Sunday, June 22, 2003

There is less than one month left - it's gone by far too quickly. But, I've finally found the time to load a few pictures to the travel log - hope you enjoy! :-)

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Just a quick note to let you all know that I'm planning to go to Pokhara on the 5th July.. and I'm finishing up teaching this week! :-)

SLC results are out - and I'm completely in shock. For those of you I haven't mentioned this to - SLC is like the 'big' school leaving examinations (except that they happen in year 10 rather than year 12). The girl who is working for my host family, Niru, was sitting these exams as well as some of the Nava Jeewan students that I tutored last year. Now for the results - out of the 1.7 lahk students who sat the exam (170 000), only 32% passed. Have you ever heard of such a miserable result in your entire life? Apparently the same thing happened last year! Ahh!!! 10 out of the 18 students at Nava Jeewan failed, as did Niru. Luckily everyone did very nicely in the subjects I was helping them with (in fact Niru topped english for her entire school- which is a large improvement from failing last year!). But the effects in the community have been somewhat disasterous. There has been a spattering of suicide reports in the papers everyday since the results came out...

So what happens to these students now? Well, for the students who failed only 1 or 2 subjects, they have the chance to sit an easier make up exam in a month and then continue on to college. For people who failed more than that, it's back to year 10. So this is going to be a difficult month of study for thousands of students in Nepal.

I have found here that problems are easily identified, but people seem to forget about the problems until they return year after year... another good example is the monsoon preparation - there is only one main road that leads to the business section of the city from the north of Kathmandu. Next to this road is a large hill. Every year at monsoon time landslides occur and the road is blocked for days... then the problem is forgotten about until the next year. Now 5 days before the official beginning of the monsoon, the papers are just beginning to mention doing something about it... but of course it's far too late now, so we're looking forward to another year of road blockages. Incredible.

So what else has been happening? Well, I went to a pretty amazing picnic in the mountains on Sunday. It was a celebration for Sky airways 5th year in business - and it was right up on the hill, looking over the valley. Members of the royal family turned up in helicopters... and we sang on stage along with famous pop singers and tv personalities (who we were sitting with on the bus and who officially 'adopted' me for the day). It was hilarious actually. Talk about posh! And we actually got to ride in the royal helicopter! :-) I suppose the advantage of being such a small capital city is that govenors and ministers live in the local area, and because everyone knows each other, you end up doing amazing things like this! Talk about the high life. We were actually served our food from golden platters!

Okay, well, i'ts time for me to wrap this up now - I have another birthday party to go to (it's difficult being a popular teacher!!) and the British film festival starts tonight - so we're going to take in some english culture... so I hope all is well in Australia - and you must send requests for things now because in exactly 1 month I will be heading to the airport to hop on a plane!