Our Journey to the Wii, by Sajjan

Me and Sumi were sitting on the stairs one day and he was asking me, ‘Dada, I wish I could have a Wii. Maybe somehow we could get it.” So we went downstairs and we asked Baba if we could have a Wii. Baba said, “Maybe if you complete a goal.” Then Sumi said, “Like what?” And Baba replied, “I don’t know yet, but I’ll think about it.” A few days later, Baba said, “If the three of you combined earned 500 art points, 1000 brain points and 1000 athletic points, Aai and I will buy you a Wii.” Part of me was thinking I could do this. Part of me was thinking those are quite big numbers. But, wow, for all these years Baba has said, “No no no!”, and now he has given a way for us to get it. From then on, me, Tai and Sumi were really excited. This all started in August, 2014.

To earn an athletic point, you must walk or jog 1 kilometer. For example, when our whole family hiked 10 kilometers, me, Tai and Sumi got 10 points each, so 30 points was reduced from the 1000. It all averaged out very well – we each did about 335 kilometers. Because we didn’t have a car, lots of our errands would be done on foot. These points were quite easy because if we had just gone on a walk to run errands, then immediately we’d get the points. It’s kind of like two in one! We also hiked a lot to prepare for our first trek that we were going on with a few school friends. It took us eleven months to finish walking 1000 kilometers.


The maximum amount of kilometers we walked in one day was 12, earning us 36 points!

There are many ways to earn an intellectual point. Here are some of the ways:

  • doing my homework well, depending on how hard it was (1-2 points)
  • completing chess workbook problems (1-4 points)
  • playing chess games on http://www.chesskid.com (1 point)
  • playing chess games in real life with notation and analysis after the game (1-3 points)
  • completing Sudoku or logic puzzles correctly and quickly (1-2 points)
  • writing in the family blog (5-10 points)
  • reading school books (2-8 points)
  • playing word games such as Scrabble, Boggle and Bananagrams (1-4 points)

Collectively, we needed to earn 1000 intellectual points in order to complete this element of the challenge. These were quite hard but I still kept going.


Most of the time, I wanted to do chess because that earned me quite a lot more points.

To earn an artistic point, I drew pictures or played tabla. I drew things like scenes, symmetrical castles, and flags of countries. For each drawing, depending on how good it was, I would earn 1-7 points. Playing tabla for 15 minutes gets me 1 point and if I did an hour of practice in a row, I would get a bonus point earning 5 points. The amount of art points we were aiming for was 500. This element of the challenge was the hardest because I had only a few ways of earning points and they weren’t as enjoyable.


Playing with Tai can be pretty fun, but I usually speed up or go to slow.

We tracked our points using Microsoft Excel. There were three pages, one for each element of the challenge. Baba taught us how to use Excel so we could track our own points. There were eight columns in each page named: Date, Description, Janani, Sajjan, Sumanth, Total, Cumulative and Points to Go.


I always remembered to track my points. I also sometimes remembered to track Tai and Sumi’s points too.

About a year into our challenge, Tai and Sumi started wanting different things instead of a Wii. Tai was interested in getting a new sitar because she hadn’t gotten one yet and she was learning to play it. Sumi wanted a Lego set, a really huge one, because he wanted even more Legos. So Tai and Sumi weren’t contributing to the challenge for the Wii anymore. I was left to do this challenge all by myself. I started to get discouraged when Tai and Sumi gave up. I was quite motivated before, but for those two or three months after they gave up, I wasn’t earning as many points. Then I got back into it after a few months. Since I was already at about 300 intellectual points, Baba reduced the goal to 400. And I was at about 80 artistic points and Baba reduced the goal to 200 points.

Amazon doesn’t work in Nepal and we cannot buy a Wii in Kathmandu, so we had to do something else. When I had almost finished the goal, Baba was going to China for a work trip. He said, “How about I get the Wii there? We can get it a little bit in advance but you won’t be able to play it yet.” When he went to China, he couldn’t find it there. There were only Xboxes and PlayStations. China is like one of the highest selling countries. We probably got this laptop, my backpack, my shirt and almost everythingl from China. So, I was really shocked.

On March 29th 2016, I had just played tabla for 15 minutes and when I was tracking on the score sheet, I summed up my whole column and then I saw the number 200! I was very proud. We ordered the Wii on http://www.amazon.de because Baba was going to Germany for another work trip. From when we had ordered the Wii, I was counting down the days until April 25, 2016, the day Baba came home with the Wii! The challenge was really hard but now I’m really glad I went through all that delayed gratification.


I’ve been waiting about one and a half years for this moment. And I can’t believe that I’m actually holding it and it is actually in our house, finally!



FOBISIA Math Competition, Guangzhou China, by Janani

I was so surprised when TBS selected me for this competition (It was a math competition with four primary students representing each British International School in Asia). Sometimes it felt like a distant dream. But I am glad I participated, because it was a great experience.

We left for China on Wednesday, March 9th, 2016. That day, me and my teammates couldn’t think about anything else. We had a late night flight so we came home from school and went to the airport at 8:15pm. At dinnertime, I started to feel kind of tired, but when we arrived at the airport, excitement pushed away my exhaustion. At last the time came to leave and we said goodbye to our parents. We were on our way to China!

I went with three of my friends, Meghana, Shivanshi and Nabodita, and two teachers, Ms Swift and Ms Manandhar. When we came to the airport, we seemed to speed through the lines. Our teacher told us to bring carry-on bags only. In no time at all, we boarded the plane to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia! After the four-hour flight, we arrived at the airport. We were all very tired (it was still night time) and we soon made our way to our next gate. Finally we boarded our plane and flew to Guangzhou, China!

When we arrived in China, we started seeing other teams of four. Before going, I was completely confident, but seeing the other teams made me a little bit nervous. The FOBISIA staff picked up all the teams that had arrived around the same time and we drove to the hotel in a big bus. We couldn’t wait for the first day of the competition!

We had arrived on Thursday afternoon and the competition started on Friday so we had until dinnertime to do whatever we wanted. We showered and changed, then we played in one of our two rooms. We didn’t have many things to do, but we had fun just hanging out. We didn’t have as much free time as we thought we would.

Hanging out without our parents supervision is so fun!

Hanging out without our parents supervision is so fun!

An hour or two later, Ms Swift called us down to dinner. The hotel was very fancy and it served extravagant buffet dinners. I am a vegetarian and unfortunately, in China, they eat a lot of meat. Everything I could see was non vegetarian! Soon, I found a few things to eat. But then, I walked around the entire dining area and I found so many more things like bread, fruits, salad and even ice cream. Soon, we went to our rooms and fell asleep as fast as we could (we knew we had to wake up early the next morning).

On Friday morning, we woke up, excited for the first day of the competition. After a good breakfast, five big buses took all the participants and their teachers to the hosting school. I couldn’t believe that we had enough people to fill five buses! The school that hosted the competition was The British School of Guangzhou. We were in a huge room with one table per team. There were a few announcements at the beginning, but before we knew it the competition had started.

The first activities were noncompetitive, logic puzzles where we worked with other teams. I think it was meant for us to make friends with other students but some weren’t that friendly. The first competitive part of the competition was the team assessment. My team had practiced very hard for this so we were quite confident. There were much fewer questions than we anticipated. We went through the questions and solved most of them. We thought we did quite well.

"Is my hat black or white", a logic puzzle we solved.

“Is my hat black or white”, a logic puzzle we solved.

After a short break, we moved on to mental math. We had a challenge to square a double-digit number in our heads in less than two minutes! We were given a method at the beginning and we had 30 minutes to practice with our team. Then, a teacher came to our table and asked each of us two questions which we had two minutes to solve. We didn’t think we did very well, but we did learn a new technique to square numbers! In some of the activities that we didn’t do so well in, I was the only one with a positive attitude afterwards. I didn’t think that being negative was the right thing to do.

So much to do, so little time!

So much to do, so little time!

Soon, we had a tessellation investigation where we could just relax and enjoy doing art. We created our own geometrical patterns and shapes. I thought that was a very good activity at the end of the long day.

It felt nice to take a break of math and do art.

It felt nice to take a break of math and do art.

Later, all the teams went to a barbecue dinner. It was okay but the weather in Guangzhou was completely cloudy and freezing (we didn’t see the sun the whole time). Then we went on a nighttime cruise around the city of Guangzhou. The cruise was one of my favorite parts of the whole trip. It was amazing! I couldn’t believe how many buildings were fully lit up. The Canton Tower, a skyscraper, was lit up the best. It kept changing colors – red, green, blue and even rainbow. On the cruise, we ate snacks, explored the levels of the boat, and went up to the terrace. We even had a photo taken of us and put on a key chain! When we went back downstairs, the face changing show started. A dancer wore a mask and every time she swiped her face or turned around, her mask changed! It was kind of like a magic show. There were a few more performances and soon, we had to leave. We bused back to our hotel and went to sleep, very tired.

The next morning, we woke up still a bit sleepy. We got ready, had breakfast and went to the school. Our first activity was an orienteering challenge. We were given a quick lesson on protractors, rulers and compasses and we had to orient ourselves around the school. It was a competition of which team can complete the circuit first. We were sitting at the back during the lesson, so we didn’t fully understand how to score points. Soon we found ourselves running around the school completely confused! Afterwards, I somehow found it kind of fun, unlike my teammates.

Next, we did the individual assessment. This would not add any points to our team score so we were against everyone in the room! I had practiced a lot for this test so I was very confident. I practiced with last year’s 30 minute test, which had 15 questions worth one point each. This test lasted an hour and had 30 questions, each worth 1, 3 or 5 points. In the end I thought I did very well. When it finished, everyone was completely exhausted. Luckily we had a long lunch break and we were treated with pizza! It was so delicious and I don’t think they could have chosen a better time for it.

Later on, we did the most challenging mathematical activity I had ever done. We had a map of a race track and we answered geometrical questions about it. It seemed simple, but the arithmetic was very complicated. We had to multiply 5-digit numbers by 6-digit numbers, divide numbers with several decimals and things like that. At the end of the entire competition we found out that this challenge was meant for GCSE students. The surprising thing is that those students were allowed to use a calculator!

The race track activity had so many tasks! Our blue desk had turned white with dozens of papers!

The race track activity had so many tasks! Our blue desk had turned white with dozens of papers!

Fortunately, we had a break. The next part was the engineering challenge! I thought this activity was the most enjoyable. We built a marble track taking up the space of only one A4 size paper. There was no height restriction. We had five pieces of paper, scotch tape and a pair of scissors. Our design involved a spiral paper track around a rolled paper pole. We had a time limit of 1 hour and unfortunately we didn’t complete our track. When the time was up, a teacher came and timed the number of seconds that the marble ran on the track. Our time was 3.2 seconds and the winning team’s time was 11 seconds! At the end, we walked around and looked at all the teams’ designs. It was interesting how many different techniques there are to build a track. Finally, the competition finished and the award ceremony was coming up. Everyone was excited to find out which team won!

The hardest part was making the marble run down the track without stopping.

The hardest part was making the marble run down the track without stopping.

The award ceremony was held in a big hall in the hotel. When the competition director made the announcements, everyone was silent. There was so much suspense! Our team didn’t get any awards, but we weren’t disappointed (three out of thirty teams received awards). I didn’t expect an award in the first place. Then, dancers performed the traditional Chinese lion dance. Each lion had two people and they danced all around the stage. Towards the end, they did some really cool acrobatics which was fun to watch. But the whole time, I was enjoying my vanilla ice cream (my favorite!).

At the end, my teammates and I talked with the organizer and he asked us which activity was the most challenging. I felt the engineering activity was the most challenging and doable. The race track activity’s arithmetic was the hardest but not doable within the time limit. When things are too challenging and not really doable, you don’t feel like doing the challenge anymore.

Everyone received a participation award. Mine looked like real gold!

Everyone received a participation award. Mine looked like real gold!

The competition was very fun and I’m glad I participated. I was so excited to go back home. I couldn’t wait to tell everyone about it. The airplane journey was smooth and I bought a few souvenirs at the airport. When I think about it, I still can’t believe what I accomplished, but it felt really good to be back home.

It looks like a pot, but it's really a magnet!

It looks like a pot, but it’s really a magnet!

The One World Schoolhouse, Education Reimagined – by Salman Khan

This book moved me beyond words…  Sal Khan’s philosophy on education rings loudly in my ears and this blog post aims to share my enthusiasm.  Slowly, collectively, we can effectively reform education…



Khan’s mission is to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.  Living in one of the poorest countries in the world, with a terribly low literacy rate (~55%) and standard of education, his mission speaks directly to me.  Immediately after reading the book, implementation ideas were spinning through my head: translating his videos into Nepali, obtaining funds to bring practical technology to rural schools, starting a community learning center where adults could improve their math and language skills, and convincing the principal at our kids’ English-medium school to pilot a Khan Academy-based classroom.

A dear friend informed me that another non-profit organization is working on technology and education here in Nepal.  Ole Nepal doesn’t directly translate Khan’s material, but their philosophies are similar.  Their team has developed 600+ learning modules, deployed 5000+ laptops, trained 600+ teachers, and worked with 180+ schools impacting 40,000+ students.  WOW!  Companies this like this, inspired individuals and impassioned groups all around the world are echoing Khan’s message – educational reform is necessary and technology can be one of our best partners.  Today, Khan Academy videos are available in over 35 languages!

Khan’s diagnosis of America’s educational system also thoroughly resonates with me.  I am a product of it and my children are in it, however, temporarily experiencing the British system.  The following paragraphs summarize Khan’s perspective of education in the USA:

The Prussian Model“Eighteenth-century Prussia is where our basic classroom model was invented.  The idea was not to produce independent thinkers, but to churn out loyal and tractable citizens who would learn the value of submitting to the authority of parents, teachers, church, and, ultimately, the king.  The standard classroom model offered boundless opportunities for political indoctrination.  It was not by accident that whole ideas were broken up into fragmented ‘subjects.’ Subjects could be learned by rote memorization, whereas mastering larger ideas called for free and unbridled thinking (76-77).”

Swiss Cheese Learning“What constitutes a passing grade?  In most classrooms in most schools, students pass with 75 or 80 percent.  This is customary.  But if you think about it even for a moment, it’s unacceptable if not disastrous.  Concepts build on one another.  Algebra requires arithmetic.  Trigonometry flows from geometry.  Calculus and physics call for all of the above.  A shaky understanding early on will lead to complete bewilderment later.  Our students are victims of Swiss Cheese Learning.  Though it seems solid from the outside, their education is full of holes (83, 85).”

Archaic Customs“Parts of the system we now hold sacred – for example, the length of the class period or the number of years assigned to ‘elementary’ or ‘high’ school – are in fact rather arbitrary, even accidental (62).  This basic model – grouping kids by birth date and then advancing them together grade by grade – is such a fundamental aspect of conventional education that people seldom seem to think about it.  But we should, because its implications are huge.  To state what is obvious, there is nothing natural about segregating kids by age.  That isn’t how families work; it isn’t what the world looks like; and it runs counter to the way that kids have learned and socialized for most of human history (191-192).”  Khan also brilliantly dissects the archaic customs of summer holidays, compartmentalizing lessons into subjects or units, the recent obsession with student/teacher ratios, and the methods used to track children, all the while arguing that each of these distract from the main goals of maximizing students learning, comprehension, retention, and critical thinking skills.

Homework – We should ask, “not how much homework, but why homework in the first place?  One large survey conducted by the University of Michigan concluded that the single strongest predictor of better achievement scores and few behavioral problems was not time spent on homework, but rather the frequency and duration of family meals.  When families actually sit down and talk – when parents and children exchange ideas and truly show an interest in each other – kids absorb values, motivation and self-esteem; in short, they grow in exactly those attributes and attitudes that will make them enthusiastic and attentive learners.  This is more important than mere homework (111-114).”

Tests and Testing“What do tests really test?  Tests say little or nothing about a student’s potential to learn a subject or about how long learning will be retained.  Tests measure the approximate state of a student’s memory and perhaps understanding, in regard to a particular subset of subject matter at a given moment in time, it being understood that the measurement can vary considerably and randomly according to the particular questions being asked (91-92).”

I am a perfect example – a product of the faulty American education system.  I learned to submissively accept lessons, didn’t gain a comprehensive overview of lessons and how they relate to one another.  I passively listened to broadcast lectures in the classroom, independently worked on homework at home, and crammed hard before tests after which most of the knowledge slowly seeped out.  My education resembled Swiss cheese exactly, even though I was an A-/B+ student throughout high school and college.  I rarely had true mastery before advancing to more complex concepts.

I am a creative, thoughtful, intelligent person – but not because of the system, rather despite the system.  I want more for our children: the three that live in my house, the hundreds I personally know and the millions that will soon have their turn to make this world a better place.  This is one of my favorite passages from Khan’s book: “As a parent myself, I completely understand the human tendency to regard one’s own kids as the most precious in the universe. To every mother and every father, of course they are; biology takes care of that. But there is a somewhat dangerous corollary to this natural parental love. Sometimes it seems that, both as individuals and as societies, we think it’s okay to be selfish as long as it’s on behalf of the kids. Clearly, there’s hypocrisy here; we’re still serving the interests of our own DNA and our own narrow clan. We give ourselves a free pass on something that is emotionally right but morally wrong. As long as our kids are getting educated, we won’t worry about the kids a block, or a nation, or a continent away. But are we really doing our kids a favor by taking this isolationist, me-first position? I don’t think so. I think we’re condemning them to live in a world of broadening inequality and increasing instability. The better way to help our kids is to help all kids (222).”

Before reading Khan’s book, I was acutely aware that what our children need from education (namely, critical thinking and communication skills) is different than the skills emphasized for us 20 – 30 years ago and drastically different than the educational emphasis during previous generations.  What I got from Khan’s book is the piece about CREATIVITY and how the American system doesn’t foster, hone or reward this skill: “What I’m criticizing is an educational approach that, because of its built-in inefficiencies and obsession with control, keeps kids so busy, often with activities that have nothing to do with their particular talents or interests that they have no time to think. There’s a cruel irony in this. Pressured to keep a full plate of purportedly enriching activities, kids end up barely noticing that their interior lives—their uniqueness, curiosity, and creativity— are in fact becoming impoverished.  There is no magic formula to make kids more creative; rather, it’s a way to give light and space and time to the creativity that already exists in each of us (247, 251).

Khan’s detailed analysis of the American education system originates from two sources: he too studied in the USA from grade school in Louisiana to college in Massachusetts, and second, while as a hedge fund analyst, he began remotely tutoring his intelligent cousin who performed poorly on a middle school math exam.  This unassuming tutoring engagement took on a life of its own as Khan taught more and more students, made his lessons electronically available on YouTube, and developed software tools to help gauge his students’ progress.  Khan Academy was born and incarnated into several hundred videos, thousands of students, and a slow infiltration into a handful of classrooms while Khan was still a full-time working professional, husband and father!  In 2009, Khan left his finance job and delved fully into his dream of “teaching the way he wished he was taught (7). Within no time, thousands of students became millions, and the top of the top – Bill Gates and Google –offered to support and grow the Academy.  Khan’s vision, thus, with time and experience, grew beyond just tutoring to summer camps, pilot classrooms, and dreams of whole schools.

 One Room Schoolhouse – Khan succinctly condemns America’s current educational system then, lightly sketches his vision of an ideal future.  Beautifully, he conveys that this is one possible approach, other creative solutions exist too.  Just as he reiterates that there are multiple ways of solving a math problem, he never states that his vision of what school would look like is the only right one.

Khan’s school would more closely resemble a One Room Schoolhouse: kids would be mixed with others of varying ages, learning would be self-paced, holidays would be taken on an as-needed basis (similar to how businesses operate), well-designed assessments would be taken by anyone at any time and students would maintain a portfolio of their work and assessments.  Classrooms would have seventy-five to one hundred children, spanning a broad age-range, with three or four teachers.  A snapshot of the classroom would include 20% of the children working on computer-based lessons while the other 80% are working in several groups on activities, games and projects applying the skills just grasped from the computer-based lessons.  Thus, “the school could cover basic course material in one or two hours, leaving plenty of space and time for open-ended thinking and creativity (205).”

It really takes a creative imagination to visualize this.  There will surely be challenges along the way.  However, educational systems must change to match, or even come close to, the rate at which our world in changing.  What are the consequences of continuing with education the way it is?  This leads to my second favorite passage in Khan’s book, “Among the world’s children starting grade school this year, 65 percent will end up doing jobs that haven’t even been invented yet.  The certainty of change, coupled with the complete uncertainty as to the precise nature of change, has profound and complex implications for our approach to education.  What we teach children is less important than how they learn to teach themselves.  The crucial task of education is to teach kids how to learn.  To lead them to want to learn.  To nurture curiosity, to encourage wonder, and to instill confidence so that later on they’ll have the tools for finding answers to the many questions we don’t yet know how to ask (179-180).”

How is all of this related to the FiveInTheFoothills Blog and our lives and experiences here in Nepal?  I am not quite sure yet…  I’d like to join the global efforts to improve education and how, when and where this happens will unfold in due time.  I thank you for reading my piece about Khan’s book, however my most humble request is that you read it for yourself and SHARE your thoughts broadly.  Collectively, positive change will happen…

As per Khan’s philosophy of sharing knowledge freely, his book is available online as a pdf :-).

My Trip to the Kathmandu Zoo by Sajjan Bhave

Today, I went on an investigation to the zoo instead of working in the classroom.

We walked to the zoo from our school instead of taking the bus! On the walk, we walked single-file in our groups. My group leader was Ms. Shrestha, the assistant teacher from my class. There were five groups. There was Ms. Bloor, Ms. Amatiya, Ms. Middleton, Ms. Westlake and Ms. Shrestha. There were 6 kids in my group. Their names were Jack, Kasem, Freida, Suravi, Neenama and me. The two teachers in our group were Ms. Shrestha and Ms. Silwal. At the zoo, we had to finish four activities before we walked back to school. These activities were: a zoo questionnaire in which you had to ask people different questions ; sketch an animal that you liked ; find out information about the animals ; draw a tally chart of how close to extinction the animals are. Right when we got to the zoo, we ate our snack. We played around for a bit after eating our snack and I took a photo of two of my friends, William and Pemba.


Then we went to the deer. One of the swamp deer had horns and the other did not. The swamp deer were HUGE compared to the spotted deer. We found out that the swamp deer’s lifespan was only 19-20 years. I estimated that the swamp deer were only 16 years old. Next we went to the hippo. The hippo only poked its snout out of the water. I got the photo just before the hippo got back in the water.


We were about to go towards the tigers when Jack spotted that we didn’t go to the rhino. The rhino was huge compared to the swamp deer. He was eating grass when we were at his enclosure. The rhino looked very sad because the other rhinos of his type were separated into different enclosures.


Then we went to the water buffalos. The water buffalos were very far away from us. Water buffalos weigh approximately 800 – 900 kilograms. When we were at their big enclosure, they were drinking water from a very dirty pond. There were about 7 water buffalos in their enclosure.


After the water buffalo, we saw the jackals. Their enclosure was very smelly because they use urine to communicate with other jackals!


Then we went to the Asian elephants. They were HUGE compared to the jackal! We found out that the Asian elephant could live more than 70 years long. Later on, we saw someone riding an elephant straight through the zoo. I thought that elephant was an Asian elephant. The man was riding the elephant through the zoo because he was taking the elephant to the area where the people were waiting to pet the elephant. I got to pet the elephant’s ear, it was very soft. The side of the elephant was much rougher compared to the ear.


Next we went to the huge bird section. I spotted a very colorful bird that looked like a tiger! The bird section wasn’t as entertaining as the monkeys, water buffaloes and tigers.

Towards the end we went to the crocodiles. These crocodiles had a very long snout. It looked like a corpse in the sand because it was very sunny and the animals were very still.


After our visit to the zoo, a few days later, we had a debate whether we should have zoos or not. Everybody said we should not have zoos except Gyaljen. Our conclusions were that we should keep animals in national parks instead of zoos because it is cruel to keep animals in cages, but if we let them out into the wild, they might get killed by hunters and they would be extinct. So, we agreed on the conclusion that we should keep animals in protected national parks.
I really enjoyed going to the zoo because of the big variety of animals!

My Adventures in Hattiban! By Sumanth Bhave

Sumanth’s description of his first school overnight trip – outing to Hattiban then back to school for a night in tents!


First we went to school with my big bag. Tika Dai came also because the bag was really really heavy so when we got to British School, we lined up and went inside. Then we met up at Year 1E. Then we went in a line, a big long line, and there are three busses because we are a big big group. Our bus was very very very cool because we are popcorn and our passenger, the guy who is next to the driver, since there are so many uphills he had to get out of the bus and had to put a big stone behind one of the wheels. And then finally we got there and we got into a circle.

There were lots of groups. My group had 4 people – Ariya, Tirel, Akshata, and me. There were 3 boys and 1 girl. Then each group, went to the toilet and sometimes the boys had to go in the girls toilets and sometimes the girls had to go in the boys toilets! And then finally everybody got to go in the toilet. And then, Ms Wiggers read a story to us, it was called “We are Going on a Bear Hunt”. The story was really nice. Then we were going on a bear hunt together! We found a lot of clues and we even found a lot of bear poo! And the bear poo wasn’t even real! It was like a bunch of leaves crumpled up. When the bear hunt was finished, we came back to the hotel and went to the bathroom again. And then we ate lunch. In the middle of lunch we saw some walking bushes! Do you know the walking bushes were actually people carrying leaves to feed their cattle?!?

Then we did some activities after lunch. We started at 5 then went to 6 then to 1 then to 2 then 3 then 4 then we were finished. I think each activity was 5 minutes. All activities took 1 hour. Activity #5 was sketching things you could see around Hattiban. I sketched trees, tree trunks, and sticks and I think that was it. Then, in #6 first we had to clear a big muddy space, then we had to make a picture in the mud using natural things. My natural things were sticks and bark and I used one piece of glass that wasn’t that sharp. The sticks were bridges, the holes were ponds and the piece of purple glass was treasure. You had to find the treasure and make sure you don’t fall into any of the ponds! The sticks were like balance beams and you had to walk over them to get over the ponds.

In the bus ride back, I was feeling a bit sick because the roads were really bumpy. Finally we got back to the British School. There, we went to Year 1E’s classroom. We read a book or played. I played legos. My lego thing was a big ship that had lots of cool things on it. Guess what Ariya put on my thing?!? He put a big lego missile on my ship! A missile is like a bullet. Then it was time for dinner. I went to the table. I had pasta. The pasta was very very good. I didn’t not like the pizza that much. I drank water, but I didn’t actually drink it, I left it on the table.

Then I played some games in the playground. I really liked the games. The people were Ariya, Yuvan, Akshata, Prapti, and Siddham, Tirel, Shauriya. Then it was time to brush our teeth. I brushed my teeth. Then it was time for bed. I went to bed with Ariya in a tent. I had to set up my bed. There were only 4 teachers so they had to walk around. In the middle of the night, Ariya had to go to the toilet. Then it was morning. Me and Ariya woke up. Then we changed our clothes. Then we packed our bags with some help from some teachers. Then we put our bags where they were when we came to the hard court. Then we asked Ms Elphic if we could go brush our teeth. Then it was time for breakfast. I had cereal. First I had chocolate loops. Then I had fruit loops! Then I had choco banana cereal. But they were fatter than bananas! Then it was time for the next school day. We lined up and then we went inside. I got to leave early.

I did not miss my mom and my dad. I also did not miss my brother and my sister.

I got scared one time because of the bear. Ms Hutchins was the bear! She dressed up as a bear. I got so scared because her ROARS were so scary!

My favorite part of the whole adventure was eating candy when the bear was finished. The bear was a very kind bear. He left us lollipops and oranges and even he left us treasure on the way back. My treasure was candies. The candies were really yummy.

Wiped out, but happy as can be, after the best FIRST school overnight experience!

Wiped out, but happy as can be, after the best FIRST school overnight experience!

Our Jungle Adventures!!

Our Family Chitwan Trip!  By Janani…

I woke up early in the morning on February 14th, 2015. That was the day we went to Chitwan National Park. Chitwan is near the bottom of Nepal in the Terai region or the flatlands. We were visiting Tika Dai’s family so he came with us. We hopped in the car and drove away. The drive was very bumpy because we were going through the mountains. Even in Chitwan, the roads weren’t very good. When we got there, we saw that Tika Dai’s family all lived in one lane. First was Tika Dai’s house, then his brother’s house, then some neighbors and last, his parent’s house. When I grow up, I want to live like that.

At lunchtime, we had rice and daal (lentils) that Tika Dai’s wife, Ganga Didi, made. It was very yummy. After we ate lunch, we explored around the house. We found a swing, a ladder that goes up to a place full of hay and a ladder that goes up to a big attic. It was very fun playing there and I liked that there were ladders instead of stairs.

We found all kinds of interesting things up here!

We found all kinds of interesting things up here!

Then we went to Tika Dai’s parent’s house. The day before, baby goats were born, so we got to see 1-day-old baby goats. One was a girl that was brown with white spots and one was a boy that was just brown. I liked the boy because the girl just sat and pooped. The boy was more active and he was trying to find where to get his mom’s milk.

They are just a day old!

They are just a day old!

The next day we saw another goat give birth to 5 babies. There was a big orange sack coming out of her body and all the baby goats looked slimy and wet. It was so interesting. By the next day, they looked so different and soft. They were very cute.

On Sunday, our Dad went home. On Monday, my Mom, my brothers and I went to a very fancy resort called Kasara. We met two other families. They had four kids all together. Nitesh is 7, Maanav is 7, Sharanaa is 4, and Zoya is 2. There was nobody my age, but it was still fun.

We soon found out that we had our own private SWIMMING POOL! We couldn’t believe it! Unfortunately, the water was cold because it is February so it was hard to get in. Later, we went on a canoe ride. We saw so many pretty birds but in the end we saw about ten man-eating crocodiles. We were so scared! The next day, after breakfast, we went on an elephant ride. It was just like the last time I went to Chitwan with my class. It was so bumpy. We saw 7 or 8 rhinos and one was a baby.

Sometimes, when all the kids were playing, instead of playing with them, I would crochet with the moms. The other two moms taught me how to make hexagons and circles and they even taught me how to turn two hexagons into a sweater for a little doll! The last few weeks, crochet has been one of my favorite activities to do.

Crochet, crochet and more crochet!

Crochet, crochet and more crochet!

We also went on an ox cart ride. There were 2 oxen that pulled a cart and we sat on planks of wood in the cart. We rode to a museum about Tharu Culture. Tharu is a type of people. In the museum, we saw Tharu toys, fishnets, and a drum with peacock feathers on it.

We rode on Shivratri - children in the villages held strings across the road so we couldn't cross.  They asked for money and then released the strings - similar to our Trick or Treating in the USA!

We rode on Shivratri – children in the villages held strings across the road so we couldn’t cross. They asked for money and then released the strings – similar to our Trick or Treating in the USA!

That night, we saw a Tharu Culture dance. There were about 12 ladies dancing in a circle to the music of a 2-sided drum called, dholak. They were dancing with sticks and they could hit them with the sticks of the person behind them without looking back. It was amazing.

The next day, we went to the river. In the river, there were 4 elephants. I climbed on one and the skin of the elephant felt very rough. The man on it said some commands and suddenly the elephant sprayed me with its trunk! The water was much warmer than I thought it would be. I think that’s because it was warmed by the inside of the elephant’s trunk. I was splashed like 10 times! I didn’t want to be splashed anymore. But when I got off, I almost felt like getting back on.

Soaking wet but happy as can be!

Soaking wet but happy as can be!

Kasara and Tika Dai’s house are so different. Kasara is much bigger and it has a proper bathroom. But Tika Dai’s house is very small and they only have a squat toilet, no sink and no shower room. At Kasara we can eat as much as we want, but at Tika Dai’s house, we can only have firsts. If we ask for seconds, someone won’t get their firsts. But in the village, there are many things to play with. There is a swing made out of rope and wood. I found it very cool that the two grooves that were cut on the sides of the wood made it so that the wood could stay on the rope without falling off! There was also a ladder that went up to a pile of hay. We could climb up and look around. In Kasara there weren’t very many things to play with though. Village life is very different from normal life.

Chitwan… By Sajjan…

The Departure
“Wake up!” my mom said, “it is time to go to Chitwan!” I got up sleepily and walked to the car. We drove for six hours on bumpy roads and alongside rivers. Finally, we got to Meghauli, Tika Dai’s village.

We immediately started exploring the fascinating village house. Sumi found an amazing swing. The swing was so resourceful because it was made from string and wood and was hanging from the attic. We played on the swing for so long.

Hidden village treasures...

Hidden village treasures…

Suddenly, Tika Dai’s mom phoned and said a goat was giving birth to babies. We all rushed over there in time to see a black goat give birth to five babies. They all looked slimy and goopy. The next day they looked so soft and different.

There were a lot of Dais (big brothers). We played football (American soccer) and volleyball for at least one hour every day. Higher from Tika Dai’s house, there was a huge, dirt, open land. Sometimes we played up there and sometimes we played down on the narrow road that led to Tika Dai’s house and sometimes we played in his front yard. The ball wasn’t very hard because they don’t have the materials to make them in the village.

We met the whole village by the end of our trip!

We met the whole village by the end of our trip!

In the kitchen, they used milk from a buffalo. It was very sweet and fresh. Unlike other village farmers, they had a refrigerator in their house because Tika Dai is working so hard in Kathmandu and earning a lot of money.

It was a very long drive from Meghauli to Kasara. We had to ask at least five people which way to go. Finally, we got to Kasara. We sprinted to our villa and found out that we had our own private swimming pool! Unfortunately, the swimming pool was extra cold because we are still in winter.

Our own mini pool right next to our villa... the COOLEST thing.

Our own mini pool right next to our villa… the COOLEST thing.

When it was lunch time, we discovered that the food was very good. There even was a buffet. The popcorn before dinner time was also very good. Breakfast was my favorite meal because they had cereal every time and I really like cereal.

We loved the pasta, cereal and desserts!

We loved the pasta, cereal and desserts!

We went on an amazing canoe ride. We saw the long-nosed gharial crocodile and the deadly mugger crocodile. We were especially scared when we saw 3 deadly crocodiles slip into the water near our boat.  When we went to all of the activities, we rode on a jeep, but it wasn’t a normal jeep, it had 10 seats on the top with no roof so the wind blew in our faces!

The moms kept thinking we were going to fly off, but we didn't!

The moms kept thinking we were going to fly off, but we didn’t!

The next day, we went on an ox cart ride. Oxen are white or brown. We went on a tour around the whole village pulled by two oxen!  We even went on an elephant safari. We saw a samba deer, a hug deer – the one with spots – and a crocodile. We got on an elephant like this – there were steps up to a platform but there was no slide, there was an elephant to climb on!

The elephant "driver" rubs his feet behind the elephants ears to steer - no kidding!

The elephant “driver” rubs his feet behind the elephants ears to steer – no kidding!

We saw the Tharu people do a dance with 4 parts. The first part was with a stick that produced loud noises to scare away the animals from eating up the crops. The second part was with this scarecrow drum. The third part was with two sticks. The fourth part was my favorite. It was played with an instrument that made the noise like a tambourine.

Trishuli River
On the way back home, we stopped at the Trishuli River. I wrote people’s names using black stones and another sharp stone. You use the sharp stone as a pencil and the black stone as a paper. When we got back home, it was so different from Kasara and Meghauli.

My Chitwan Blog… By Sumanth…

Chapter 1 – Meghauli
We woke up early because we needed to go to Chitwan. The drive was long. I had breakfast in the car. Finally we were at Chitwan. We saw Hari Dai’s dog, his name is Hero.

Hero is such a cool dog!  Playful, protective and affectionate...

Hero is such a cool dog! Playful, protective and affectionate…

There were seven Dais – Tika Dai, Hari Dai, Milan Dai, Ram Dai, Lakshman Dai, Tika Dai’s younger brother and Hari Dai’s friend. I had so much fun on the swing. We saw a black goat give birth to five babies. After the two days at Tika Dai’s house, we went to Kasara.

Chapter 2 – Kasara
We had a private swimming pool! After 4 hours, our friends came. We played army! Finally we were at our rooms. We watched Motu Patlu in Maanav’s room. On the last day of Kasara, it rained. We ran to our villa. That next morning, we went to the café to eat breakfast. After breakfast, we went to our bus. The bus ride was so bumpy. Finally, we were at our first break. We ate vegetable cutlets – they were yummy! I had five of them. Finally, we were at our second break at Trishuli River. I found so much beautiful stones. I put my stones in a bag. After I found all of the beautiful stones that I liked, we went to the bus stop. Pema Aunty called the bus. Now the bus ride was not bumpy and not long. Finally, we were at our normal house.

Skipping rocks and collecting a few to take home.

Skipping rocks and collecting a few to take home.

The End…

My Shivapuri Trip

by Sajjan Bhave

I'm all set!

I’m all set!

Day 1:
On the first day I woke up and I was very excited to go to Shivapuri. I did my morning routine fast and then I went down and ate breakfast fast so I could go to Shivapuri. Then I went to school.

My brother learned how the porters in the Himalayas carry heavy bags!

My brother learned how the porters in the Himalayas carry heavy bags!

At school, we waited in the main area until the bus came to pick us up.

Getting ready to get on the bus.  They tossed all the bags on the top.

Getting ready to get on the bus. They tossed all the bags on the top.

We then got in the bus and I started on my friend’s Rubik’s cube. I finished one face of the Rubik’s cube and then everybody was so excited and surprised that I finished one face. After that, we played “I Spy”. I didn’t want to participate much, but I got lots of the answers right. After that, we stopped in Budhanilkantha for snack. Then we did the following activities in this order: Sign Spotting (restaurant signs, Gods, computer signs, jewelry signs), Traffic Survey (we counted how many vehicles there were like car, truck, van, motorcycle, bicycle, tuk-tuk and others ; motorcycles won by far!), Shop Survey (there was mostly grocery shops or clothing shops and there were only two chemists in the whole Budhanilkantha!). My favorite was Sign Spotting because you needed your eyes a lot and the Traffic Survey because it has lots of action. After that, we had lunch.

Traffic survey at Budhanilkantha - there were SO many motorcycles!

Traffic survey at Budhanilkantha – there were SO many motorcycles!

Then we walked from Budhanilkantha to Shivapuri. We always had to be in a single file because it was a road and that’s what lots of people had trouble with. When we reached Shivapuri Heights Cottage we got in our rooms and we started unpacking. Mr. Swift said that whichever room was the most tidy after unpacking would get a treat! There would be one girl room and one boy room that would get the treat. Luckily, our room got the treat! Then we got into two groups. One group did sketching of the valley first.

We're sketching the Kathmandu Valley.

We’re sketching the Kathmandu Valley.

The other group did tree planting first. I was in the first group. And then after 40 minutes on our activities, we swapped and got the same amount of time on the other activity. My favorite was tree planting because in the future, we could come back and see our tree.

Nishchal, Yulo and me watering the tree we planted!

Nishchal, Yulo and me watering the tree we planted!

After these activities, we ate dinner at the cottage. The food was yummy, especially the dessert! After that, we watched a Tin Tin movie. It was called, Tin Tin in America. We noticed that we had more time so we watched Tin Tin and the Cigars of the Pharaoh. Everyone liked the second movie because one character had got a poisoned dart inside him so he acted very funny! After that, we got ready for bed and went to bed. This was our first night of sleeping without our parents.

Day 2:
On Day 2, I woke up fast! I had to stay in bed until 6am because I didn’t know I had accidentally woke up at 5:30am! When it was 6am, Mr. Swift came into our rooms and told us that we have 30 minutes until breakfast. We got ready but we were a bit late for breakfast. The girls cottage was a bit further to the breakfast area than ours so we got there first. The girls came after a very long time and then we started having breakfast together. We started with hot chocolate and then I ate plain cornflakes and toast with honey.

After breakfast, we made sandwiches for ourselves and walked to a Tibetan Temple. A monk showed us around the temple. The temple had 3 huge Gods. The one in the middle was Buddha – on Buddha’s lap was a special scarf with all of the important Tibetan symbols. The scarf was called a Katha. The Katha was very important to the Tibetans too. The God on one side was Norbu – Norbu is very important to the Tibetans and Bhutanese people. And I forgot the name of the one on the other side. There were 751 little God idols on the left side of the temple. Approximately 584 Gods were Buddhist and the rest were Tara. In front of them were lots of symbols that were useful to the Tibetans. Then we ate lunch on the grass. My sandwich had cheese and tomatoes. We had Oreos, bananas, oranges and chocolates too. After everybody had finished, we had 2 minutes of silence to respect the monks. Then we walked back to the Cottage.

Our lodge - Shivapuri Heights Cottage.

Our lodge – Shivapuri Heights Cottage.

In the Cottage, we had a little bit of quiet time where we had to do something like yoga, coloring, or a word search. Then we walked to a Hare Krishna Temple. First, we learned about the religion. Second, we did some dancing. Then we walked downstairs and the temple guide told us some stories. One of the stories went like this: Once upon a time, there was a saint praying in the forest and a little rat came up to him, “lots of cats are chasing me, can you turn me into a cat, please?” So the saint turned him into a cat! Then the same cat came back and said, “lots of dogs are chasing me, can you please turn me into a dog?” So the saint turned him into a dog! Then the same dog came back and said, “lots of tigers are chasing me, can you please turn me into a tiger?” So the saint turned him into a tiger. One day the same tiger was looking for food. He found the same saint and tried to eat him! But right before the tiger’s jaws touched the Saint, the Saint turned him back to a rat! The moral – be grateful.

Then we walked backed to the cottage. When we got back, we went to a briquette factory. A briquette is made out of little strips of paper, water and saw dust. It is something that you can use instead of firewood. We made our own briquettes. I put mine in the fire so I did not get to bring it home.

We learned how they make briquettes.

We learned how they make briquettes.

Then we ate dinner. We had pasta and beans and salad. Everyone at our table took seconds! Then we had a campfire! The campfire was ready after dinner. Some people put their briquettes in like me. And then while the fire was blazing, we watched Tin Tin and the Ottokar Sceptre. Everybody thought that was the best movie. We each had one marshmallow in the middle of the movie. Then we settled down to our second night without our parents.

Day 3:
On Day 3, I woke up and we had to pack. We got one hour to pack so we had to wake up at 6am. We all got ready and were late for breakfast again! We ate together and then we took our bags down to be brought to the bus. Then we split up into four groups and each group took turns doing a treasure hunt while the others had time to finish their Shivapuri Activity Sheets (word searches, Tin Tin coloring, Tibetan coloring). My favorite part of the whole trip was the treasure hunt!

We were the last group to start the treasure hunt. There were 13 clues and the last one lead you to the treasure. Then we found one group that was on the same clue as us – Clue #3. We worked together until we found it. The clues had words on them and it showed you which clue it was. There were no pictures. Then we all were stuck on Clue #6 together. Clue #7 was so hard! We knew where it was, but it was so hard to get out. It was under the dog’s collar! Finally, we got it, read it and moved on to Clue #8. We kept going until we found the treasure. The treasure was chocolate! After we ate the treasure, we ate lunch at the cottage then walked to the Hare Krishna Temple to get picked up by the bus. We started playing “I Spy”. Then we played a character game. Then we reached The British School. We had to wait until everyone’s bags got down from the top of the bus and then we found our parents. I never missed home on my trip, but I was so glad to be back!


Our class picture at the lodge.

Our class picture at the lodge.

Sonu Didi made me a cake to welcome me home!

Sonu Didi made me a cake to welcome me home!

My Chitwan Trip!!

By: Janani Bhave

One day, I got a letter from my school, The British School. I was going to go on a 5-day trip to Chitwan! I was so excited because it would be my first overnight field trip. The weekend before the trip, I started packing. I was glad that the school provided a packing list because I didn’t think I would come up with everything I would need. By the way, I have never packed my things by myself before. This would be my first time, so I got the packing list and I started packing. I got distracted many times. The hardest thing to pack was my washing kit because I was always feeling that I forgot something. Luckily I didn’t.

I was getting more and more excited so I did some research about Chitwan. This is what I learned and wrote before my trip: Chitwan is a National Park in Nepal. It protects forests, marshlands, and grasslands. The word Chitwan means “heart of the jungle”. Chitwan is one of the best wild life viewing national parks in Asia. You will have many chances to spot one-horned rhinos, deer, monkeys and 450 species of birds. If you are extremely lucky, you will see leopards, wild elephants, sloth bears or even a Bengal tiger! 7/10ths of the national park is covered in Sal forest. “Sal” is a large leaf, hard wood tree. Chitwan has more than 50 species of mammals including rhinos, tigers, deer, monkeys, elephants, leopards, sloth bears, wild boar and hyenas. Butterfly spotters have identified at least 67 species, some as large as your hand! Birds seen in Chitwan include bulbuls, mynahs, egrets, parakeets, jungle fowl, peacocks, kingfishers, oriels and various species of drongos. There are also rare species such as ruby checked sun birds, emerald doves, jungle owlets and crested horn bills. That is what I learned about Chitwan.

Excited and a little bit sad...

That’s Mr. Cross, my class teacher.

Monday, November 3, 2014, was the day I started getting sad because I was going to leave. I thought that I would miss my parents so much. I said good-bye to my mom and walked to school with my dad. Seeing my friends cheered me up a bit. Their parents were taking pictures of them. Then, we boarded the bus. I sat next to Meghna at the front of the bus.

Meghna and I waved goodbye to our parents from the bus.

Meghna and I waved goodbye to our parents from the bus.

We played hand games, but we soon got bored of them. We both knew that the ride would seem quicker if we fell asleep. After trying for a long time, I fell asleep. When I woke up, we were almost there. Soon, we came to a big crowd of people. They were crowded around a man selling what looked like sugarcane. The crowd of people looked so colorful. Finally, after 7 hours of driving, we reached our lodge, Sapna Village Lodge!

We went to the dining room and had a bowl of soup. I wished we got something cold because it was so hot! Then we had some time to go to our rooms, unpack, tidy up, and make a poster to put on the front of our door. I was in a room with Meghna, Shivanshi and Ujesha. So we unpacked, tidied up and made a poster. We named our dorm, The Girls Dorm. Then, Mr. Swift came to give us dorm points. Dorm points are points that people in our dorm earn. He gave us 3 points for cleaning our room and 2 points because he liked the way Meghna helped Ujesha carry her bag up the stairs to our room. Soon it was dinner time.

After dinner, we made candy for elephants and we fed it to them! What we had to do was tie some straw into a knot. Then we had to fill it with rice and feed it to the elephant. The elephant didn’t eat the bundle that I made, but it was fun trying to feed her. After that, we had a circle time when everyone had a chance to tell what they were looking forward to. Most people were looking forward to the jeep safari, the jungle walk or the canoe ride, like me. Mr. Swift was looking forward to breakfast!! And Ms. Kulung was looking forward to Friday, when we would leave!! Then, it was bedtime so we went up to our dorms, changed our clothes, brushed our teeth, combed our hair and went to bed.

When I woke up the next morning, it was really cold. Soon, I noticed that Shivanshi was awake and she just finished changing. Ujesha was also awake but she was still in bed. When we found out that Meghna was awake, we all got up and started getting ready. Our plan was to get ready and tidy up our room so when Mrs. Swift comes to wake us up, she would give us extra dorm points! Unfortunately, we didn’t get ready in time but we did get ready in time for breakfast.

After breakfast, I went with my class, 5C, on a jeep safari! We sat on seats at the top of the jeep. I loved the wind which was blowing so much on my face. Sometimes it got cold, but I still liked it. We saw some deer, some monkeys, a lizard sticking his head out of a hole, a cute little owlet, and even a leopard! We saw a lot of tall plants called elephant grass. I learned that elephant grass is called elephant grass because elephants eat it.

Some of the elephant grass was almost three times as tall as I am!

Some of the elephant grass was almost three times as tall as I am!

After the jeep safari, we went to our lodge and ate lunch. Then we went on a canoe ride. On the ride, we saw a lot of alligators. Some were really long. I enjoyed looking at them but it was really hot, so I wanted to get off. When the ride was over, we did a jungle walk. We saw a lot of huge spiders in the middle of their webs. We even saw a rhino bathing in a river! Many times, we had to jump over creeks and small streams. After the walk, we rode the canoe across the river and we walked back to our lodge.

We had to be really quiet when we spotted any wild animals like this rhino.

We had to be really quiet when we spotted any wild animals like this rhino.

The next day, we went on an elephant safari! It was so much fun bumping along the trail on the back of an elephant. There were four people on each elephant. I was with Meghna, Zaki and Mrs. Swift. We were sitting in a box on the elephant. We were all turned outwards, each on one corner, holding on the railings of the wooden box. Our driver was sitting on the elephant’s neck. The seating was very interesting. We started in the grassy spaces. There we saw many peacocks. We soon reached the river. When the elephants started walking through the river, it sounded like a thunder storm! When they started going uphill and downhill, it was very bumpy. We also saw deer, monkeys, pheasants and even a wild boar.

People boarding an elephant - it looks hard, but its quite easy.

People boarding an elephant – it looks hard, but its quite easy.

When the elephant safari was over, we went back to our lodge for lunch. After that, we went elephant washing! We went to a river where an elephant was, and once it was flipped over on its side, Mrs. Swift picked three people. She picked me, Rewa and Abayaa. We waded into the river and we rubbed water all over the elephant. Then we climbed onto the elephant and it sprayed us with its trunk!  I was both scared and excited right before it happened. I was scared because I felt like it might be too strong of a spray and excited because it probably would be refreshing. After everyone had a turn washing the elephant, we went back to the lodge for a shower. Then it was dinner time and then it was bedtime.

It was SO fun!

It was SO fun!

On Thursday we went bird watching. I was excited but we didn’t see very many birds. At the beginning we walked to the river banks. There, we saw a flock of birds who were taking a bath. When my friend, Alexia, let me borrow her binoculars I saw that the birds were all brown and white, but they had brown and white on different parts of their bodies. Then we started walking down the river. We only saw one more bird which had a very long tail. At one point, we saw hundreds of millipedes or centipedes. They looked exactly the same and they were crawling all over the grass. We kept walking until we came to our lodge. We ate lunch then we went to a Tharu Village.

Resting in the shade during a long hike.  Everyone's wearing long sleeves and long pants because of the mosquitoes.

Resting in the shade during a long hike. Everyone’s wearing long sleeves and long pants because of the mosquitoes.

Tharu people are a type of Nepali people. We were going to learn how to decorate their houses. First we rubbed mud and cow poo all over the outside of a house so that no cracks would be showing. Then we put paint on another house by making flowers and paisley shapes with our hands. After we finished, we went fishing!

I had never gone fishing before. We each had an oval shaped ring of wood with a net hanging from it. We also had a basket tied to the side of our waist. We were supposed to wade in the water, dip in our net, and put the fish we caught in our baskets. I didn’t catch any fish, though. Then, we went back to our lodge.

The rivers in Chitwan are pretty and blue unlike the rivers in Kathmandu.

The rivers in Chitwan are pretty and blue unlike the rivers in Kathmandu.

The next day, we were going back home! I was excited to see my parents and brothers but I was also sad to leave Chitwan. After a long, boring bus ride, we finally reached The British School. Then I found my mom! I was happy to see her, but it felt like it had just been one day since I’d seen her. When I left home, I felt like I was going to miss my parents a lot, but I never actually did miss them much. I thought about them many times though… That was the end of my Chitwan trip!

My Didi made me a cake when I came home from the trip!  She doesn't know English well so she sounded out "WELCOME".

My Didi made me a cake when I came home from the trip! She doesn’t know English well so she sounded out “WELCOME”.

TREKKING!!! by Sumanth, Sajjan and Janani

Chapter 1: Car to Pokhara
I saw lots of new things on the way. The only thing that was the same from Telluride was the Manakamana Cable Cars. I saw lots of bamboo swings on the way back. They were big. I also saw mini bamboo swings.

Enormous bamboo swings -- my Mom's turn!

Enormous bamboo swings — my Mom’s turn!

Chapter 2: Map
Our first lodge was Tikhedhungga. Our next lodge was Ghorepani. Our next lodge was Tadapani. And our next lodge was Ghandruk.

Chapter 3: Things I Saw on the Trek
In my binoculars, I saw the first wobbly bridge that we went on. It was made out of metal and string. I saw lots of cairns – they are stacks of rocks and the rocks are really really flat. And when I saw cairns, I saw a big one and then I said to my mom, “can I make a cairn?” And then mine was really small, but then when my dad and sister and brother and my friend Dan came then we all made lots of cairns. On the last day of the trek I saw a horn of a buffalo. It was on the path. Lots of horses too. One time the horse whacked its tail into my eye.

Sumanth next to the cairn he built

Sumanth next to the cairn he built

Chapter 5: Games that we played
First we were playing this game that we should not get seen by anybody. Even the people in our trek. Then we played another game which we were all shooting everybody, but not the Nepalis. In the last lodge which was called Annapurna Lodge, we played this game that someone was the Zombie and if the Zombie or the guy who had the stick touched you then you had to be another Zombie. Then we played a game which was wrestling.

The End

by Sumanth
Day 1
On the first day we had to walk along the river for the whole day. There were lots of switchbacks so there was lots of shortcuts. The trails were very bumpy. There was one river and there were lots of waterfalls coming into that one big river. We had a nice lunch then kept walking and fell asleep in the lodge in Tikhedhungga.

Trail following the river

Trail following the river

Day 2
We woke up after a quiet sleep. Our destination on that day was Ghorepani. The second day we had to walk half jungle and half not. Later on we saw some monkeys in the wild that looked like they had a long stripy tail of black and white and they were hanging on trees and jumping from tree to tree. There were even some little little ones. The monkeys’ faces looked extremely round. He had a very long tail. There were trees in the middle of the path so you could go around the trees in two different directions. Then we kept walking and slept at the lodge called Hungry Eye in Ghorepani. It had a fire so it was a warm lodge.

Day 3
On Day 3 we woke up at 4am. Then we put on lots of layers on us because it was very cold. It was dark so we used head lamps. I was one of the first people so when I looked back I saw a stream of head lamps. It was beautiful. On Poon Hill, we took lots of photos. On Poon Hill there was a flat cloud on top of a mountain so that made the mountain look like it had a flat top. The sunrise at Poon Hill looked like the same sunrise as Lion King with purple clouds.

Sunrise at Poon Hill...

Sunrise at Poon Hill…

The mountain children and how they survive up there is very interesting. Because there is basically nothing up there like toys, paper, clothes, swings, electricity, education, cars, bicycles, buses, trucks – they just have to get around by foot, everywhere. We don’t use the nature much as much as they do.

Day 4
On Day 4, we walked from Tadapani to Ghandruk. It was so short. The snow capped mountains looked very steep. We kept seeing the same set of snow capped mountains from different places and different elevations. The porters were very entertaining to the little kids. We ate lunch at the lodge. We did not do much walking so we had lots of time and lots of fun in Ghandruk. We played a game called Mille Bornes, a French auto car racing card game. We also played a wrestling game with the other boys in the grass.

Dan and Sajjan playing the Mille Bourne card game

Dan and Sajjan playing the Mille Bornes card game

Day 5
On Day 5, we walked from Ghandruk to Kilyu. We took a jeep from Kilyu to Birethanti. We ate lunch there and then walked to Nayapul and took a bus back to Pokhara. We walked 41 kilometers in total. Our highest elevation was on Poon Hill at 3210 meters from sea level.

by Sajjan
My First Trek

In my family there are three kids — me, Sajjan and Sumanth. All three of us wanted a video game called Wii. Our parents had explained to us that we had to walk 1,000 kilometers to earn the Wii. We decided to go on a trek. It was my first trek! I was very excited to walk a lot of kilometers and so were my brothers. At last, the first day of the trek arrived. We were on our way to Pokhara. In the car, I saw so many beautiful and interesting things. I saw a lot of brick factories, flowers, trees, forests, and even a few snow-capped mountains! We also saw some roads that were decorated for Dashain. It was like silver streamers hanging from long strings which were tied to poles next to the road. It was really beautiful.

Sparkling Dashain decorations

Sparkling Dashain decorations

After looking out the window, we watched a movie. The car that we were riding in was the first car that I saw in Nepal that was able to play movies! We all crowded around the screen as we watched The Lion King. I loved it. Then we stopped to take a walk on a bridge, over a massive river. We had to take stairs down to the bridge which I found very slippery. The bridge was huge! We only walked halfway across it before we came back.

One of many pedestrian bridges across the river along the drive to Pokhara

One pedestrian bridges across the river along the drive to Pokhara

Then we got back into the car and drove to Gorkha, an old town. We ate lunch there at a restaurant called Rest and Test. We all ordered noodles which were very spicy. A man brought us tomato sauce and chili sauce. I wondered why he brought chili sauce when it was already so spicy. After that, our father told us a story about how the king of Gorkha united Nepal. It was very interesting. Finally, we reached Pokhara. We settled down in our hotel called Splendid View. Then we walked to a Punjabi restaurant for dinner. On the walk, I noticed a lot of differences between Kathmandu and Pokhara that I wasn’t expecting. The roads in Kathmandu are a lot busier than the roads in Pokhara. In Pokhara, there are a lot more tourists than in Kathmandu so there are more hotels, taxis, travel agencies, tourist buses, and many more things for tourists than in Kathmandu.

The next day, we took a boat ride to the bottom of the hill that the World Peace Pagoda is on. It was very beautiful. There was also an amazing view of Pokhara. It looked a lot like Kathmandu does from Swayumbhu (a temple in Kathmandu on a hill) except for a big lake in the middle of the town.

World Peace Pagoda in Pokhara, built by the Japanese

World Peace Pagoda in Pokhara, built by the Japanese

Then we ate lunch at a restaurant called Sweet Memories. We also went to Devi’s Fall which is an enormous roaring waterfall. There was a lot of mist which felt very refreshing. Then, we went to our friends’ hotel called Hotel Temple Tree. Our friends’ names are Maanav and Zoya. Maanav is 7 and Zoya is 2. We went swimming with them.

The next day was the start of our trek! We quickly ate breakfast and went to Hotel Barahi to meet our friends. There were four girls and seven boys – eleven children total. The girls were Charlotte, Maya, Riya and I and the boys were Sajjan, Sumi, William, Olli, Dan, Jack and Nicky. We all got into a bus and drove to Nayapul. On the way I saw a lot of goats walking down the road. What would happen is about 100 goats would come with 1 goat herd at the back. The goats would split in the middle and about half of them would go on one side of the bus while the other half would go on the other side. It was very cool but I wondered why the bus never stopped when the goats were passing. I found it extremely interesting because I never saw that many goats before.

At last we reached Nayapul. We trekked mostly next to the river. There were a lot of bridges that we had to cross to get over the river. They were very wobbly so what I did is go on the bridge and move around a lot and then the bridge would swing a little bit. It was very hot but there were a lot of waterfalls so we could wash our face in them. The water was so clean compared to the water in the rivers in Kathmandu. You could actually see through them! One time, we passed such a big waterfall which was flowing across the trail so we had to take our shoes off to go through it. It was so fun but suddenly a bunch of goats came to cross the river so we had to rush to the other side of the waterfall and move to the side because we heard that if you get in a goat’s way, he will push you. The expressions on the goats faces were so confused. Some of them were about to jump into the next waterfall. It was so funny!

Crossing the trail in 8 inch deep water - see the goats on the other side?

Crossing the trail in 8 inch deep water – see the goats on the other side?

We continued going until we reached the lunch spot. I had fried rice and so did my brothers. I really liked it. The meals are so different from the USA because whenever we hiked there, we always picniced for lunch but in Nepal there are teahouses in the middle of the trails so we stop there for lunch. Saddly, when we continued to Tikhedhungga, Riya felt sick so she had to ride on a horse. I wish she wasn’t sick because Charlotte, Maya and I weren’t able to keep up with the horse. At the lodge, the girls and I played a lot of hand games. We played Concentration which is a hand game where you keep saying words that have to do with one topic and you cannot hesitate or repeat words. We also played a hand game that we made up and we kept making up different versions and were silly about it.

The next day was the hardest day. We had to gain 2,756 feet of elevation. Riya, the lead guide and I were the first to reach the lunch spot. A few minutes later, Ollie came with his porter and then some other porters came. And then a long time later, everyone else came. I was really proud of myself because I got to the lunch spot first and I had never reached first before. In the beginning, it was hot so I wet myself a lot in the waterfalls. But when we started gaining more elevation, I started feeling cold and sick. After lunch it started raining. That made me feel even worse. FINALLY we reached Ghorepani. The porters were the people who carried our things such as clothes, sleeping bags, medicines, small toys and some other things that we didn’t carry. They were men who carried big bags of our stuff on their heads with a little string. It was so amazing how they climbed all of the steep steps and went across all the waterfalls with those heavy bags on their heads.

Our porters were in their late teens or early 20s

Our porters were in their late teens or early 20s

The next morning we woke up really early to climb Poon Hill and see the sunrise. I was SO tired. Riya and Maya both didn’t come, so it was just me and Charlotte. At the top, the sunrise was beautiful and we were surrounded by snow capped mountains but I don’t think that it was worth climbing Poon Hill because it was dark when we started climbing and I was tired. We came back to Ghorepani and had breakfast. Then we went to Tadapani and on the hike we climbed up and down steep hills. I was VERY tired. I bought a box of Pringles and ate it as I waited for my friends who were behind me. When they reached, we made up a silly song called “My Butt’s Rubbin’ on the Wall”. We sang it until dinner time and then a few more times before bed time.

The next day was the easiest day. I hiked at the back of the line with Charlotte, Maya, Riya and William. We all pretended to be different people and change our names. Charlotte was Georgina. William was George. Maya was Clara. Riya was Ashley. And I was Molly. We started talking about things that were made up. I found it very funny. When we reached Ghandruk we had lunch. Then us girls went into the “girls room” to write songs. We wrote a lullaby and a Jungle Song. We preformed the Jungle Song with singing, dancing, acting, mouth noises, costumes and props. Then after dinner we sang the lullaby around our only camp fire on the trek. It was really fun.

Charlotte, Maya and Janani performing the Jungle Song

Charlotte, Maya and Janani performing the Jungle Song

The next day we were going to Nayapul. It was a long way but it was all downhill. On the way, we saw a bamboo swing. In Nepal, when it is Dashain, Nepalis build bamboo swings. The one that we saw was gynormous! It looked like it was as tall as someone’s house! It was really cool. We walked a little more and stopped to catch a jeep because we were too tired to finish the walk. The jeep ride was very bumpy because I was sitting with the three other girls. When we reached the restaurant we wrote a song while eating. We planned to perform it in Kathmandu. After lunch we walked to the bus which went to Pokhara and the next day we drove home.

I’m really glad that my friends came because when they were with me I felt like I walked faster because I was having fun. One other thing I really liked about the trek was the horse bells. When I saw horses passing by, they had bells on their necks and even though some of them were with the same shepherd, all of their bells were different. It sounded really nice when one would come after another and as they would pass by me, their bells would all make different sounds and it sounded like a song.

PS – Next time I want to go on a longer trek!

by Janani

We moved!!!

WOW!  This was one of the smoothest, most effortless moves we have ever executed…  Largely because our belongings (clothes, books, toys, kitchen items, bathroom items and few electronic items) currently fit within 13 suitcases and a dozen small reusable bags; we also have 5 bicycles, but at the moment, we have NO furniture, cars, or any cardboard boxes!  During our six previous moves, Prakash and I have never had so few items to move.  Yes, we did downsize tremendously, but the majority of our remaining belongings are in an air shipment on its way to Nepal; it contains 60 cardboard boxes, 1 queen size bed and 1 rocking chair (a family favorite we’ve had since Janani was born, none of us felt like parting with it).

I was able to pack up our belongings in less than 1 day – record time for me!   Several people helped us on the day of our move (July 1) which made for extra smooth sailing… Ribika, the driver of our Dutch friends from ICIMOD, Flip and Houk, helped us with a mini-SUV.  Bharat (the body guard of our old landlord’s brother who is a Member of Parliment) and Tilak (a jack of all trades employee of our old landlord) helped load our heavy suitcases into the car.  We drove the short 1 mile distance to our new house and Tika Dai and Sonu Didi (our new house helpers) helped transferred the bags inside the house.  That’s it – within 2 hours, the move was complete!

This house however, is very EMPTY!  I did purchase over 2 dozen household and furniture items from the previous family, but it still looks like a blank slate.  We made a list of some initial necessary items (cleaning tools and fluids) and Ribika and I went to Bhat Bateni (our version of Super Target + Sears).  I stocked up on groceries too knowing that I didn’t have to cycle them back home.  By afternoon, I unpacked most of our belongings and brought the kids to our new home!

The rest of the week went by in a flash…  Getting acquainted with the new house, remembering where I put everything, figuring out which electric switches worked which lights, and packing for our trip to India (July 9 – 29).

Let me introduce Tika Dai and Sonu Didi – our family of 5 now feels like a family of 7!  Sonu Didi takes care of washing clothes (by hand and with a machine, hangs them up to dry, collects the clothes, irons and folds all), some cooking (all basic Nepali cuisine including lentils, curried vegetables, rice and salad), cleaning (floors, bathrooms, dusting).  She is enthusiastic, pleasant and pays attention to detail.  Tika Dai performs a wide variety of tasks including gardening, running errands, paying bills, cleaning large items, playing with the kids, making morning tea, and washing dishes.  His personality and work ethic are remarkable – always happy, content and ever ready to do any task swiftly, efficiently and effectively.  Neither speak English, so my Nepali is coming in very handy.

Here are a few highlights of the house from the kids:

A — Avocado trees — they are big and they have lots of avocados; they are small babies now but will be ready in a few months


B — Bamboo tree house — in our front yard, there is a tree house made of bamboo, but it isn’t a real tree house, because it isn’t attached to a tree


C — Chicken house — there were lots of chickens, but one day a cat came and killed them, so now it is empty; Tika Dai is going to clean and paint it for us as a play area


D — Dog — the dog always comes and sits on the front door porch ; the dog is very peaceful, friendly and quiet


E — Excellent sunlight — even in the rainy season, we get so much sun pouring into the house

F — Ferret — we’ve seen a fast, furry, brown ferret scurry around in the garde

G — Garden — the most mature, beautiful, abundant garden we’ve ever had – in addition to avocados, there is a huge veggie patch, lots of flowers, and many herbs


H — Hospitality — our house helpers make it feel almost like we are living in a hotel – cleaning, laundry, gardening, simple errands and some cooking are all taken care of

I — Internet — Aai uses the computer lots of times like for blog posts; the internet connection came really fast

J — Jumping from the Swings — in our garden there are two swings which we swing on and jump off of and we take turns swinging and jumping and it is really fun


K — Kitchen — the kitchen is very nice and even has a separate room for the pantry and fridge


L — Lizards — Janani and Aai saw a baby lizard one day behind the kitchen door

M — Mosquitoes — in our house, there are much less mosquitoes than there were in the apartment

N — Natural — there is no air conditioner or heating, just natural breeze from the many windows


O — O-Shaped Chair — when we cuddle, it is so big that 2 or 3 people can fit in the chair


P — Paintings on the Wall — it is a long line that is near the ceiling of the stairwell and it has vegetables, plants and trees on it


Q — Quiet Street — our house is on a very quiet street; there isn’t very much cars or motorcycles that go on it because it is a dead-end road


R — Room of beds — there are 3 beds in one room and we all 5 share 3 beds ; sometimes people even sleep on the yoga mat

S — Sonu Didi — she is nice, helpful, polite and gentle


T — Tika Dai — he is brave, strong, energetic, fun and always has a good attitude


U — Unfurnished — our house feels very empty because there is not much furniture and our shipment is yet to arrive

V — Very Old House — our house is very old; you can tell because the plants in the garden have grown so much


W — Windows — there are so much windows in our house and it is so much fun looking out


X — eXtraordinary House — we have a tree house, swing set, and a big garden

Y — Y-Shaped Tree — there is one tree in our garden that Janani is able to climb; it is a pine tree and is shaped like the letter Y


Z — Zig-zag stools — we have two colorful Nepali stools made out of bamboo with a zigzag design and a broken tire at their base


Hope you come visit soon!