For a time this spring, Maya and her friends at the orphanage outside Kathmandu enjoyed a break from classes. Ten of the older children at the home organized various activities for the younger kids. What began as mostly games evolved to also include regular math and reading while school was closed.
Life and school were disrupted by the pandemic, but everyone at the home adjusted to lockdown, and all the children and staff remained healthy. Living in isolation in a beautiful valley, the time in lockdown also allowed Maya some time for comfortable social interactions, and she is less withdrawn than she was in recent years. The kids have had lots of time for art projects, which Maya and her sisters really enjoy. The girls also like to roam the fields around the house and braid each other’s hair. Their latest fashion interest is how to make an outfit by tying scarves and saris in different arrangements.
Learning eventually resumed via Zoom classes, but as all families know, online learning is difficult. Onsite teachers at the home help supplement the learning. Also, older children who are alumni returned during their university closures and gave extra support by tutoring the younger children. Maya is one of only four children in Grade 7 at the home, so she is getting lots of individual attention and more practical learning, which seems to be helping her. She still has some struggles in math but all four of them have trouble in math, so they have an extra math class together. Maya also continues attending counseling sessions via video calls.
The biggest holidays of the year in Nepal, Dasain and Tihar, just happened in Oct/Nov, and Maya was very involved with the decorating. The older girls spent time instructing her, and Maya will be responsible for design and creation of the ritual mandalas next year. She is beginning to take her place as an older sister. The director at the home reports, “Maya is maturing into a lovely young girl who shows more and more confidence in herself.”