Di Gallagher FMVSO Trustee visting Manjushree School
There was still some snow when we went over Sela Pass on 14th March. The long road up from Assam gets just a little better each time we visit. There are good stretches of blacktop now but there is still a lot of bone-shaking rock-and-roll on the dusty, rocky, rutted, dirt road bits.
This visit was an extra special one. FMVSO celebrated its 10th birthday in February, and this year my husband Leo accompanied me for the first time.
As always all the children were assembled to welcome us home. There were many new faces as this was the start of the new academic year. The younger children had not been long back from their holidays and the school term had just started. Leo and I got stuck in straight away, teaching English and General Knowledge to 12 to 15 year olds; their English is good enough for them to understand us without an interpreter. Every afternoon we had ‘Art Club’; the children are very keen to draw and paint, and they produced some wonderful pieces of work for the exhibition and competition. Leo and I also organised Story Writing competitions which were a great success.
The new academic building is in full use now; a great improvement on the old tin huts although more equipment and books are still needed.
Our friend, Andrew, from UK has installed solar power units on the roof of the hall, and the academic buildings and these are helping to get round the eternal problem of the frequent power cuts.
Winter damage to power cables affects the whole area and power was off most days for several hours, sometimes for 24 hours. It was cold, and this year there was cloud and rain most days. This did not however dampen the enthusiasm or the smiles of the children.
Leo and I spent 4 weeks at Manjushree. It was, as always, a wonderfully rewarding and fulfilling experience. Lama Thupten, his staff and children understand and appreciate FMVSO’s involvement and support, and they all send love and thanks to the many friends in UK.