5am. Light streams in through the gaps in the wooden panels. The sun is up. My back is out from having slept on the wooden beams that Maya calls her bed… But as I come to, I realize that’s not what has awoken me… what sounds are those? Birds. Amazing birds… and children,.. and adults. Speaking loudly, yelling things to each other. They are not arguing – they are simply alive. The day has started. There are things to plan. Like who wants tea, who wants biscuits, how many people to feed, when to have breakfast, how many shelters to build, where to put the teachers’ shelters…. There is life, family and food. The essentials.
It was a hot slow day. The pace is different, but then Maya and Sahilee had climbed Everest, and made the impossible possible when they became part of the first all female team to climb the seven summits. So I just shut up, observed, listened, learned and did what I was told… There was a meeting at the school to give each household who had lost their home (ie EVERYONE) $500.00… Eventually they will get up to $2,000… I don’t want to get political – but it’s clear there’s no money for education if there’s so little money for livelihood…
Two temporary teacher’s shelters were built on a corn filed which was donated by a local villager. the principal, who had lost his home, looked on as his new house was being constructed. During that time, I was also offered to accept a local husband… a fabulous man, full of heart and life, who I proceeded to boss around in the true spirit of upholding gender stereotypes.
The night ended with everyone lying on the ground outside the house and staring at the sky. Millions of stars. “Can we sleep out here?” Shailee asked… “This is the million star hotel. Nothing like this anywhere else.”
Her idea was quickly trumped by some of the older guys reminding us we were in the middle of the mountains and that leopards trawl around at night, so no we couldn’t sleep outside, but we could look at the stars just a little longer and make noises that kept the goats up till very late at night.