Teachers return from earthquake mercy mission in Nepal
Noosa District State High School teachers Bridge Muir and Brad Huggins joined Sunshine Coast teacher Fiona Noonan and Bundaberg teachers Rachel Ann and Sonia Marshman in a volunteer effort to assist an earthquake damaged Nepalese school Shree Panch Pokhari Primary over the Easter school holidays.
The NDSHS community followed the impact of last year's Nepalese earthquakes very closely as former NDSHS LOTE and humanities teacher Kate Miles was living and working in Kathmandu at the time of the magnitude 7.8 quake.
Nepalese students studying at the University of the Sunshine Coast visited NDSHS shortly after the earthquake in May last year, and addressed a full school parade, speaking about their families' plights and appealed to the students' for empathy and support.
The NDSHS community rallied behind the Nepalese with free dress days and pancake stalls set up to raise funds for the Shree Panch Pokhari Primary School Rebuild Project; a school-based community knitting group was established to create beanies and scarves for the Nepalese; and staff, students and parents provided donations of school resources and toys for Nepal.
The Shree Panch Pokhari Primary School Rebuild Project was coordinated by former NDSHS teacher Kate Miles, who made contact with NDSHS for assistance with her volunteer project.
Teachers Bridge Muir and Brad Huggins met up with Kate Miles in Nepal over the Easter holidays and spent three days at Shree Panch Pokhari Primary School assisting with the delivery and implementation of donated resources, teacher training, English tuition and building a new classroom for the damaged school.
Shree Panch Pokhari Primary School staff and students were most appreciative of the donated school resources as well as interacting with the Australian teachers, learning about Australian animals, songs, dances and playing with Lego and play dough for the first time.
Australian Easter traditions were celebrated and explained, with the Nepalese primary school students putting on an Easter hat parade and undertaking an Easter egg hunt.
Chocolate Easter eggs, Tim Tams and ANZAC biscuits were favoured over Vegemite, which proved not so popular with Nepalese taste buds.
The Easter school holiday volunteer project was a part of a trek run by Kate Miles' expedition company, Down to Earth Adventure, which included a hike through the Himalayas.
"Seeing Everest for the first time was the most incredible experience. Words and photographs cannot capture the sense of awe you obtain seeing it in person," Bridge Muir said.
NDSHS manual arts teacher Brad Huggins was surprised how moved he was by the whole experience, especially the kindness, gentleness and beautiful hearts of the Nepalese people.
"It is a place I will visit again. It is the people who make Nepal so special," Mr Huggins said.