And on the seventh day, they showered

Styled by yours truly

Sunday is the one day of the week that all the boarding school kids are forced to bathe. The school is also scrubbed down. And usually, it means an afternoon of hairstyling. (And checking for lice. Yes, the kids have it. Pray I don’t.)

The kids have tried to do my short hair up all fancy, but it never works. But they sure are fun to mess with.

Above is Yogita, one of the more engaged first-years who is also a good sport whenever I play with her bowl-cut.

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Eat your greens

Kids help with the cooking

The kids frequently help with preparing dinner. I frequently take pictures of them as they help prepare dinner. It also gives me opportunities to tell small children to eat their vegetables. And then I get to lead by example. (This might surprise some people, but I’ve learned to love the vegetable over here.)

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A walk in the woods

A stroll after the rain

Colleagues Lopen and G.S. walk home after we paid a visit to a wedding farther down our valley. It had been raining most of the afternoon, but the clouds cleared and the sun broke through the trees.

A fine evening.

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Flutter by

I rescued it from certain death in the hands of small children

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Samosa factory

Mmmmmmmm... table samosas

As a special meal, the kids and staff put together hundreds of samosas. Oh my I’m hungry just typing this.

Another important purpose for newspapers

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The kids put on a good show

The students put on a show with elaborate costumes and rehearsed dances for their parents, teachers and local residents of our valley.

It was an absolutely fantastic day. If possible, I was even proud.

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Tea time with Subadra

Kaise ho?

The youngest of the students at school and (though I’m not supposed to admit it) probably the cutest. Meet Subadra, a giggly but quiet four-year-old.

She didn’t speak to me until four weeks in, when I helped her say the words egg, nest and nose during an afternoon of English homework. She loved to play peek-a-boo and and hide-and-seek, but she almost always would never speak.

I also tried to teach her the appropriate response to “Kaise ho?” or “How are you?” But she usually just ran away giggling. Unless I pinned her down and forced a “Mai tik hun” (“I am OK.”) out of her, one word at a time.

Absolutely darling.

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Rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, go away.

Everything is wet

While much of India is scorchingly dry (and I’m not particularly looking forward to returning to that), Sikkim is cold and wet. Water puddles everywhere and even when it’s not raining, things never really dry.

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Carve me a sword

Master carver

Lopen, the school’s resident monk and artisan, carves swords for a cultural performance. From an old bed plank, I believe.

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Pooja for peace in the valley


A day of prayer and worship, a procession of holy books marched through the Bhuriakop valley with burnt offerings, bows of respect and blessings. For peace and harmony in the valley.

We hiked with the books to the market, then a kilometer up hill to the area gompa for pooja.

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