By Katherine Han
Last summer, I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Kathmandu, Nepal to help repaint the Shree Mahendra Gram Secondary School. While I was there, I learned a lot more than just painting skills. From the outside, the Shree Mahendra Gram Secondary School looked almost like one of those historical buildings that has been long abandoned. The old paint was faded and peeling. When our volunteer group walked through the doors of the school, they welcomed us warmly by showering us with fresh flowers, making me feel like a celebrity. The students were so grateful and so excited that we were there to help. We had the chance to also visit their classrooms. They had minimal materials, and the space wasn’t too big either. However, every face in that room was smiling and bright. When we started to actually paint, many of the kids were eager to slap on gloves and help us too. This just goes to show how much this school means to them. Even just a simple coat of paint made them infinitely more happy.
This made me think back to my own school. In the past three years, my school has gotten two new fresh layers of paint, redone the turf three times, changed the gym floors annually, and even put in ping-pong tables and lounge chairs. This made me realize that we are not appreciative enough of what we already have. We are able to get a good education, and we go to school in a nice community. The roads that take you to the Shree Mahendra Gram Secondary School in Nepal are so rocky and uneven, that several people almost threw up in the bus on the ride there. We have the great privilege of growing up and never having to worry about getting an education. In contrast, simply getting to school in Nepal was already a struggle.
Going to school has become a normality for us, and we tend to take it for granted. We often forget that many people don’t have the opportunity to even consider going to school. The students in Nepal have very little, but they are very appreciative of the little that they do have. So, the next time you say that you hate school, or that you would rather stay home than go to school, rethink your words and remember to be appreciative of the great opportunities that you have.