It was only a short visit to Batase this time round, largely just to visit the children at the hostel and all the students at the school. Sam and I caught the public bus from Boudha to Talamarang which took about four and a half hours. After our lunch of veg chow mien we discussed whether or not to wait for the bus up to Batase. We decided to walk which in hindsight was the right choice as there didn’t end up being a bus up to Batase village that day (or for the next three days). The walk took three hours in total and after about an hour in I was worried we were going the wrong way, eventually we turned a corner and I recognised Batase village on the next ridge, relived we continued on. We got into the village right on 5pm, initially a number of the kids didn’t recognise me as when I left the village two years ago my hair was almost at my shoulders and my beard was quite long as well, this time however my head was shaved and my beard was not much more than stubble. Once they realised it was me it was just like old times.
Greta, who I actually first travelled to Batase with nearly three years ago, was also in the village, halfway through a two month stay, so it was great to see her as well. Among other things Greta has been teaching in the school, coaching one of the older girls for her Australian student visa interview and travelling back and forth to Kathmandu taking some of the children from the hostel to the dentist.
Our first day in the village we headed down to the school with Greta, the children and the teacher who also lives in the hostel. At the school we were greeted with a traditional Batase School welcome at the assembly, speeches were made, by the teachers, Greta, Sam and I, and the the principal offered us all Kata’s (ceremonial scarfs). We then just tagged along to Greta’s classes for the morning. That afternoon I made a quick trip down to Talamarang (an hour walk down and two up) with one of the older kids from the village to by some chicken meat for the children at the hostel as meat for them is almost like a treat, given the cost it is something that they only are able to have occasionally. That night they feasted and they were very thankful for the meal.
The following day Greta took three of children from the hostel to Kathmandu for a dentist visit so Sam and I took her classes. We just continued on with Greta’s lesson plans and enjoyed the morning teaching her classes. It Friday and so only a half day, following the final class of the day the Maths teacher invited Sam and I for some tea and among other things he told us how well the village and school in particular is going since FHC has been involved with the local community.
In the afternoon we headed up above the current hostel to the site where the new orphanage/hostel will be built. The land has been cleared and the building materials are being sourced. The site has an amazing outlook out to the Langtang Range, the building will sit at one of the highest points of the village. Construction is due to start in September or October following the monsoon.
That evening at the hostel we had a big introduction session with kids with each of us talking about our selves, in English, to the whole group. The kids then insisted on us teaching them an Australian song and the only one that we could come up with that they didn’t already know was “Give me a home among the gum trees”… They then sung us a number of Nepali songs and definitely out did us by a long shot.
It was sad to leave but this time I knew it wouldn’t be too long before I return as I plan to be back in the village in September after I complete my CELTA qualification. I am looking forward to returning and staying for a number of months to teach English and assist with the other projects being sponsored by FHC.