Thursday, November 29, 2018

Something to celebrate

If you keep up with this blog regularly then you may have noticed I haven't posted in a while. I've been waiting for some exciting news to become official, and although it still isn't quite official I've run out of patience so am going to share it anyway!

We've (almost, nearly, very close!) signed an agreement for a building for our Learning Resource Centre that we are opening with the Steve Sinnott Foundation. It's a great building, purpose-built for education and we've agreed (and almost signed!) good terms. It's been a long process to get here with a number of options we had pursued previously falling through, so it's safe to say I'll be having a glass of something when we finally get signatures on the paper.

Clearing grass at the future Steve Sinnott Foundation Learning Resource Centre

My wife trying to get the wealth goddess to visit

That's not all we've had to celebrate. Before that, we had the 5 day Tihar festival, which is the Nepali version of Diwali. The different days celebrate different gods, many of which are represented by animals. So it's pretty normal over these few days to see dogs and cows wearing tikka and mala, although they don't always seem to happy about it! The 4th day is devoted to the goddess of wealth, which is when everyone lights up their houses and makes rangoli patterns to encourage the goddess to visit. I can't help notice that people seem to take this more seriously that the previous days, altough despite my wife's best efforts she seems to have missed us! Traditionally on the final day sisters give presents to their brothers but in the name of SDG goal 5 (Gender Equality), it was gifts all around in our house. As well as giving and receiving gifts there is decorative tikka worn on the forehead and lots of food, most notably a variety of different breads.
My nice gives Tikka to her 'bhai' for Tihar

My trip highlight was getting to run on these paths in the morning
Not a bad view on the journey
Yet another reason to celebrate, my younger brother, back from working in Malaysia for a month-long visit, got married. We had a small ceremony in the home, followed by much eating and dancing. This was followed a couple of weeks later by about a dozen family members pilling into a jeep to visit his wife's old home in her village for the big party. In truth, I don't find much to celebrate in Nepali weddings anymore. Daughters-in-law are very rarely treated as daughters and from the morning after the wedding are expected to do the majority of cooking and cleaning for their new family. Sadly, even my own Nepali family are not an exception to this, despite my complaints. But credit to my brother-in-law who does his best to help her.

The new building at Jandeep looking fantastic and much safer than the old rooms.

As well as lots of celebrating, Saran and I managed another school visit, which have been much too few and far between. This time we went to Jandeep School in Dumre, where I was excited to see the now completed new building that Manisha supported. The building is great and thanks to their twin school, Gretton Primary, back in the UK we'll be able to provide some furniture for the new rooms. The government has provided some good computer facilities so on my next visit I'll be providing some training for teachers, as well as a hard drive chocked full of education TV programs and movies (and a few that are just entertaining, of course!)

Now Saran and I are busy collecting estimates for work we want to have carried out on our new building. Although the building is in great condition there is still plenty to do. But as soon as the ink is dry on the contract we'll be able to get started on the real work!

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