General Musings - week six

Darjeeling Travel Blog

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Rubbish

Well, this is a big thorn in my side at the moment. There haven’t been rubbish collections for over 5years since the bin men went on strike as part of the Gurkaland protests, which means that rubbish is either dumped over the mountainside or burnt. It’s disgusting. The Himalayan foot hills and stations are beautiful, green and full of wildlife, yet people are putting this in jeopardy because the government/politicians are refusing to come to an agreement. In an age of heightened environmental awareness it’s bizarre that people are both unaware of their actions future implications and also willing to, effectively, shit in their own beds. Everything here is also packaged to an insane degree and there are few things (other than veg) that can be bought free from plastic jackets!
Although Darjeeling itself is a plastic bag free area (with a fine imposed on any shopusing them) this does little to keep the hills rubbish free. There is also a mentality that dropping things on the floor is ok – no one uses bins unless they’re in their home. I supposed it all ends up in the same place, but at least a collective dumping sigh would make rubbish less intrusive and easier to clear up when someone, somewhere decides that the environment and the hills need to be protected. Anyway it’s made me thankful for out rubbish and anal recycling collections in the UK, even with their faults!! I’m also making a conscious effort to avoid packaging as much as I can.

Teaching

Getting back into teaching and trying to see each lesson as an experience and figure that if only one child learns something it’s worth it. Also taking Elfs advice and just trying to have a giggle and a bit of fun. So long as I’ve had some fun and the kids have had some variation, it’s all good by me!
The dreaded and mental class 2 are coming along. At least most of them have books now and have proven to us that they can, on occasion, sit quietly and behave! However, songs seem to send them into a table top dancing, hip wiggling frenzy – which is really quite funny, but not very good when all that separates you from the silent classroom next to you is a bit of curtain!
Class 1 are, in my opinion, the colouring-in champions, and love to sit down and colour! They don’t have books, and consequently suck up our resources like a hover, but at least they’ve calmed down a bit!
Nursey/KG are cute, they find it hard to keep a certain level of distance, and prefer to all clamber on you lap/as close to you as they can get! It’s quite a dangerous class for you toes (bear and unlnerable to little childrens shoes) and for the pages of books, which they try to turn before you’re quite done reading it! Crossing arms, sitting in circles and fingers on lips help, to a point, to keep eager hands at bay. They’re slowly learning that a high five and whoop is preferable to a handshake and a kiss!!
The rest of the classes are good and old enough to have a giggle with! Regal Academy is just like being a baby sitter for countless nutty kids, and although there are several quite nasty kids who punch, kick, bite and try to close other children’s eyes with hair clips (I’m sure they’ll grow up eventually!), the majority are sweet and well behaved.

Boarders

Slowly but surely they’re learning that barging into our room and picking up all of our stuff isn’t really acceptable and are becoming less pushy. We’ve been on several evening walks with them, made scoobies and bead bracelets. Which has been fun, though it’s often like teaching another class, trying to stop them from snatching and taking more than their fair share (leaving others with nothing!) Some of the older boys have also been moved to a room outside of the house, so the 4 bunks are noticeable less squished than before!

Thapa Family Life

Although my dis-acknowledgement persist from Mr Thapa, and Kate agrees it’s silly, life here is generally ok. Mrs Thapa is lovely, despite not having very good English, and lets us help in the kitchen most days. Mr Thapa seems distracted – maybe because it’s parent teacher meetings this week and is an opportunity for parents to raise any issues they have – it is a private school afterall! Dinner is still served at a ridiculously late hour (8:30/9) and leaves us feeling very puckish mid-afternoon, but the food is good (though I’m having to supplement it with fruit as vitamins are a little on the sparse sie). We had our first bit of rain on Wednesday evening and it was glorious, great smell and makes a brilliant sounds on the tin roof! Wasn’t so great for out washing that we’d forgotten about – but such is life! We have a new cook – after Alka left about 2 weeks back. I’m not sure of his name – he mumbled it very quietly, and Mr Thapa’s introduction was merely “this is a boy I picked up from Siliguri, he’s a helper boy”. It’s not a very nice and made kate and I feel like we were in the presence of modern day slavery. He can’t be more than about 13, and is more or less completely ignored by all the boarders – though I’m sure that this will change given time. At any rate, Kate and I have decided that we’re going to make a special effort to talk to him and make him feel welcome!
Early morning retching still gets to me, sounds like they’re trying to throw up all the time and often makes me gag! I don’t understand it at all and am contemplating buying earplugs hehe =P
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photo by: philippe84