After all the Christmas festivities — and a day of vacation for the students to recover from the big show (we went shopping with Hima; look for that post next!), we finally got to experience our first full school day in Nepal.
As soon as you step inside the gates of Kopila Valley, the world gets just a little bit happier (arguably, the kids and the baby chicks on the walk there help with the lead-up). The students and teachers alike couldn’t be more welcoming. I’m likely to start greeting people in my office with “Namaste” when I return to the States, guaranteed.
Each grade has their own homeroom, and the halls are plastered with artwork, stories, paper snowflakes – you name it. These kids are on top of their decorations. (Remember that Annual Day stage? They did that too.) The students definitely take ownership of their school, and are incredibly proud to show it off.
The classrooms surround the Kopila Valley Organic Garden — just another shining example of the kids’ accomplishments. The students are broken up into houses, Hogwarts-style, and each house has control of a plot of the garden. They compete against each other, with the help of their “Aunties” (the incredible women behind the scenes at KV, who help teach and raise the kids), to see who can produce the best crop. I can’t say I have enough of a green thumb to tell you who is winning, but the whole thing is pretty darn beautiful. The garden is a large provider of food for lunch at the school, and a great way for the students to learn about sustainability.
We caught some of the girls we sponsor in class, all smiles, of course. Here’s Jarana, who’s in Class 4:
The school bell rings at 4 p.m., but the students stay for hours afterward, playing sports and hanging out with their friends and the staff. Here’s Swastika (left), a kindergartner, playing musical chairs.
Around dusk, the Kopila kids finally head home. We’re a small amount of exhausted, but we can’t wait to be back for day two. We’re also teaching a video workshop with the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades this week — stay tuned to find out how it goes, and to see the films the kids make!