Gatlang village – July/August 2007
in Kathmandu unsure of where I wanted to do my placement; it
was easier to decide having spoken with the INFO staff,
other volunteers and having read reports from past
volunteers. I chose to do my placement in Gatlang, which is
a remote village up in the mountains. We took a 10-hour bus
ride to Syabrubesi, where we stayed overnight, then trekked
to Gatlang, which took about 5 hours.
village itself is very basic, but the views are amazing, as
long as you go at certain times of the year. During monsoon
season, the village is mostly surrounded in cloud so don't
expect the views of the peaks that you hoped for. Although,
when the cloud does clear, the views are amazing. It also
rained every day, although not all day, and during the
night, making the walk to school muddy, but eventful!
resource centre is part of the school, and the host, Durga,
has the bags with writing equipment, picture cards, paper
etc. There is quite a lot of stuff there to use with the
arrived during the school holidays so we chose what hours we
taught and how often. It's best to stick to a routine if
possible, as it's difficult to pass messages on when nearly
everyone in the village speaks Tamang rather than Nepali…We
taught from 7-10 in the morning and 4-6 in the afternoon.
Generally, we taught from 7-8, then had a short break, then
taught for another 30-45 mins, then played some games. The
younger ones find it hard to concentrate for much longer.
children vary in age from about 4-11 and we found it best to
split them into 2 groups – not necessarily age, but ability.
It's only possible to do this after you've worked out which
ones are more able though…generally the ones who shout out
first when you ask for an answer to something! They also
tend to specialise in repetition, rather than just listening
first; it seems to be the way they do things in the school.
We spent time on the alphabet, which they can recite well
from start to finish, but they're not so good at naming
random letters if you point to them. We also did work on
numbers, body parts, animals, family, and basic English
phrases, eg 'What is your name?' 'How many people are there
in your family?' Games like Hokey-cokey, H S K and Toes work
well, and they love to throw a ball if you have one!
family is the best there is in Nepal! Durga is a trekking
guide, so if you can, get him to take you on a long (or
short) trek locally. His wife is great, and constantly keeps
your plate full at mealtimes…They have two children, Rosila
and Pemba, who are very young. Rosila is a little shy, but
loves to draw if you have some paper/pens with you.
children in the village are all keen and very friendly, and
enthusiastic about lessons/playing. The locals are curious,
but friendly nevertheless; there always seem to be people in
the house coming to see who the latest volunteers are!
It is a
great location, enjoy!