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. Continue reading
It was a matter of immense pleasure to me to turn a chapter in addressing the digital divide in Nepal. Let me start by thanking all known and unknown people whose contributions in the past at Sarkuwa inspired me to plunge into this mission, and boosted my spirits and morale to perform well. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
Canada Forum for Nepal started Project: Rural Nepal in late 2007. Three volunteers from USA were sent to provide technical solutions for establishing Internet based communication such that schools in rural Nepal could communicate with the rest of the world with low bandwidth (8kb/s) dialup telephone lines that had just arrived in the villages. By January 2008, they had successfully established capabilities for Internet based communication over these telephone lines known for their unreliable connectivity in four separate locations. Now, we were faced with a situation where the school staff and students needed to be taught on how to use these great systems. And, we were in search of technology teachers who could do this job. So I took up this challenge and went from Ottawa, Canada to the remote village of Sarkuwa, Baglung District, Nepal along with another volunteer, Smita Khatiwada, (who had just happened to be my relative – Bhauju – through marriage) from Kathmandu. Continue reading
After walking one and half hour, we can see the Khurkot – 7 of Parvat. There is dwelling of Pariyar caste in northern hilly area. We may feel that this is the ancient place of Dalit community, for which, we are doing struggle against the Brahminism. The oldest of Bhatkekhaldo Mr. Dadhiram Pariyar 75, is leading the community. He is president of forest user groups too. The 24 houses of Dalit have to tolerate a kind of trouble daily by the 7/8 houses of elite castes. If youth do object them, they are abused as Maoists, if women do as so, they are named as bitch and if Dalit children don’t respect their order, they are beaten or bruised mentally, if not physically. Continue reading
How many Nepalese are currently working in Qatar now? Neither the Nepalese government nor the Qatari government has the fixed answer to this question as there are thousands of people who come to work here in Qatar illegally without following the government’s normal legal procedures. It is unofficially estimated that more than 260,000 Nepalese have been working here in Qatar. With no doubt, Qatar has emerged as a rapidly growing economy in recent years and, for some rare and lucky Nepalese jobseekers, a prospective destination for earning good money.
Geeta and I went to Janata Higher Secondary Sarkuwa in Baglung District of Nepal as CFFN volunteers. Although planned for weeks ahead, we were stuck in Kathmandu due to Tarai blockade and fuel crisis that hit Nepal. Leaving Kathmandu at 9AM of February 27, 2008, an express micro-bus took us to Baglung Bazaar at around 5PM. There we were received by Krishna Thapa, the President of the School Management Council. We stayed at Baglung Bazaar for the night and, in the morning, Krishna Thapa arranged a jeep for us to go from baglung to the place called Kusmi-Sera and his daughter Bihani was our travel guide. She was very friendly and frank and we became good friends.
Teaching English to the high school students in rural Nepal did not prove to be as easy as I thought when I began my career as a formal English teacher in a village in Nawalparasi district. My school was named Canal Centre High School for being located between two canals. The school attracted students from two quarreling communities: a Tharu community on the one side of the canal and a Brahmin community on the other.
My time in Sarkuwa is finished. I’ve had a lovely time there, and all of the people I’ve met have been great. I regret not having more time there, as there is much more to be done, but my time is limited. The computers are working now and we hope that they will stay that way for some time to come.
My phone rang as I was driving home from a pleasant Italian dinner party. When I picked up the phone my friend Zach Gaydos had one question for me: “Would you like to go to Nepal with me to teach English?“
We met for drinks to discuss the details, but the decision in my mind was made the moment Zach posed the question over the phone. Of course, I wanted to go to Nepal. It sounded like once in a lifetime opportunity to go and do something meaningful and useful. Going to a rural village in Asia with worthy cause of teaching, while having an opportunity for an adventure in the homeland of the Buddha, was too good of an opportunity to let go by.
“Namaste!” I was to hear this greeting many, many times in the three and a half months I spent in Nepal. I heard it from taxi drivers, hoteliers, old women carrying firewood on narrow mountain trails, and hundreds of times from students at the school I taught at. Loosely translated, “namaste” means, “I bow to the divine within you.” A bit different from the common “hello” most often heard in English speaking countries. While in cities, “hello” is becoming increasingly widespread, especially in areas frequented by tourists, in the rural areas “Namaste” stills reigns supreme. It is an excellent example of the polite respect Nepalese afford to all visitors to this beautiful country. It also showcases the narrowing bridge between a formerly isolated Himalayan Hindu kingdom and a modern nation.
Having gone to Sarkuwa, Baglung for himself, Tom came back with unparalled hospitality and admiration of the people of Sarkuwa. Once in Illinois, Donna and Tom worked relentlessly to connect to local people and inspiring them for volunteerism. And there were David Campbell and Zachary Zaydos, two recent university graduates who rose up to the occasion and decided to volunteer at Sarkuwa.
Meanwhile, Pramod connected to concerned people in Kathmandu and Sarkuwa to arrange for the smooth guided travel for David and Zach from Kathmandu to Sarkuwa. Similarly, Tom and Donna worked on raising fund to cover for the air-tickets and little more for other expenses. Pramod formed a team of 12 people and created a group mailing system to make the communication among each other easier. Ann and Roy Campbell, Pat Gaydos, Donna and Tom Lea, and Shishir Paudel from Illinois, USA, David and Zach from wherever they happen to be, Pramod from Ottawa, Canada, Sudeep Dhakal and Balakrishna Acharya from Kathmandu, Narayan Acharya from Binamare, Baglung, make up those twelve at the moment. Continue reading