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  • Day7

    First Cultural Lesson

    July 19, 2017 in Nepal ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    It's 22.20 and we are just about to go to sleep. Today hasn't been QUITE as eventful as the last few days haha, but still interesting as always.

    We were joyfully awoken (sarcasm of course) by Anita shouting 'HALLO HALLO HALLO' at 6.15 (yes SIX FIFTEEN AM!!!!!!) on our door ... as well as banging on ALL of the windows (and we later found out it was for sugar ... she definitely could have waited!!!).
    We had our tea at 7 am, and this time no biscuits (she is starting to pick up things about what we like and dislike which is good), breakfast at 8.30 today (with 'little' portion of food as she has understood now that we can't eat that much), then we left at 9.15. Hope and I weren't meeting Om and Shweta until 10.30 (Nepali time ... so 10.45/10.50) but we left with the girls and sat in a cafe. We
    Today we had our first cultural lesson with a women's group in a community in Kavesthrali.

    We had the same old usual wake up at 7, then getting ready, then breakfast at 8.30 (Dhal and Bhat). We left the same time as Sheri and Melanie at 9.15 ish, but we weren't actually meeting Shweta (local volunteer) and Om (project manager) until 10.30. We sat in a cafe for an hour, and just organised ourselves. Then we met them at 10.45 (as it's Nepali time of course!).

    We taught the lesson in the garden of someones home. The first lesson was on 'self esteem'. About 9 women turned up, all from the same community, but different ages. One lady had the cutest little baby with her, though she looked so young! And another lady brought her baby too.
    The women didn't speak any English, so Shweta translated everything we said in to Nepali.
    We started off with introductions, our name, where we are from, and why we are in Nepal. Then the women did the same. Fedi and Martino's project is 'photo journalism' so they were taking photos and videos.

    The first lesson was on 'self esteem' and we included 'Women's rights' into this. Not gonna lie, it felt more like we were doing an inspirational speech! The women were clapping when we said we wanted to educate them on their rights as the Nepal constitution is formalised to enshrine equality between men and women. The lives that these women live is just crazy! They have no choice in their clothes (and even the colour! For example, they wear red if they are married), and have barely any free time. Whilst the men go to work, most of these women are washing, cooking, cleaning, running a farm, looked after their children, shopping, etc etc.
    They were interested in the lesson at the beginning, but as the lesson continued, they started to go off topic and talk between themselves about their home lives. These women have no free time, so only see each other during community meetings as they cannot all get time off at the same time from the farm, and their busy life styles. The women were telling Shweta that they wanted to know more about entrepreneurship, and how to increase their income (which isn't actually our programme!).
    We do feel rather pointless in a way because we are given lesson plans, and then a translator translates, but the translator has the lesson plan too so technically they could read off the sheet ... ??? Hmmmmm. But luckily Shweta left it to us to decide what we wanted to do! We are also not a fan of the lesson plans, as some of the ways described for these women to increase self-esteem are just far too western and are just not possible for these women. For example, one method was 'express yourself, wear what you want to wear' ... but when we said this, the women said they would love to do that, but they just arent able to do that in their culture. And one method was 'spend some time on yourself.' And 'spend time with your family'. As sad as it sounds... it's just not realistic in their culture! If they have a day off, the farm won't just run itself, or the food won't get cooked itself. And they would love to spend time with each other, but there's no time that they all have off together.
    We are quite disappointed that we can't teach classes on human trafficking, since that is what we signed up for, but apparently they did interviews on people in these communities, and trafficking isn't a problem here. It feels like we are needed that much, however it's still a great experience and we are going to adapt the lessons and do our own thing a bit, which Shweta is fine with. And at the end of the week, we are going to edit the lesson plans as we don't think they are suited to women's groups here, and aren't the lessons these women want in particular.

    After the lesson, Fedi recorded us saying a bit about the lesson; what we taught, the women's response, our plan etc. And omg I was so cringe ... I just hope that Hope never gets access to that video as I just know it will end up on Facebook!!! Haha

    We went to a cafe after the class (at around 1) and chilled there until 4 with Martino, Nana, Fedi and Asunta. We shared some paneer and chips, which were sooooo good! But we ate a lot of Anita's food also as she makes us less food now.

    We got a mendi pattern on the way back up (the first beauty parlour refused to do ours which was very ...strange). The detail is amazing! It was pouring it down with rain though so this little lady let us sit in her shop for an hour to let it dry, until we eventually decided to just put a plastic bag over it and walk back.

    We had our tea, chilled out, then taught Anita some English. It was so funny! We think that she is already improving though in comparison to day one so hopefully we can teach as much as possible!

    We had dinner at 8 - rice (shock) with potatoes (soooo good!) then we cleaned up (but only our plates again!)

    We were able to go to bed straight after. We think that they understand now that we need our own space, so things are much better. We've been chilling in our rooms for a couple of hours, and now we are about to sleep!

    Goodbyeeeeee x
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