The Hanle Gonpa loomed into view, sitting atop the mountain overlooking the single road leading upto it. We were to spend the next six days here. Majestic and stately are the words to describe the Gonpa, that also looks upon the school, the students’ & teachers’ quarters.
Hanley Gonpa School is spacious and houses 20 students with a sooty kitchen. The facade with big glass windows, lends the structure a warm disposition. The students take this further and instantly endear one with their wide innocent smiles. Over the week, as we went about conducting the sessions, we realised that the students were deserving of better scope and attention than the remote settlement could offer them. Their disarming smiles and overall geniality concealed sharp brains and great discipline.
The response to the storytelling, language, art, craft and math modules was great. So was the enthusiasm for the movie screenings and the outdoor games. The school’s hostel is dimly lit and in much need of repair. It sadly doesn’t have a playground for the kids, who have to take their game of football to the wetland across the road. And boy, are they good!
Over the week, we plastered walls, whitewashed them, beautified them with children’s artwork and then arranged their library. All of this was with the help of an exceptional hardworking team.
On the last day we had a puppetry session through which we highlighted the importance of hygiene, especially in remote locations where it often takes a beating. We were pleasantly surprised the next morning, when the kids showed up with bright shining faces, clearly having practiced what was exhibited through a small skit of puppets the very day before. Our faith in the kids was reaffirmed and we were sad at having to bid them farewell. We shall be visiting them again next year, to nurture their sharp intellects, their compassionate hearts and support their desire to excel.