The towering hills, smiling rhododendrons, amiable villagers of Sarkuwa have become the remarkable footprints in my heart to always remain within me as landmarks. Look left, look right, up or down, everywhere was this hill and I was relishing in the beautiful nirvana of Sarkuwa, Baglung. Even greater than this for me was an ecstasy of being a part of a team to reach Sarkuwa and making contributions that carry meanings for me.
In an anticipation of leaving the Kathmandu valley, I informed my families and friends about my journey which began from Kalanki on a glorious Sunday morning of March 16, 2008. The clock ticked 3PM when we reached Pokhara. It was my third time being at this comely place. Directly we rushed for Baglung as soon as we changed the microbus in Pokhara. I was quiet frightened for the next trip from Baglung Bazaar that we embarked on a Jeep at 5PM. The frequent news stories of Jeep accidents were swirling on my head as the Jeep headed for Sera. Road was slippery and hilly so was getting difficult; in addition, we needed to push the jeep in some high inclinations.
Around 8PM we were at Sera where we requested meal in a restaurant. The meal was very tasty. Our first convene was with Narayan Acharya Sir who briefly introduced the village and Global Computer Institute. We proposed our assignment details to him.
No cell phones, no networks, so no value. The very 2nd morning we were introduced with Hari Poudel who was involved in technical works at Global. Besides he introduced us the WizzyDigital I-Box, an Internet connectivity software tool. We assured him for solving internet and hardware problems at Global. It was a moment of bliss to know the development of Email and Internet in such remote place through the CDMA technology.
We (Udhyan, Rajan and I) circled around Sera Bazaar with Narayan Sir. Being the first day of the SLC Examinations, there were hustles and bustles of students at the examination center. Taking the morning meal, Udhyan and Rajan fell asleep afterwards because of tiredness but I could not sleep. So I purchased a notebook and started writing about our arrival and the plans and targets for Sarkuwa.
It was the matter of astonishment to get Linux Systems in computers at Global whose only purpose was to act as a Server and no people could access it because the ‘root’ password were not known to anyone not even Hari. Y-cable and VGA Cards were used to enables Multi PC operation. CDMA there can operate at a maximum capacity of 115.2kbps.
Prem Thapa Sir was supposed to fetch us from Global at 1PM. We all left there at 1:30 and marched uphill to meet Narayan Sharma Paudel, the Principal of Janata Higher Secondary School, with whom we discussed about the planning of the School for Computer Lab Setup and Training to the Teachers. He was called as GURU because of his Sastriya degree from Banaras.
Climbing high hills after a long time made my body fatigue quickly. However we did not forget about the destination, so disregarding pains our journey to Sarkuwa continued. We became well acquainted with Prem Sir before reaching Sarkuwa and nothing remained difficult in sharing and talking with him. Soon after reaching the school in the late evening, Prem Sir took us to the nearest canteen of Fanindra Ji. Afterwards, we went to the school and checked the arrived PCs and found that one of them was not working. “Yahan pani I-Box chha yaar” was my exclamation with Rajan and Udhyan. I felt so sorry to learn that those laptops were used only for playing ‘Minesweeper’, my goodness. After having lunch, we installed Windows successfully and Krishna sir took us to his home for sleep. It was late.
DAYS AT SARKUWA
We were new faces to everyone, so we introduced ourselves to the rest of the teachers. It was load shedding from the very morning and the situation appeared hopeless. But as we continued planning for lab setups and talked computers technology, the teachers were quite encouraged by the spirits in us. I also delved on a novel ‘Rupmati’ to pass my time during the load shedding.
As the power came on, we started computer setups, networking and training to the teachers. Primarily, we focused on Prem, Chandra and Krishna Sir because we found them to be very keen. We oriented the teachers in editing in pictures using Photoshop, computer hardware assembling, installation and troubleshooting. Besides we emphasized on using internet and search engines especially Google. Megh Raj sir was also there in the room with great interest learning things. We encouraged teachers in browsing Internet than spending time on the ‘minesweeper’. It was not so hectic most of the time; we were guiding Prem Sir about installation and troubleshooting Windows while also fixing other hardware problems. It was a pleasure to notice his enthusiasm and keen interest in taking notes. We made teachers play Baghchal to teach them about keyboard, mouse movements, and correct placements of objects.
MOMENTS AT MEGH RAJ SIR
It was in our plan to install the KVM Switch at Megh Raj Sir’s residence. But before we began, we helped him with his coffee production works and grabbed some pictures. Megh Raj sir was doing good work with everything else and with coffee production as well. He collects all the seeds from the villagers and forwards it to the local market in Pokhara. His house was very silent because his children are far away from home to study. We enjoyed moments with his little granddaughter Sophi.
We enjoyed talking about school and its upliftment. We discussed about politics and blah-blah. We focused him on using email in Gmail, the search engines and some news web portals. We mended his corrupted Windows and everything was fine later.
I found him gentle, sober and genuine.
MOMENTS WITH BABURAM
Baburam was a local guardian who was enthusiastic in learning computer skills. He was among the one who regularly attended the classes and trainings. Similarly he rescued us from difficult situation such as loneliness when unknown to people in Sarkuwa. He took us at a pond called Saakar Daha where my friendsenjoyed swimming (but not me because I cannot swim). Credits go to him for making every condition feasible and entertaining. Besides ‘Mama’ and ‘Kamal’ are also in our memories.
MOMENTS AT FANINDRA’S CANTEEN
This was the place where we enjoyed our rest period through chatting with elders, seniors and other levels. His family members were also happy to make us their distinguished guests. His ‘puri’, ‘tarkari’ and ‘namkin’ were very tasty. His cookery was overall very fine. Moments at his residence with Prem sir and Guru were very memorable. We would like to thank him for his great support.
MOMENTS WITH VILLAGERS
We are spellbound seeing the respects by the people from the village. Moments with all local people were very worthy. Most of the time, the time spent with local guardians about the development of the village was noteworthy.
It was nice to find greenery and production everywhere. However, we noted that the majority of the young people, who could really serve their own village, were not in the village. Numbers of small hydro electricity generation plant were one of the added benefits of the Sarkuwa. Prior to my experiences, this is the strong example for teamwork for developing your won place.
MOMENTS WITH PREM, CHANDRA AND KRISHNA SIR
Our days were fully dedicated in upliftmnet of Prem, Krishna and Chandra Sir. Most of the time Prem and Krishna Sir attended us; however, Chandra sir remained quite busy with his own stuffs afterwards. We found no hesitation in them in learning new skills till late hours, well past midnight. Krishna sir was always patient in learning things even in late hours until 1 in the morning. I was very happy to know about the zeal and enthusiasm in all of them.
We also took a knowledge test on them in the end. They were all successful in the test that we conducted. Besides, Prem Sir is very laborious and is interested in queries and entertainments. We have granted everything that we know to set up a computer lab.
Loads of thank goes to Krishna Sir for lodging. Besides, I must admire and respect him for his views. It was unexpected to know about the farewell concepts from him that day. I must salute him for showing his concerns towards us.
Chandra Sir was very funny. He also learnt lost of the knowledge about computers and internet. His cherishing behavior had always been a part of fun while at work in school. Chnadra Sir, go ahead la and write emails to us.
In this whole adventure, I found myself surrounded by people of respectable and helpful qualities. Thanks go to all those who directly or indirectly helped us in making the activities so feasible and moving. I wish to help again and again in the future.
Project Category: Project: Rural Education Nepal
Article Category: Memoir
Author: Gyanendra Suwal
About Author: Gyanendra Suwal was one of the volunteers to go to Sarkuwa, Baglung who helped establish computer labs in Janata HS School.
Submission Date: April 07,2008.