we all bundled off the bus and were quickly into the pool. What had been a quiet, empty pool suddenly became full of noise, splashing, fun and games.

Lunch was a full Nepali curry for the grown-ups and chicken and chips and spaghetti bolognese for the children. After lunch we played silly games including carrying cotton wool on your nose and apples between your foreheads. We even got to play parachute games with a parachute that has been donated to EQUIP, and which the children loved.

Finally, we closed by praying for our families and for the work of EQUIP. A great day bonding with staff from all over the world, who are all playing a role in equipping Nepali education for the better.

Thursday, 11 September 2014


Khim and Dan
Khim Kandel, a fellow Director of Dan’s led a devotion at a recent staff meeting on the term theme of Justice. Khim is the Director of the teacher training branch of KISC, known as EQUIP. EQUIP partner with schools and school districts across Nepal to lead trainings for Local Education Authorities, School leaders, teachers and parents aiming to improve the quality of education across Nepal.

As a part of their work two other things they do is provide tin trunk libraries to rural schools and scholarships so that students who wouldn’t have been able to afford to go to school can now do so. (Follow these links to see more about tin trunk libraries and scholarships). A couple of weeks ago a few of the EQUIP staff including Khim went to some of the schools they work with in Kathmandu Valley to hand out scholarships.

Khim shared the story of three of the mothers that he was talking with as their daughters received scholarships. As they shared their story with Khim two of them were in tears. Khim shared that both these ladies had left abusive, alcoholic husbands and they had endured a life of scraping together every last penny and hiding it from husbands just so they had enough to eat. They told him that there was no way that in other circumstances their daughters would have been able to go to school.

Khim then shared with us his own story, which included a similar situation growing up. And while it is far from the norm it is not an uncommon story, and one which is not unique to Nepal. But the traditional culture of Nepal is that women are the less important gender. They have to do all the work, and they are expected to be subservient to their husband and their husband’s family. Traditionally a wife would walk a pace or two behind their husband and in some parts of Nepal it is still the culture for wife to wash her husband’s feet and drink the water as a sign of respect. This is far from normal today, but it does still go on.

As we focused on Justice this term Khim spoke of justice for the women of Nepal and challenged us all to seek to make a difference and set an example of treating the women of Nepal and our world justly.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

New Schools

Bagged up ready for school
It’s all about new schools for the smaller Parnell’s at the minute. Sam has now completed 2 ½ weeks of school at KISC. He has settled extremely well and is thoroughly enjoying school. I think Sam was made for school, it suits his character so well to be in that kind of structured environment! He is in year 1 now, in a class of about 14 students, but with 4 more intending to join in the next few months. It is a very male dominated class so they’ll be glad to have a couple more girls joining soon.

He has joined football club as well and is getting a chance to develop some skills and is enjoying the fact he gets to go to other classrooms each day as he has several subjects, like ICT, Art and PE in other classrooms with different teachers. And he gets to see Daddy most days.

Not only Sam, but Mim  has started school with her first day at pre school on Monday. We waited a little before starting her so we could potty train but also to make sure she was really settled before starting. Mim is a social butterfly and craves company so she is ready for preschool and the time with other children. She will do 3 mornings a week for now. She enjoyed her first morning, although not the traditional Nepali Dhal baht they had for lunch! How we have ended up with a girl who is growing up in Asia but won’t eat rice I don’t know.

Monday, 4 August 2014

A New School Year

Tomorrow (5th August) the 2014-15 school year officially begins at KISC. It began today informally with a PTA arranged prayer and worship time followed by lunch together as a community so that parents could pray for the staff and the year ahead.

Sam is excited to be starting in Year 1 at KISC tomorrow, and looking forward to meeting more of his class (we have already met a few).

Welcoming new staff on our first staff training day
Dan had to hit the ground running on our return (just one day to get over jet lag) to make sure everything was ready for new staff inductions which have been happening over the past few days and to get everything ready for the students tomorrow. As I write this he is putting the final touches on the whole school assembly he is running tomorrow.

So we have had a very busy start, but we are all glad to be back. In many ways it doesn’t feel like we’ve even been away.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Time to Fly

Well it doesn’t seem very long ago that we were just arriving in England, and now we are pretty much all packed and ready for our return flight tonight.

We have a very excited little boy and a slightly bemused younger sister! They are having lots of fun counting suitcases and climbing over them while we count the kilos and try not to stress!

We have had a great year here in the UK, enjoying family and friends, good food and green parks. We are also looking forward to being back in Kathmandu, catching up with friends and getting back into work at KISC.

It’s just the bit in between that we dread, the goodbyes and the journey, but it’s the shortest bit of this strange life we lead and we wouldn’t have it any other way. We love our two lives in two homes on two continents.

We thank you again for taking an interest in our lives and the work we do. God has been good to us this past year in the UK and we trust in him for his full provision for all our needs this next year in Nepal.

Friday, 4 July 2014

The year passed

It is now just over two weeks until we are getting on that plane. We are all getting excited as well as a little apprehensive of the things we have to get done between now and then (packing). But today we saw these videos on Facebook. A great reminder of what we are going back to. If you have a spare few minutes and want to get an idea of what a great school it is, then enjoy, even if it's just a couple of minutes worth.

The first one is the Secondary school, which includes video of the new site, EQUIP and all the staff as this is shown at the end of year Graduation ceremony.

The second video is for the Primary school end of year assembly and includes a picture of Year K (Reception), the group of students Sam will be joining in August.

Hopefully you can see now why we are so excited to go back...

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Getting ready to go back

It is now less than 5 weeks until we return to Nepal. This week we’ve really started going through all our stuff and started the big sort for moving back, including weighing most of it to find out whether we are going to fit and what we need to get rid of.

The whole school
But our thoughts are predominately taken up with what we are going back to. As we’ve mentioned in our last two blogs, we are really looking forward to going back to a place that feels like home and somewhere we’ve missed this past 11 months.

We will be returning to a different situation to the one we left and a situation we weren’t expecting. As we mentioned previously, the CEO of KISC, who has been there 13 years is stepping down at the end of term (which is next week). Dan had been expecting to be working under her as the secondary principal next year. However, the board have asked Dan to fill the role of School Director in an interim capacity from when we go back.

The CEO role is being split into 3 roles, there will be a director of EQUIP (the teacher training branch), a Business Director (who will be responsible for all the non-academic side of things) and the School Director who will have overall responsibility for the Primary and Secondary schools – although there will be a separate Principal of both these.

Because this wasn’t expected, all 3 positions have been temporarily appointed with Interim Directors, with the hope to make permanent appointments in due course. This was to ensure there was a leadership structure in place immediately. Currently there is a Primary Principal for the start of term in August, but no Secondary Principal

This has been a difficult time for the school and the step up to Director is a big challenge for Dan. While he’s been on the leadership team for several years now, it’s a big change and a significant responsibility to be taking on. He has really valued the time on the course and is sure there will be plenty of opportunities to put into practice some of the ideas he has read and explored this year. And he’s looking forward to it.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014


As we mentioned in our last blog we have booked our tickets for returning to Nepal. We are looking forward to getting back and catching up with friends there and getting back to KISC. Sam will be going into year 1 at KISC and is super excited to be starting there.

We have had a great year here, we have enjoyed being in England with its yummy cheeses and green space. The children have loved getting to know their grandparents better and we have all had a great time being able to see friends and family over the year.

It has been great, but also a bit weird as we know this is temporary and that life continues in Nepal and that for now that is where our life is. So as we plan to return I find myself telling people we are going home, but then correcting myself. The truth is I am not really sure where home is anymore! I’m not sure I (Becky) ever have, having never lived anywhere longer than 4 years when growing up.

So the conclusion I have come up with is that the old saying “home is where the heart is” is probably true and to be honest I think I have left little bits of my heart all over the place. So for now we are going “home” to Nepal in July, but leaving our “home” here in the UK in order to go and continue our work out there.

Thursday, 15 May 2014


We have booked our flights back to Nepal! We shall be returning slightly earlier than originally planned in mid-July and we are looking forward to it. We shall be returning to the same flat which we have been able to keep on and looking forward to settling back in ahead of the new school year, which starts in early August.

We are starting to sort out our plans for our return and arrange final visits to see friends and family. If we haven’t seen you and you would still like to see us do get in touch as we are filling dates quickly.

One of the reasons for heading back slightly sooner than planned relates to changes that have happened at KISC this year. There has been some changes in the leadership and the governing board are currently working out how to redesign the leadership structure to take the school forward. Dan will have a significant role in this leadership structure, the details of which are currently being worked out and we’ll give you more details before we head back.

If you pray, please do pray for the school, particularly the governing board as they plan and those responsible for taking the school forward next year.

Of course the main focus for this year out has been Dan’s study for his Master’s degree. This has gone well and he is aiming to have the majority of the work done before getting on the plane. There will be some finishing off work to do before the final deadline of his dissertation in September and KISC have agreed to allow Dan the time to work on this as required.

Now we are in the process of gearing up for our return, we will be aiming to return to more regular blog updates and will keep you updated on our preparations and return.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Land Grab

The New Basketball court
Last May we blogged about KISC's excitement at being able to finally rent land for play space and we included details in our prayer letter last Autumn when they opened the site. It included a Basketball court and a Futsal (small football) pitch which only opened earlier this month.

However, at the end of last month there was significant disappointment as the Landlord gave KISC notice to vacate the site at the end of this academic year. This obviously came as a staggering blow to the community, particularly the students who were just beginning to enjoy the extra space and especially those staff who had played a big role in bringing about the site.

If you saw an update on Facebook the school was encouraging everyone to pray for the future of the site. There was uncertainty about the landlords plans - he was hoping to build a hotel - that did give hope, but we wondered if our hope based more on what we'd like to happen than on reality.
The opening of the Futsal pitch

Well yesterday we heard the good news that the landlord has agreed to extend the notice period until December 2014. Of course this is only a small extension, but it is a massive answer to prayer. There are still question marks surrounding the proposed use of the site and we will continue to pray that the plans will be shelved and that KISC will be able to remain on the site for several more years.

But this whole process reminds us of the need for security. Our ultimate security comes from God and we trust in Him to always provide for the school, as He always has done. But as a school we are also hoping that we will be able to purchase a permanent site for the school in the not too distant future and we are asking God to provide. Either for the opportunity to purchase our existing sites or for a new site to become available and for the finances to do so.

Monday, 20 January 2014


2014 has seen a relatively eventful start for our family with two events that could be described as emergencies overshadowing the first two weeks of the year.

In fact it all started a few hours before the New Year began when Dan ventured into the garden to get rid of rubbish and kind of got in a fight with a tree, a tree he didn’t see as it was pitch black. The tree won and inflicted one scratched pupil. Unable to see out of the eye he didn’t even make it to midnight before he gave up and went to bed. New Year’s Day involved a visit to A&E instead of the planned trip to the football.

Thankfully the eye was fully healed by the weekend – eyes do fix themselves very quickly, although it did make work on assignments due for college quite difficult for that week. He was awarded extensions to enable him to complete them successfully. Then just as he was back to full vision the next excitement began.

The second Wednesday morning of the new year a routine gas inspection revealed that there was a gas leak. It was a minor leak, hence we hadn’t noticed it before, but obviously a gas leak was not something to mess around with. The gas was promptly shut off and the process of getting it fixed began. In the meantime we had no heating or hot water and no hobs upon which to cook. Cue decamping to the in-laws. Becky’s parents very graciously opened their house to the four of us, and two friends we had staying that evening. Unfortunately it wasn’t fixed by the weekend and so we were with the grandparents for a longer than expected stay, finally returning on Tuesday after the house had warmed back up again after 65days without heating.

Now we haven’t written all this to elicit pity. These two experiences have given us the chance to reflect on the differences between our life here and our life and the lives of others in Nepal. Firstly, the hospital. Despite being New Year’s day and far from being the most urgent case in the waiting room we were in and out in just over 2 ½ hours without having to spend a penny or fill in a form. In Nepal we would have had to queue up for and then pay for any medicines as well as the services of the doctors before being discharged. The queue might well be a lot longer for the average Nepali, and while the costs might not sound a lot, probably less than £10 for a Nepali receiving the treatment I got this would be a lot for most Nepali’s. Enough at least for them to be put off attending.

Secondly the gas experience. It reminded us that for the last 6 years we’ve had no central heating in January. It’s not as cold as England in Nepal in January, although it feels it as it can be very hard to get properly warm, despite efforts with small individual heaters. Again these heaters can be beyond the cost of many Nepalese. January is always the ‘shortage’ month as petrol and gas are usually in short supply and load-shedding (the enforced power cuts) usually rise to around 12 hours a day about this time of year. And as always it’s the poorest who are hit hardest.

So an eventful start to the year, but thanks to supportive family and the NHS it really hasn’t been that much.