Written by Job Arts
On January 3th, 2018 I was ready to board to the country of mountains, of a mosaic of cultures and the country of Maya Universe Academy. In my inbox an e-mail from Maya appeared with a request: would I like to teach Science and mathematics class in a village called Keshavtar? This small school was failing and almost had to close down. Therefore the school in collaboration with the local community reached out to Maya Universe Academy for help.
One week later me and Ida, a volunteer from Sweden, took the bus that would bring us towards Keshavtar. From the moment we entered the village, we were part of it and were able to see the local culture. The community had organized a celebration for us and the volunteers from the main school. As a warm welcome we were received with self-made flower necklaces, Nepali ‘dal bhat’ (rice and lentils) and traditional dance. From that moment the rollercoaster of new experiences, challenges and mainly highlights started.
In the small school in Keshavtar I was teaching Science and mathematics for 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students. These subjects suit well with my background as a geology student. Already in the first week I found out how curious, smart and creative the kids are. Therefore I learned at least as much from them as they learned from me during the three months of volunteering. A lesson was successful for me when I could make the children enthusiastic and interested in the subject I was teaching. For example a student came to me in the morning to tell about the experiments she did at home after chemistry class. I cannot imagine a better reward as a teacher. Of course there were also challenges mainly concerning the short time in which the children had to be ready for their exams and the differences in level. However, Krishna our principal and experienced Maya volunteer was always there for advice.
In our spare time we wanted to see as much as possible of the surroundings of Keshavtar. Therefore we did many small hikes to nearby villages where some of the children live. We also made some trips to Pokhara and Bandipur to see more of the country. When we were in Keshavter we spent a lot of time with our neighbors and we became good friends with them. Thanks to them we were able to see everything of the local culture: being powdered during Holi festival, blasting sugarcane during Shivaratri, making roti and catching fish in the Sukhora valley. Volunteering at Maya Universe Academy gave me the opportunity to get to know a different culture, make new friends from all over the world and exchange knowledge with students and teachers of the school in Keshavtar. Thanks for this opportunity Maya!