Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Don't be a fool... stay in School!

The students at "Somata" School in Kathmandu, Nepal certainly know this! Yesterday there was a boy in grade 6 that was called over by the principal... she began looking through his hair as though she was searching for lice... and then she grabbed his hair with all her might and pulled! She tugged and tugged as she yelled many probably bad things in Nepali, and then made him stand like a soldier. At this point, all the other students and teachers gathered around. "Hands by your side!" she yelled; "hands by your side!" she screamed again. Finally, the boy (Vikash is his name) lowered his hands, because he knew what was coming. I walked over to another teacher and whispered, "what the heck's going on?" All of a sudden, one hand across the face, then a second! After the third slap she pushed the boy toward the entrance of the school and the guard opened the gates. She grabbed his bag and threw it outside the school! Then she pushed him again, even though he's much bigger then her. Slowly, with each forceful push, she moved him closer and closer to the door, where he clearly did not want to go. Then, finally, after this went on for about 5 minutes, he picked up his bag and ran out. "Principal Miss found dye in his hair", whispered the teacher beside me; "this is unacceptable behaviour in a formal school".

Viskash returned later that afternoon with chunks of his hair cut out. He looked pretty silly, but he knew it was worth looking foolish to be allowed back to the only place he could go during the day that would give him a chance at a good job in the future. He even said to me that afternoon, "It was a bad thing I did; I'm sorry Sir". For being one of the most popular kids at school and not the greatest student (he would be in grade 8 if he hadn't failed two years in a row), he was pretty ashamed. But all of the students are like this here. They know that without an education, they either end up farming like their parents, or picking up garbage for a living. So staying in school doesn't seem like such a boring choice.

Plus, Somata School only makes them pay 100 Rupees per month to attend (or $1.60 Canadian). Pretty good deal compared to 1000 Rupees at most other schools. It's not easy though; they are brought in front of the entire school and whacked across the face if they do something bad- as many times as necessary too. They have one final exam at the end of the year in each subject; if they fail that, it's back to the same grade the next year. That goes for kindergarten students too! There school is built entirely of Bamboo so they are constantly chasing out owls, mice, birds and dogs which easily make their way into the cozy classrooms for a good night's sleep. And to top it all off, the students only get 2 weeks of holidays all year!!!

Nevertheless, the students are all happy and work extremely hard. They still complain about school sometimes like Canadian students do, and they enjoy the same things like watching movies, playing sports, eating junk food, and just hanging out and bugging each other. And of course, they're all fascinated by my ridiculous hair! So enjoy knowing that even though all the countries around the world are very different from one another, the kids living in them are exactly the same!

Love K and C

1 comment:

Jude said...

You may me laugh and then you make me cry...thanks for that. Sometimes we all need a virtual slap in the face to remember how lucky we are. That's why i love Nepal soooo much. See you in 2 days!
Judy Didi