Trains, rickshaws, temples and Mithila art were all experiences grabbed at the beginning or end of each day, but the real reason I was in Janakpur was work-related. The Embassy does a roadshow each year, visiting a different part of the country each time to engage with schools, share books with the kids, and share American culture and movies with them. Its a busy couple of weeks for everyone involved. I was just there for a few days at the end of the trip.
The best part of the experience was meeting the kids, and answering their many questions about America and American life. Here are a few scenes from the week:
Early on…before the crowds descend
Books for the kids to view. They are later donated to schools, but they’re available for kids to look over as many of them don’t have access to libraries or there are very limited books in the schools.
Two boys engrossed…sharing a book and a chair
Sharing eco-friendly cooking techniques with the kids. Many eco-friendly cookers were old-school techniques – like cooking with dung. Some of these were still alive and well in Janakpur already….
The kids loved the book bus with its mobile library, solar panels on the room and mobile theater
One of the best scenes for me was seeing kids engrossed in books. It made a pleasant change from all eyes on an ipad.
I talked myself hoarse answering all the questions. I’d answer three, then look up and I’d have 20 kids circling around me.