Being a conscious member of a society, it is every person’s dream to be able to make meaningful contributions to the society. I have also been among those who aspire to do something for the people in the remote areas of Nepal. Luckily, an opportunity came upon me to serve as a volunteer in a project for establishing a laboratory to share an Internet based communication link in rural Nepal through Canada Forum for Nepal. And, despite different dilemmas that arose in my mind, we (Rajan Pandey, Gyandera Suwal and I) set out for the Janata HS School of Sarkuwa, Baglung District, Nepal on 16th March 2008.
I was not expecting of friendly roads and cozy vehicles as in Kathmandu. But the serpentine roads out there were far more intimidating and dangerous than what I had ever expected. Exhausted, we arrived at 9PM in Kushmi Sera but the fatigue was soon forgotten after taking tasty food at a restaurant there. Narayan Acharya Sir came to receive us and we stayed at his place, which housed Global Computer Institute, and we spent our night at Kusmi Sera. During our stay, a young, curious and polite guy Hari mentioned about some computer problems that they were facing in their institute and we promised to solve them on the way back from Sarkuwa.
Next day, Prem Thapa and Tek Bahadur Sir, the teachers of Janata School arrived to receive us as they were informed by Narayan Sir. I became breathless when Prem Sir informed us about the duration of the journey ahead and showed the area where we were supposed to go. With a short stopover, tea-break, and conversation at the house of the Principal of Janata Higher Secondary School, Mr. Narayan Paudel, we made our way. Even when we took a slow pace, we were dead tired when we reached the destination 5 hours later.
In Nepal, it was a time of SLC examination and Megh Raj Sir had gone to Bareng VDC for that purpose. Therefore Prem Sir made our lodging arrangement in Krishna Parasad Paudel, the science teacher of the school. Fadindra Hamal was assigned the task of arranging food for us during our stay.
Tried and exhausted, we were already sleepy but we gave an utmost importance to our assignment. So, after having the evening meal, we went to the school to look up the situation of those lastly arrived computer from Canada and USA. We found that one computer wasn’t working and it hooked up our mind for a time. At 2:00AM in the morning we finally kissed the success, as the computer began to work.
Load Shedding which occurred from 11AM – 6PM everyday left us no choices but to explore the village and interact with the villagers during that time. We didn’t miss the chance to swim on the crystal clear water of Sakhar Daha either and to visit a well run Janapriya Primary School in Ward no. 5. Although as remote as it appeared, I loved the political scenario building in the village in preparation to the Constitutional Assembly election that is going to held on April 10, 2008.
After 6 PM, we engaged ourselves in teaching the staff about the hardware, software, and networking. We also taught about the offline web-access technology developed by Wizzy Digital of the USA. The staffs took time and lengthy interactions to understand the networking and hardware but they appeared quite familiar with the Wizzy Digital software. It clearly showed that Geeta’s effort in teaching them about Wizzy Digital was worthwhile. Thank you, Geeta!
The time to setup the network lab prolonged due to late arrival of some computers and due to hardware problem encountered in them. Late night work became our habit by compulsion. During our network lab setup, we made one laptop as server through which we would be able to connect other seven computers to the internet. Server computer worked on the Linux Operating system and has a Wizzy Digital software. As we were not familiar with this software, it took us some time to get used to it.
Some staffs were interested in taking the training but their other commitments kept them absent often. Prem Thapa and Krishna Bahadur Paudel Sir were always with us and had intense curiosity in computers. We especially taught them how to setup the operating system, network the computers, crimp the networking cables, and assemble the hardware, and some new games so that they can spend some time in computer. We were very happy when they worked hard to understand the system and asked many technical questions during the load shedding period.
I will always remember the hospitable behaviors of the teachers and villagers. I can only extend my thanks from my heart to Meghraj Sir, though he deserved a lot more than this. Hearty thanks to Narayan Parasad Paudel, the Principal of that school. I will never forget the charms, co-operation and kindness showed by Prem Thapa, Chandra Bahadur, and Krishna Parasad Paudel to us. Unforgettable service given by Farendra Hamal and the cooperation and time given by the villagers like Baburam ji and Kamal ji will always touch my heart.
Though I had developed strong affinity for Sarkuwa, I had to depart because my personal commitments were calling me back to Kathmandu. But the place will always retain in my mind and heart. However, briefly those 11 days of our journey past, I have felt that this experience as an opportunity to fulfill some of my long held aspiration to help the rural people of Nepal. I now consider that this trip was a golden opportunity of know those wonderful people and majestic places. My hats off to Dr. Pramod Dhakal for his appreciable efforts in informing us about the needs of such a remote village and providing us with this opportunity to serve the people! I am looking forward for such opportunities again.
Project Category: Project: Rural Education Nepal
Article Category: Memoir
Author: Udhyan Timilsina
About Author: Udhyan Timilsina was one of the volunteers to go to Sarkuwa, Baglung who helped establish computer labs in Janata HS School.
Submission Date: April 01,2008.