The addition of teaching Chinese as a foreign language among the services provided by BertaGrama Traducciones brought us memories of the book A teacher in Kathmandu, the unfinished story of Victoria Subirana, which takes off with the narrative of a young Spanish teacher embarking on a mission of solidarity and peaks with the consolidation of a universal educational project for the most underprivileged and marginalised children of Nepal, to whom she has granted the kind of teaching that anyone would desire for their sons and daughters.
Where is Kathmandu?
Kathmandu is the capital of Nepal, a country squeezed between the Tibetan plateau and the plains of the subcontinent – the modern-day giants of China and India – Nepal has long prospered from its location as a resting place for traders, travellers and pilgrims. The history of Kathmandu is really a history of the Newar people, the main inhabitants of the Kathmandu Valley. While the documented history of the valley goes back to the Kiratis, around the 7th century BC, the foundation of Kathmandu itself dates from the 12th century AD, during the time of the Malla dynasty. The original settlements, in what is the southern half of the old town, grew up around the trade route to Tibet and in early pilgrim resthouses such as the Kasthamandap, which later lent its name to the city.
Regarding religion, Buddhism in Nepal dates from the birth of Siddharta Gautama himself. Legend has it that many bodhisattvas and previous Buddhas also visited the land. Monuments to these Buddhas can still be seen, and increasingly more tourists are visiting Nepal for its good vibes and pure energy.
As mentioned above, A teacher in Kathmandu filled us with joy and enthusiasm in our new project of teaching Chinese as a foreign language, since we share the same life philosophy as Victoria Subirana. Her story helped us overcome all difficulties with determination and strength, that is why we would like to share her work with you. You can purchase her book here as well as have a look at the beginning. Even if you do not work in the teaching field, this book will feed any curious mind!
For those moviegoers, a film was made after A teacher in Kathmandu was released. Its name is Kathmandu Lullaby and you can watch the trailer here. It is about a young teacher, who leaves a troubled past in Barcelona and moves to Kathmandu to work at a local school, she is appalled by the extreme privation and a bleak educational landscape that excludes those most in need. Marrying in order to stay in the country, she embarks on an ambitious educational project in the poverty-stricken Kathmandu slums. It quickly becomes apparent that she cannot do it alone, but Laia also discovers a beautiful gift she did not expect: love with the stranger she has married. Torn between this love and her commitment to the children she is determined to help, and accompanied by her young friend and teacher Sharmila, Laia begins a new project that will inevitably alienate her husband, but that will forever unite her with Sharmila, as she travels on a personal journey into the very depths of Nepalese society and of herself.
Have you ever been to Nepal? We would love to know about your experiences. Looking forward to hearing from you!