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  • Writer's pictureVoita

Operation Thosey High

"Our ministry releases new textbooks every year. It's a great business."

Jagat, a local friend of mine, has also confirmed that indeed success in studying is not defined by material understood, but by material memorized. I mean ... you literally memorize the exercises and everything. Economy. Law. Physics (that one might work?). Remember when I mentioned Nepal has the worst schooling system in the world?

Obviously, this comes from memorizing mantras and holy books - pretty much like it used to be in Europe back in the day when knowledge was held by bards and druids, who'd memorize tales into which it was encoded.

I set off in search of used books to send to Thosey. Not textbooks, but fiction and classics. Whatever I could find at a low price, really. That was part of the deal I made with Shiva.

And I succeeded. In one tucked-away alley I found a little store selling books for pennies... or at least I thought so. Turned out they were a tad more expensive, but since I already had my pile selected I figured what the heck.

$60 worth of books

Next step, clearly, was to get the sack to Thosey; another friend of Shiva's is visiting Kathmandu and we agreed he'd take the books. But I mentioned the scheme to Jagat, the friend of mine living in KTM and helping me out with various things, and he volunteered few more books.

my sack

Days passed until I got the chance to see Jagat's stash. In my mind I was adding half a dozen or so textbooks to my pile... only to be presented with 3 sacks of material. A decade old textbooks that are largely identical to the current ones, but someone would have to take the time to see which miniscule differences have been made. Otherwise a kid might memorize 3 apples instead of 3 pears and fail a maths exam. Reminds of gipsy parents my mom worked with. 'Our kid won't go to school, we won't have it smarter than we are!' Nepal is now one step further as the parents are sending their children to school.

one of Jagat's sacks

Late at night we went to pick up my sack to add it to Jagat's sacks (of books). Shiva needs to come and have a look at what might still be of use. My logic says old textbook = good for practice, but this is Nepal. I am a mere observer and a bridge bulider. Decisions are for the locals to make. At least I now better understand why Rakesh (the English teacher in Thosey) is unable to step over the shadow of his own education. And I got a new fun memory into my collection: a night bike ride through Kathmandu with a heavy sack full of books.

book peddler's dinner...

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