It Takes a Village (No Goat Left Behind)

The first week we came to school, our tiny classroom sat surrounded by corn fields and was accessed by a claustrophobic tunnel under towering cornstalks that were bracketing an old house and barn. We would arrive, unlock and draw the door bolts (there are no doorknobs here), take our shoes off in the hallway, and enter the concrete room. The initial musty smell would mostly dispel when the glassless/screenless windows were opened, and inevitably someone would be walking by so you could catch a quick, “Namaste” or groggy, “Morning” as the shutters were pushed out.Bucky
In the few weeks we’ve been here, the corn has been cut down. Now the classroom entrance is exposed, and the trail leading to it is just a seemingly random path jutting from the road. The monsoon is receding and the roads and paths are drying.
Regardless the weather; hot, humid, rain, or clear……. children and goats bleat and chatter with one another outside our class, screaming, crying, and laughing until an odd silence hits. Then, we’ll hear a small scrape behind us, and then a sniff as first one child, and then another climbs up to sit in the windowsills. When our teacher (known as ‘Master’ in Nepal) asks us questions in Nepali, the children murmur answers in our ears while coughing on our shoulders.
The teacher tells them to get out of the window, and they scramble down… just in time for the goat to meander in, sniffing a few students before meandering back out again. By the time the goat disappears, new children have established territory on the windowsills. These interuptions are welcome distractions from the incessant pounding of Nepali verb conjugations. Every once in a while, the teacher pauses in his lecture to stop one of the hajuramaas (grandmothers) passing by the windows, a quick question about the content of his lecture, to which they provide a rapid-fire response and typically leave him laughing. Someday, perhaps we’ll understand the joke.
The monsoon is receding and the roads are drying. Winter is coming. Namaste, friends and family.


About stewickie

Me is actually 'we'. We are a married couple, life partners and share all responsibilities on and off line. We like to learn new things, have new experiences, see new places, and meet new people.
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