Today was our first day of actual volunteer work. We were shown some half completed classroom foundations and instructed to fill them with gravel.
The work was difficult but it could have been far worse. When I had heard that we'd be shoveling gravel I'd imagined lots of small rocks - in reality it was half sand half medium sized rocks. After a while you forget that you are shoveling and settle into a rhythm.
A 13 year old Nepalise boy helped us shovel for a while and did so with incredible vigor and strength. I struggled to keep up with him despite his tiny frame.
We ended up finishing about half the shoveling today, putting us far ahead of shedule (Bal planned for 7 days of shoveling).
In the afternoon we played hacky-sack with the children (a game they play a lot of in Nepal). The hacky-sack is made out of a small bunch of rubber bands. Some of the children can kick the hacky-sack into the air 20-30 times without having it hit the ground. I struggled to get 4-5. Nepalise children play very co-operatively I have noticed: both in the volleyball and the hacky-sack.
Next we played around doing cart-wheels and flips and walking on our hands.
A girl named Supi (who has VERY good English skills) had transcribed the Australian National Anthem in english in preparation for my arrival. Given her efforts I could hardly refuse to sing it for her. This led me to being brought back to their dorm rooms and having to sing it over and over again. It was a small price to pay for the privilege of being invited into their dorm rooms.
In the girls dorm room Supi tried her best to teach me Nepalise and I feel that I am slowly learning. The children are good teachers and are very patient.
That's Supi in the middle ^^.
Later on Guy and I rushed into town to have a quick beer before dinner, stopping on the way to buy some candles (to get us through the nightly power cuts - 'load shedding' as they call it). On the way home, however, Guy and I hit a crossroads - Both literally and figuratively speaking. He was certain that we should take a left and I was equally certain that we should take a right turn. It didn't help our decision that it was pitch black apart from our measly torchlight.
I gave Guy the benefit of the doubt and we went left only to find ourselves lost in the dark at night in the Nepalise countryside. We were both becoming quite worried. In an incredible stroke of luck we came across a local who was not only friendly but spoke english. He escorted us back home and explained that in Nepal "guests are gods" so tourists need not worry in Nepal. When we arrived home we tried our best to express our gratitude to the friendly local. I kept repeating "dahnyabahd" (thank you in Nepalise) and Guy gave him cigarettes as a parting gift.
Our Nepalise family was not very happy with us because we were home an hour past dinner time. We offered them the candles we'd bought as a sort of reconciliation gift and they served us our daal baht nontheless.
Overall and interesting day.