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Mani Kumar Rai
Mani Kumar Rai was appointed as a Classrooms in the Clouds Sponsored Teacher in April 2012. He had been working at the school already and his salary was being paid by the community as there was not enough Government support to cover his wages. Even so, Mani's salary was much lower than the Government paid teachers as it depended upon the money that the community could raise from their meagre incomes from farming. Mani is 25 years old and is married with a little boy. He lives with his parents and his wife and son in Bakhapalam and supports his extended family as best he can. He is an enthusiastic and well motivated teacher who prepares good lessons for his students and has recently completed his Bachelors Degree.
In November 2012 Mani wrote to the Chairman of CitC:
Chhimi Sherpa Teacher at Bakhapalam Lower Secondary School
Chhimi is the second eldest of her family. She is studying for a Degree in Education and her hometown is Chitre, Gudel VDC, Solukhumbu District.
She has a father, an older sister, Menda who is married and 2 younger sisters and 3 younger brothers. Their grandfather lives with them too. Chhimi’s mother died in childbirth when Chhimi was 16.
Because Menda, her oldest sister was married, the responsibility for looking after her younger brothers and sisters after her mother died, fell to Chhimi. Her father is a Sherpa and spends many weeks away from the family during the trekking season so there is a lot of work for Chhimi to do to help her family. She uses a lot of her income to support her brothers and sisters and help them to get an education. Her father is very supportive too and wants Chhimi to carry on with her studies. She has started her Bachelor of Education and studies hard in the evenings after school and during vacations.
Chhimi lives in the village of Chitre which is a day’s walk from Bakhapalam where she works as a teacher. Chitre is 2426m above sea level and lies in the foothills of Dharma Peak standing at 3446m. There are many Sherpa villages in the region. Now that Chhimi is teaching at Bakhapalam she lives away from home during the week but likes to return to her village as often as possible.
Like many people living in the Solukhumbu region, Chhimi is a Sherpa. Sherpa’s are a tribe of Tibetan origin who occupy the high valleys around the base of Mount Everest in northeastern Nepal. In the Tibetan language, Shar Pa means 'people who live in the east,' and over time this descriptive term has come to identify the Sherpa community. According to Sherpa tradition, the tribe migrated to Nepal from the Kham region of eastern Tibet over a thousand years ago.
The major festivals of the Sherpas are Losar, Dumje, and Mani Rimdu. The one week long “Dumji Puja” which falls in the December is celebrated with much feasting and drinking, dancing, and singing. A unique element in Sherpa folklore is the Yeti, better known in the West as the 'Abominable Snowman.'
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