The Malagiri School


August 2007 – meeting the people of Malagiri for the first time

We are driving on the Rajpath Road in Nepal. This road used to be the main gateway between India and Nepal and now, since the construction of other highways, this road is no longer very busy and is rarely visited by tourists.

The views and countryside are magnificent – the steeply sloped hills are lush with vegetation and natural wooded areas. Scattered amongst the greenery are simple dwellings surrounded by beautiful terraced farmland.

Approaching Malagiri
We come to the parish of Daman and on the bend of the road the tiny hamlet of Malagiri. Apparently Malagiri means necklace in Nepali and the village is situated around the bend in the road in the shape of a necklace. This hamlet has already been visited by two of our friends, the Tibetan monk Pema Dorjee, and Swedish volunteer teacher, Carin Soderlind.

We stop by the side of the road and a group of girls, mothers and grandmothers appear. aug07We watch each other and Denise, my wife, offers some bananas we have brought for our snacks. Pema begins to converse with the children – to show them a digital camera, to encourage them to show us round the little hamlet.

The homes in Malagiri are extremely basic – constructed of rough hewn wood with no glazing in the windows and extremely erratic electricity supply.

Getting to know the locals
The local people do, however, have excellent farming skills, growing different crops and keeping a few animals. It appears that any excess produce is sold to raise funds for essentials such as clothing, winter supplies and medicines.

The children and villagers are very wary to start with but as we spend more time with them they relax a little. More and more children come to see what’s going on. A few boys have now appeared and a couple of men hearing about the visitors have come to see what is happening.

We ask the children why they are not in school. We understand that many of the children in this area are under the age of eight and they are not able to manage the strenuous two hour walk to the local government school. The older children, therefore, have to stay at home with younger siblings to look after them whilst parents are in the fields.

The children and their parents come around the car and wave us goodbye. It’s obvious that they would like to go to school – we get our thinking caps on!!!!

Kevin Fossey, August 2007

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