Getting to This Point

Quick recap of this week has been more workshops and more working on the exhibition pieces. The exhibition has been postponed a week to July 23rd! My main focus of this week has been how did we and when did we get here. How did the time fly by so quickly? What did I learn and am taking away? What impact did I have, if any? Did I really just spend my whole summer in Nepal? And the answer to all of this was time flew by quickly in Nepal because I have been busy, busy, busy. It’s been a pretty productive summer, and mostly I know I am having some impact on the children I’m working with.

Over the weeks, my class at MAITI has warmed up to me and my volunteer by feeling more comfortable. This is representative in them now being able to proudly show off their art work to the class and even performing dances they know for each other. This is in comparison to a teacher at my other workshop that specifically told the students that there is only one way to do something correctly, which set back my instruction of freely doing whatever they want on a page, but is very symbolic of the rote learning instilled in the Nepali teaching structure. This idea of one right way has been a constant issue in my workshops, for the students always ask is this right or is this wrong. However, overtime the students have started to move away from that mind set and are starting to allow themselves to see things in a different light. This is very important to CAM’s goals of allowing kids to explore their boundaries, and something I learned that I wanted more kids to be able to do.

This is a mindset that I have taken advantage of my entire life, the simple fact that there are many ways to do something. Except here it is not that simple, and it’s something the students typically have to learn on their own that there’s more than one way to be “smart” or do something right. What I learned growing up was that math and science was the only subjects with a clear right answer, but here what the teacher says is the only right answer. So regardless of all the days here, the impact I am having is only starting to show some result and sadly there’s only one workshop left.

What I hope is that these kids will be able to keep expanding their horizons and don’t get trapped in this mold set forth by the education system set forth here. It really true, that only so much can and cannot occur at the same time. How we got here was that we just tried to let the kids have a good time creating something with materials they generally do not have access too, and the results are 7 workshops and plenty of student artwork representative of them trying something new. 

May Chou