19 August (Sat): Yonphula writing workshop

Today I led a workshop on academic writing and research for the Yonphula students. The workshop preparations see-sawed around: it was going to be at Yonphula; no, it would be at Sherubtse. I kept running around trying to figure out how to make things work in the different locations. Where could I find a room that wasn’t totally alienating to teach in at Sherubtse, but would still allow access to JSTOR? How would we find internet for students up at Yonphula?

In the end, we stayed up at Yonphula—and we never got past the academic writing side of things. Thinley arranged for a tea-break that included fried rice midmorning. The students came back to the classroom to chase me out for break. “We are waiting for you, madam!” I was busy trying to adapt my teaching to what I was learning they could do—and I had no idea what a big deal the tea break was going to be.

In the afternoon, down at Sherubtse, there were sustainability poster presentations to check out, organized by the indefatigable Tshoki. First-year students, grouped by their programs (English and Media Studies, Mathematics, Environmental Science, History, etc.) had 36 hours to come up with posters about improving sustainability on campus. Tshoki asked Zoë to come and help her organize things; James and Jeremy went around as audience members, and I trailed after them once I had had a little lunch. Jeremy came around with me a second time, mostly to chat with the students he had met on a first go round.

The winners were the Math program, who had made the computer fan and mouse trap out of recycled materials. Environmental Sciences came in third with their rainwater harvesting scheme.

On the way back to the guesthouse, we saw two men with nets (Sherubtse zoologists), one holding a dragonfly. The dragonfly had been caught in a spider’s net and couldn’t open its wing. “In a few weeks it will have fed enough to be able to fly,” the zoologist explained. I wanted to trail after them to a nearby pond, but Jeremy need to go home.

Then I was off to the upper market for shopping. Produce tends to arrive Saturday morning, so Saturday afternoon is prime shopping time.

Dogs slept in the middle of the national highway, and the light was quite magical on the mountains, producing rainbows by the time I turned for home.

Under a built “canopy” there’s a game board (I think it’s rented out by a nearby shop) where men and boys play a game that strikes me as half-way between skittles and pool. “Is it ok to take a photo?” I ask. “Yes, madam!” “Do you want to be in the photo or out?” “In, madam, in!”

A view up the side of our “house” at evening. People do grow food right up to the door here.