Having kitted out the local kids with what fitted, we set off for Shree Basari Secondary school, where new classrooms are in progress, thanks in very large part to Lyn’s connection with & fund raising by East Lindfield Public School and Oxford Falls Grammar School, in Sydney.

It’s a lovely walk (about 30 minutes ) and along the way we found some happy new owners for the remaining shoes.

Our hosts daughter Shanti finished her high school exams a week or so before and is waiting for her exam results. With 500,000 Nepalese children finishing high school, it takes 3 months to announce the results. HSC students & parents in Australia will know the agony of waiting. Hopefully, Shanti will be able to go to College later in the new term. Meanwhile, she’s happy to revisit her old School and carries some books we’ve brought for the primary school.

A visit to the Medical Centre brings home the need for and value of this small facility. Three local women have called in for medication and advice – there’s also a room with a bed. Thankfully, no one needs it today.

Like many facilities in this desperately poor area, it’s often foreigners who see and respond to the need. By our western standards, the buildings & services sponsored by these benefactors are of the most basic level.

The reality is they provide a vital service where there was none in these remote & inaccessible areas previously. Or, in the case of the schools, tiny one or two room schools with virtually no equipment – and little incentive for parents to send their children, who would otherwise be engaged in working at home. As an aside, when Sir Edmund Hilary sponsored the school at Khumjung, parents were encouraged to send their children to school with gifts of tea, coffee, salt and other items. At Thamo, also in the Everest region, the local primary school parents’ association imposed a NPR100/child/day fine – and attendance shot up.

Many diseases and health issues are common to remote, impoverished areas lacking in sanitation & education. There are interesting sights everywhere; no washing machine or dryers here – this man is drying his clothes on rocks, beside a thriving vegetable patch.

Corrugated iron, lighter and cheaper than slate, has become a popular roofing and cladding material. The downside is that it rusts, and is more easily blown off in wind storms.

We reach the school at lunch time on the last day of term. Three Western women are a novelty & the subject of much curiosity. but of course Lyn is an old friend & warmly welcomed by the Headmaster, Deputy, teachers & other school personnel.

These are some of the desks & benches bought with a $600 donation from our trekking group last year. We only donated $60 each. Just look what these people have been able to achieve with it. It’s fewer than 20 coffees to us and long forgotten. But it buys something of value in Nepal that will help boys & girls from this village get an education. And that lasts for generations.

New classrooms are in progress, but a landslip behind the building had to be cleared and a retaining wall built – so progress has been slower than everyone expected. Everyone is disappointed that precious funds and time had to be diverted to the retaining wall – but that’s life in Nepal, where landslips & slides are common. At least the building wasn’t damaged. Now the retaining wall is built, work can continue with the construction, as funds allow.

Everything has to be done by hand here. There are no electric or motor driven angle grinders, concrete mixers or jackhammers. Each of the rocks in those walls has been chiselled to size by someone. A lot of the timber has been recycled, clear by the nails and cuts in the pile near the new classroom, but my Nepalese is far too poor to ask about its history. There is a new toilet block on the left and below, and one can see the retaining wall behind the classrooms on the right. Back at the main school, the End of Year formalities were about to start and we were invited to join the Official table.

The warmth, sincerity & gratitude with which a Teacher, the Headmaster and the Head of the School Council welcomed us and thanked Lyn and the Schools for all the help for their school, was humbling.

A visiting NGO spoke of the dream of having a Library for the school. Imagine one of our schools not having even the most rudimentary Library!

Lyn’s response glowed with her love of the people and dedication to helping educate the children of this area – and I was most impressed with her Nepalese! Karoline & I had to make do with English, which is taught at the school, so irrespective of how little our audience understood, they were way ahead of us in the English: Nepali language stakes! Taking our leave from Shree Basari, a bunch of kids skipped along with us as we headed back home.

The local Primary school is only a few minutes from our homestay, and we took some English language books there on our way back home. This is a very basic little school, in an absolutely beautiful setting. A lively game of volleyball was in progress, and when the ball went out of play over the precipice, one of the boys flew after it like a mountain goat, catching it before it hit the stream below. You have to be agile to play ball games in terrain like this!

The following day we hiked  1-1/2 hours to visit Shree Basari School, the gratitude and real value of East Lindfield Public School’s wonderful help is proudly displayed, both in the smart buildings and this charming sign “East Lendfield Public School Austraulia “ I think we need to donate a new sign.

Every visitor’s dream is to meet the locals – and we were so warmly welcomed. This really was an unforgettable and wonderful few days. Priceless.

Next stop was lunch at our hosts sisters home, where we were enjoying a delicious Dal Bhat. An end to a fabulours 4 days. 

Filed under: Adventure travel