Giving Back in Nepal

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Each semester World Class Academy plans a service-learning project aimed at supporting the local communities in which we travel, sponsored by NRS. This Nepal semester, WCA supplied the funding and the manpower to paint a government school as well as a day of play with a shelter for Nepali children. Senior Alex “Ziggy” Zegart gives a first-hand account of this wonderful day, where all those who participated were touched by the simplicity and beauty of human interaction and the empowerment of individuals making a real impact.

This November, World Class Academy participated in a two-day service-learning project in Pokhara, Nepal. On day one we had the opportunity to help a local school by painting classrooms that were in dire need of some attention. The next day we spent time with orphaned kids from a care home, teaching them how to kayak, and playing games with them such as cricket, tag, and frisbee.

The day started early, with each student hauling a large bucket of paint to a taxi outside the guesthouse, which would carry the supplies to the school. Upon arrival we organized into groups and began our mission. In total we were able to paint eleven classrooms at the school in about six to seven hours, energizing them from a dull grayish color to a bright assortment of yellow, blue, purple, green, and red. In some classrooms we were able to add drawings that acted as helpful learning aids for under-supplied teachers. Two students in particular played a huge part in this process – David Miller and Josh Zimber, as they are extremely gifted artists. With their help we were able to draw, and then paint, numerous animals in the preschoolers’ room such as butterflies, snakes, tigers, flowers, and the Nepalese flag. Another great help with the illustration of the classrooms was our Nepalese student Surjan Tamang. With his knowledge of the Nepalese language, we were able to add in the alphabet and number system (0-20) in not only English, but in Nepalese as well, thus giving the students a greater window through which to learn. As a final piece to the school, David painted a tree in the stairwell of the school. Then, each member of World Class Academy dipped their hands into a bucket of paint and pasted handprints representing leaves on the tree. This was our finale and a way for the school to remember us.

The next day was a completely different experience for everyone. Instead of painting classrooms, World Class got to take out a group of four- to nine-year-old children from a youth shelter to a lakeside field for a day of fun and an outside picnic. For one day we were like the older brothers and sisters that they never had. This was an unforgettable experience. None of these children had the kinds of privileges we had when we were young such as swimming or playing sports. When we took them to this field they were all overjoyed, and for the next few hours we taught, played, and talked with them. Alexandra Muck and Anna Bruno taught a group how to hula hoop. Andy Hatch and Sean Madden showed another bunch how to juggle. David Miller and Ryley Penner took each kid out in pairs for a short little kayak lesson. This was probably the most exciting thing for the kids, because none of them had ever been in a kayak before. After a few hours in which time flew by it was lunchtime, and everyone sat down to eat some fried rice. During lunch Liam Fournier was kind enough to share his Coca Cola, giving the kids another treat, which they would normally never get. After lunch everyone split off into little groups: Surjan and Ziggy (Alex Zegart) went to play cricket with some kids, some of the teachers showed the children their cameras and how to use them, and a few others just sat in the shade, relaxing and talking with the kids. After a while the cricket game ended due to the heat and a new game had started, the “pull the kids in the kayaks around the field game.” This was extremely fun, and when one “puller” became too tired he would switch out with another person, who then became the next engine that pulled the kayaks over the field. But like all good experiences, the day eventually ended, and we had to say goodbye to our new little friends.

Even though we had to miss two days of kayaking and, “sadly” enough, two days of school…  everyone at World Class thought it had been worth it, for in those two days we livened up a whole school with bright colors while having an unforgettable experience with an awesome group of orphaned kids.

World Class would like to thank our sponsor NRS for helping us realize our service-learning goals. We would also like to extend a thank you to Chrissy Dawkins and GRG Kayaking for their support and organization with this project.

Editor’s Note: NRS would like to thank the students and staff of World Class Academy for sharing their experiences with us and for their positive efforts in the communities they visit in their travels.