Awesome first day at the monastery!
Two and a half hours straight up the side of a Himalaya in the rain. I didn’t fall off and I made it to the monastery! The view is phenomenal and the young monks are amazing: very eager and curious. I am so super happy! There’s an Aussie volunteer named Dane, who will be there about the same amount of time I will, and I think we’re gonna make a great team. Apparently we will be teaching math and geography in addition to English…good thing I brought a world map. Dane is living at the monastery which will help us get to know the monks better, as he’s able to quiz them on the lessons all day long. As soon as I get used to the route and the altitude I will be staying later to participate in their puja (prayer) and meditation. At this point I think I’m doing very well, but 5 hours of strenuous exercise in high altitude is requiring extra sleep and lots of electrolytes. I don’t think it will take me long to get acclimated though, and when I get home I’ll be in hellacious shape! Right now, I’m more than thankful for the lung capacity that trombone playing has given me, and the sure-footedness I acquired running canyons. I think some balance left over from skateboarding days also lends a hand here.
So…I am able to do my assignment as planned! But, I found out that the other volunteer ran into the same difficulty. He was supposed to be at the monastery 12 weeks, but was held at the school and orphanage for over a month, AND had difficulties when he finally put his foot down and said he must head to his assigned project at the monastery. So apparently this has been happening with everyone. I do want to say though, that this is an isolated incident, and I have not heard about anything like this happening at any of the other posts throughout Nepal. I also want to say that I have found the Sherpa community to be incredibly honest and giving, and can see that this problem is arising because the host family has their heart in the orphanage and school, so naturally want everyone to experience it. I have watched the smiles spread across their faces as they approach the place.