So, school another term ends and the return from winter school in Pokhara to Upper Mustang began at the end of march when the girls who have families to go to and those that have families relatively accessible, returned home to Upper Mustang for a month long holiday with their families.The girls who wanted to stay in school – either to take extra Buddhist studies or whose families are too remote (or maybe are away with their animal herds), or simply those who don’t have families to return to, stayed in Pokhara with some staff. They joined the monks for teachings and Buddhist activities.
and enjoyed trips out into the countryside for relaxation and fun.
Now though, all remaining staff and students from both schools are returning to Upper Mustang to prepare the school facilities and start the new summer academic term on the 29th of April. They left by coach, but still it’s a tough journey having to walk some of the way when the roads become impassable – often there are landslides or the roads collapse.
Nevertheless we are happy to hear that they have safely arrived in Upper Mustang and are already preparing the school for the beginning of the new academic year next week.
Some news on the construction of the teaching hall and shrine. As you may remember, building materials have already been dispatched so the new teaching hall and shrine room can be built and many more people can be accommodated during teachings for the wider community, which are attended from people travelling long distances to attend.
The Kaligandaki river bed, usually dry or very low water levels this time of year has been difficult to traverse this year due to higher than expected rainfall levels, so journeys are very disrupted!
Some building materials have arrived in Upper Mustang though and on the 25th April, an auspicious day for Buddhists in the 10th Luna month, prayer ceremonies were held to bring blessings to the constructions workers and the building works. Even in April, the day before construction it was snowing but on construction day the sun came out to brighten and mark the beginning of construction.
Wonderful news has reached us from Upper Mustang – it seems as if many of the trees have survived the very cold winter – this year down to lower than -15ºC. No wonder the girls and staff have to travel over the mountains to Pokhara to attend winter school there! Monks that over-wintered in Mustang and local community have worked really hard to care for the trees, and have been in communication with the Italian agricultural project team for guidance and advice. How grateful we can all be for their efforts. It really is wonderful news and maybe, just maybe the apple tree experiment will prove to be fruitful. These especially bred trees do seem to be as hardy as hoped and some small buds are appearing already. Let’s see – we will keep you informed.
We are happy to welcome 3 new girls at school. They are from a very impoverished and remote area of Nepal, Rukum District near Dolpo region. There is road or vehicular access in that area and so the girls walked for 6 days with their families to get to the school for enrollment! That’s some motivation to study!
Some good news about the extension to the winter school – now the weather is lighter, the second storey is being added to classrooms. This delayed construction will include the library shelving and furniture so many of you helped to purchase at the back end of last year – we’ll give an update when we receive news.
Sponsors of individual girls will soon be receiving report cards and letters from “their” girls – they were mailed during March we know but usually take a couple of months to arrive. We’ll let you know as soon as we can.
There have been many varied projects in this busy year and all are now progressing well after delays due to difficulties with the winter weather and other disruptions so common in daily life in Nepal. A huge grateful thanks to you all for your continued support and interest and helping us transform the lives of these disadvantaged girls. It’s so wonderful to see how they flourish from being in school, a safe and caring community. Improved nutrition and healthcare and friendships they form in school, quite apart from their education certainly does bring about quite a noticeable transformation.
We will be making an announcement soon about a new fundraiser. In the meantime, if you’d like to support us with a donation (any amount will be gratefully received) then please visit our website here to make a bank transfer or via PayPal.
Hopefully we will have more news when summer term begins. News becomes typically a little more sparse this time of year due to lack of internet in Upper Mustang and we’re reliant on travellers to bring photos and news across the mountains but we’ll surely share whatever we receive.
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