So it has been quite some time since I’ve written last. I was actually out to dinner last night, and one of my friends called me out on how long it’s been since my last post. She was very right, and it’s embarrassing how bad I’ve been at posting. I think the the speed of life at home, has gotten me away from putting things online. It’s been very tricky to find a balance between the foundation, working, and catching up with friends and family! A week after returning to the I started work at my old consulting firm, which has been a huge blessing, enabling me to live a semblance of the life I had while I was in the US! I’ve also been working to get the Foundation in a good place before I return to Nepal. We are working on a new website, a new logo, fundraising plans, business plans, fundraisers, and everything in between…that is another one where I’ve been extremely lucky to be surrounded by a great board, group of friends, and supporters willing to help pick things up where I am slacking. Most importantly, since I’ve been home I’ve been able to catch up with lots of friends and family and attend lots of wedding including: Kirk and Tee, Pat & Lindsay, Alex & Amanda, and Hagood & Whitney. As fun as those adventures have been, they've also taken their toll as I’ve spent much of the past month moving from couch to couch. Last month I thought I was going to leave my home in Fort Lauderdale for 4 days and return. As has been the case recently, the “plan” quickly diverged from reality and I’ve spent the last 3 weeks travelling around the mid-Atlantic and northeast catching up with people, while spending my days in random coffee shops working to get things done. As for posting, below you’ll see a blog I wrote while in Kalikot which talks a lot about the issues we’ve run into over there with regards to education. My plan is to put stories like this on the blog far more regularly from here out! I will also post more detail about our progress this summer in my next post!
Couch surfing...not always on couches this summer.
One of the more challenging things about living in Oda, is reconciling the degree to which the current education system has failed many of the kids. One glaring example of this occurred one morning when Bobby and I woke to the sound of our housemate memorizing mathematical formulas. As I listened to him spit out the rules of exponents, I had a sudden glimmer of hope. For a brief moment, I imagined that while English may not be up to snuff around here, he might be a math wiz in the making. After hearing a few more rounds of formula’s Bobby and I called him over in to see exactly what he was doing and try to help out. He certainly needed some help, and while I did my best to recall exponent rules Bobby did a quick math warm up. Unfortunately, we quickly learned the reality of the situation. Bobby scrawled out a few problems including: 10 + 7, 3-2, and 10/5. To our dismay those problems were met with a blank stare, and an exclamation that those problems were much too challenging. At that point Bobby began working through basic addition and subtraction. Unfortunately, our friend wanted to progress to the rules of exponents, not knowing that without the building blocks of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, virtually everything would seem like gibberish. Whether dealing with math our English, it is quite common to see an enormous disconnect between curriculum and actual knowledge. Unfortunately, the government curriculum plows ahead regardless of comprehension. That means, that whether or not a child grasps the lessons they go ahead and advance through the school. Bobby and I have done our best to tread lightly while dealing with this situation, working to build foundation math and English skills, while not destroying their confidence in the process. This has proved challenging at times, knowing that a quiz was about to be given on exponents or other sorts of algebraic expressions, while knowing fully that many of these children have not moved beyond simple arithmetic.
2 of my housemates, Rajanpura and her brother Bom
Some of the Pariyar girls!