Bhojpur and beyond…a small odyssey (Part III)

Awake at about 5.15 in the morning, but village life has already begun a good hour or so. (I’m pretty familiar with this in actual fact… The women in the building where I live start their cleaning activities at around 4.00am!). Bhupal’s father has just returned with a bucket and a half of buffalo milk- milking time approximately 1/2 an hour. (On a good day, about 4 litres of milk from the one buffalo, from which is made butter and dahi as well). Bhupal’s household comprises his wife and three children father, mother and younger sister:- the extended family living under the same roof is pretty much the norm here in Nepal.

Cleaning. John Callaway 2010

Bhupal's Mother Cleaning. John Callaway 2010

The majority of the morning is spent walking around the village and meeting people. In the afternoon, we go to watch a football tournament being held nearby, involving teams of 16-18 year olds from around the area. The tournament has been put on as part of the Dasain activities and today is semi-final day. There event is well attended, and the pitch, a levelled area on the hillside, is possibly one of the most precarious I’ve seen. Like watching football at the edge of the world…

Not the Ricoh... John Callaway 2010

Not the Ricoh... John Callaway 2010

And a few random thoughts about education from conversations over the course of the day. For some children, the opportunity for education is severely curtailed by poverty. There are innumerable children orphaned by the conflict and/or living with extended family in some degree of penury. Not only is it difficult for their families/carers to afford the basic costs of education (pencils, uniform, books, paper etc), but there are numerous instances of children working to supplement the meagre family income instead of being at school.

Village Children. John Callaway 2010

Village Children. John Callaway 2010

Even in families where the education of children is valued, the competing demands of family life exact a cost on childrens’ learning…Girls in particular, up at 4.00pm to do household chores, before a potentially long walk to school. The long walk back home, no power, and fading light makes it difficult to study in the evenings…and so it goes…

Teach your children well... John Callaway 2010

Teach your children well... John Callaway 2010

“Teach your children well” : Crosby, Stills & Nash. Go on…you know you want to!

Footnote: Re comment from Chris (below). This is how I ended up travelling to Bhojpur… As the late , great Vivian Stanshall once said…”now read on”…

To be continued…

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2 responses to “Bhojpur and beyond…a small odyssey (Part III)

  • Chris Lawrence

    the NY times did this piece on Elizabeth Scharpf and The Kopila Valley Children’s Home in Nepal. Fascinating … calling this DIY foreign aid revolution.
    Why the trek with Bhupal ?
    Great pictures always !

  • johnnyc1959

    Hi Chris
    Good to hear from you and thanks for the positive comments. I’ve made a brief update on the post which (sort of) explains how the journey came to fruition…

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