What is school life like?
Do you wonder what daily life is for our dear students and their teachers?
Everyone rises early at 5.30am and begins their day with an hour of Buddhist study and then a half hour break is an opportunity for playing together outside whenever the weather allows.
During morning assembly, which starts at 8am everyone chants together and dedication of prayers to the God of Knowledge and Education, Manjushree and the Nepali national anthem is sung.
Regular school lessons are from 9.30 am to noon – 4 sessions of 35 minutes of teaching with a refreshment break half way through the morning.
Lunch is taken together as are all meals and a short nap helps refresh everyone before starting classes again at 1.30pm
During the school routine students depending on their age and progress take different subjects (6 periods a day) including 3 languages – Tibetan, Nepali, English, alongside Maths, Social Studies, and Science and there’s an hour of Tibetan Buddhist study too.
At present as they are so young and just starting out, they study only the basic chants and Buddhist prayers, in the holy sessions each evening or morning. Later on when they become more advanced, study will be deeper in the Buddhist texts and there will be practice learning to play ritual instruments such as cymbals, gongs and trumpets etc. That sounds like fun too.
There’s Play time too….
Just like children everywhere the nuns enjoy their free time, playing games like skipping, puzzles and “stone collecting” which is local Mustang game – current favourite activity seems to be badminton. And if the weather stops playing outside then there are many indoor games etc. and art projects.
And just like students the world over – there’s home work too and exams 3 times a year!
Dinner is taken together followed by another hour of Tibetan Buddhist study and lights out (yes, they have electricity now from the recently installed solar panels) for bedtime at 8.30pm – of course after teeth brushing, which has been routinely practiced since the dental camp last year (more on that later).
Twice a year girls return home to their families for 30 to 40 days and for those who have no family or whose family cannot travel to school (many students come from far away remote Himalayan regions ) to collect them they stay at the school for their holiday time. Holidays coincide with the seasonal moves from Upper Mustang to Pokhara for winter school, September/October time as it’s too cold to stay so high and when they return again February/March. Historically without a road the travel to and fro would be arduous trip over the Himalaya for 6 or 7 days but thankfully now some of the journey can be made by jeep/truck where there’s a track and then horseback, which cuts it down to 4 or 5 days. Still, you can imagine the logistics of moving 31 students, teachers, helpers, and taking the opportunity to transport supplies up into Mustang…….
From Francesca’s trip late last year with the dental team, can see that everyone seems to have settled well into their daily routine and school schedule.
And we can see that thanks to all our sponsors and supporters, 3 good meals a day and the camaraderie of school life and care from the teachers, and helpers that many of the health issues some nuns brought with them at enrollment 18 months ago have been resolved.
Now, hopefully we can all imagine the lives of our dear students, teachers and helpers so far away.