Let me tell you about my time in Khanikhola, Nepal at the Superb Catalyst Academy
The five letters in Nepal stand for ‘Never Ending Peace And Love’. This statement turns out to be absolutely true when one is visiting the wonderful regions of this country, especially in the rural and traditional areas all around the Himalayas. I quickly fell in Love with Nepal when I started my journey in November 2016. I had multiple reasons to visit exactly this part of the world, as I was not only interested in eastern religions and cultures, but also in the educational system of the country.
After a few days in Kathmandu, a very friendly taxi driver with the name of Suresh picked me up and brought me, plus three bags full of footballs and school items, to the wonderful village Khanikhola in Dhading, Naubise, which is about 25 kilometres away from the capital. I immediately arrived at the Super Catalyst Academy, and the principal of the school and also the host of my journey, Ajoy Rimal, gave me a warm welcome. I got introduced to his wife Bina, who is not only a talented teacher but also a wonderful cook, and to the other teachers as well. Everybody was smiling and I could already feel the ‘vibe’ of the village for the first time. I can also remember that Ajoy immediately told me a story about 5 Austrian people that he met in Khanikhola during his early childhood years. He never met an Austrian person ever since, so he was kind of excited to see one again
He had never met an Austrian person since, so he was kind of excited to see one again
Later on, Ajoy shared more of his personal stories with me and other volunteers. All I can say is that this man is a powerful soul, a true worker of Life, a servant of Truth, with a noble mind, a very generous and patient character, and very clear and good intentions. He is really putting his whole energy in the school, investing everything he has got into it, constantly. Not only did I find a teacher and a host in him, but also a friend, an inspiration and an ‘older brother’ (a ‘dhai’ is how they call it in Nepal).
The place where the volunteers stay, called ‘Global Home’, is also the home of Ajoy, Bina and their joyful and beautiful daughter Emi. The area is absolutely wonderful and there is enough space for at least 4 volunteers. It is located about 20 minutes away from the school and the whole way up is full of organic fruits and vegetables, little shops and of course smiling people. This I noticed already when I walked up to my new home for the first time. Young children and old adults, all of them are smiling at you, greeting you with a warm ‘Namaste’. This scenario repeats daily. One of the most beautiful moments of the day was indeed the walk down to the school and later on up to the house again. Usually, a whole group of primary school children is following you upwards, all of them wanting to hold your hand and to sing songs with them. This alone makes you realise the beauty of Life in such a simple and wonderful way that it cannot be described in words.
After wonderful food and a good and peaceful first night, I arrived at the Superb Catalyst Academy for my first teaching experiences. Ajoy told me that especially Class 10 needs some help in Science, and as I studied Biotechnology and Genetics with a Masters Degree, I kind of knew how I could help them a little bit. In the following months, I spent a lot of time with them, but also with younger students and other classes. I discovered plenty of new things about myself and others during my visit.
As everywhere in the world, also in Khanikhola, the students are just different. Some are shy, some are outgoing. However, most of them are extremely curious. They want to know a lot of things and some of them will never stop to ask you questions (which is obviously a very good sign!). The children also love to give you some riddles to solve, and they, of course, love it when you do the same with them. I realised quickly that the best way to teach children is to combine knowledge with fun. All children love to play games and thus education also has to undergo a kind of re-orientation. Not only in Nepal, but worldwide.
A great balance in the daily life of the students are the extracurricular activities. During this periods I usually practised Tai-Chi and Yoga with the children, an activity that we all enjoyed a lot. I strongly believe that a balance of mind (thoughts), body (actions) and soul (feelings) is required for a balanced and healthy life. Education must always revolve around these 3 pillars and principles of Life.
Another great, priceless thing: Every time you are looking for a little bit of joy and love, you just need to visit the ‘minions’ of Class 1 and of the Nursery Class. They’ll make you cry tears of joy and your heart will burst
During my time in Khanikhola, I had a great opportunity to get to know others and myself in a better way. Mother Nature is absolutely alive here and all the people live in a perfect harmony with her. Every day I experienced a little miracle here and each moment is full of joy, peace and bliss.