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News > Quondam Travel Scholarship > Travel Scholarship Winner 2017

Travel Scholarship Winner 2017

Jess Clayton is winner of 2017's Quondam Travel Scholarship

Jess Clayton, 2017's Travel Winner
Jess Clayton, 2017's Travel Winner
Jess Clayton won 2017's Quondam Travel Scholarship and has been travelling in Asia visiting countries such as Vietnam, Nepal and Cambodia. She came back to FHS to inspire our current students with tales of her adventures. In particular she highlighted her time in Nepal where she had volunteered with the charity 'Nepal in Need' teaching in local schools as she travelled around the country. Here is Jess's story:

I've just arrived back from a month teaching in three rural schools. I took a short flight east to a small airstrip called Tumlingtur where I met my guide Pemba who would be staying with me the whole time. He was about 5 ft but still offered to carry my very heavy bag.
After two days of walking we arrived at the first village, Yaphu, where I taught at the school for one week. The level of English was close to zero so it was tough- I did a lot of acting and prancing round the classroom embarrassing myself. It was worth it though as that's what engaged the children. What I did find disappointing however were the teachers. Around 8 teachers were absent and the teachers that did manage to turn up always seemed to be on a 'leisure period' sitting in the office on their phone. The kids in the meantime would either be waiting in their classrooms or running wild in the playground. It was beneficial for me though as there were many classes available and lots of children eager to learn. I spent around 45mins with one class and then move on to the next. When I was teaching other students would peer through the windows and climb the walls to look over the top. On my final day they arranged a farewell program and all the teachers did a speech, covered my face in red powder and placed a flower garland around my neck. The school was so appreciative and I felt very guilty I couldn't stay for longer.

Another two days of walking brought us to Gontala, a very small village of 12 houses where my guide lived. I got to know the community very quickly- I couldn't help wander around without being invited in for tea and potatoes by a local. There were only three kids at the village school. Older children had to walk an hour to the next village. I spent around 3 hours a day with the children learning to write the alphabet as well as some painting and lots of games. In my spare time I helped my guide on his land, cutting rice and picking potatoes. Minus the freezing bucket showers, the grim salt tea and the constant sound of chickens I think I'ld manage pretty well in a Sherpa village. However after 12 days we moved on to the final village Tamku.

Tamku was a much larger village with electricity and a school of nearly 500 students. I found teaching here the most challenging with some class sizes of 40. I was only here for three days as sadly the general election caused the school to close, cutting my stay short.
I took hundreds of photos and will be using them to update the charity website and social media when I'm back.
My trip was an experience I won't ever forget - I've already decided to come back here in the future.The charity I volunteered for (Nepal in Need) help to support the three villages with health services and educational resources. However it is very clear from visiting that much more needs to be done and really the only way that's possible is with money. Perhaps the help fund could organise a cake sale or event in aid of Nepal in Need.
 

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