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Authors: Carol Holden

Tags: #Fiction, #General

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BOOK: Splintered Lives
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When they looked around the bar for some of their tutor group, they could only see a few of them.
John joined them later and he told them that two of the group had left their classes on their teaching practice because they found that teaching was not for them.
They had fled the college in which they were teaching, and after phoning the Teachers’ Training personnel department, they had gone back to their own homes, with the hopeful intention of getting their jobs back.
David joined them later and he had been very impressed by the students he was teaching.
He thought he would love the job, and this confirmed Sarah’s first impression that he would become an excellent teacher and mentor.
They met up with some others from their group and set up a kitty because none of them were so financially sound that they could buy drinks for the entire group.
Bottles of red wine were purchased at the bar, and the friends settled down to listen to the band and let themselves relax and enjoy their much-appreciated break.
The band was not too loud, and some of the folk pieces they played were soft and mellow with lovely caring words.
Sarah began to feel dreamy and at last ready to enjoy her stay at the training college.
Ann was also now relaxed, the frown from her arduous week of teaching had faded from her serene face, and her laughter rang out with the rest of them.





After their teaching practice they were soon into the swing again within the college. They had a time given for sport or recreation on the Wednesday afternoons, and Ann and Sarah learnt to play golf on a nearby golf course. The golf club was in a lovely area in the outskirts of the city.
The autumn colours had darkened to deep reds and oranges and the scents from the surrounding bracken were pungent with the late woodland fruits. They were taught how to hold the clubs and the way to swing them to hit the ball.
They were not that keen on the game and at times held up the proper golfers, who were not too pleased with them.
They attended social affairs and had a wonderful Christmas party when just their group, now down to eleven, had a night out on the nearby town and had to be brought back in taxis to their hall.


They all left for the Christmas holiday and had three weeks before returning to college.
They had more lectures in the New Year and then they were out again for another six weeks on teaching practice.
Sarah was sent down south to a college in a small town south east of
where the
had an annex where Law was taught.
She was given classes, where first year students were taught, and she found that these young people showed all the enthusiasm and motivation she had felt when she was their age.
She wanted to help them to understand the pitfalls without spoiling their outlook and she worked hard each evening by carefully preparing her notes so that they would incorporate the ideology of care of the client.
When the class tutor sat in to assess Sarah’s lessons he looked surprised and unimpressed.
She fought to keep her mind on the lesson but began to hesitate because of the atmosphere he was bringing into the room.


At the end of the lesson he asked her to accompany him to his office, telling her that the way she was leaning her lessons towards altruism was not the way to teach law.
Sarah wondered if she had been too keen on her own ideas and then she remembered the cases she had been involved with in her capacity as a solicitor.
She hated to have to charge the poor old lady who had a real grievance but could not afford to take it far enough so that she could get some satisfaction.
She remembered the way she had to invoice the amounts charging over one hundred pounds an hour for her services and the great amounts charged for a letter or a telephone call.
These things were wrong and there should be more help for the powerless.
She told the lecturer her thoughts and he was not impressed.
He said he would have to send Sarah back to the training college, as this was no way he wanted his students taught.


She was returned forthwith and she was brought in front of the principal, who reassured her that she was not the first to be thought too liberal in their teaching and that he would find a place where the staff had similar views to her.
Sarah felt a failure and she was alone on the campus because all groups were out on teaching practice.
The silence around the college was intimidating and Sarah’s self esteem was at its all time low.
She moped about in her room for two days without any communication from the head.
When he eventually sent for her he told her that there were no places at that late date.
She did not know what to do and wondered if the idea of teaching had been a mistake.


Ann was away somewhere in
, John was in
and David had been sent to
. Sarah really felt cut off. She didn’t want to tell her family about her failure and when she rang them she put on her most happy voice.
She hung around the principal’s office, hoping that he would have some news for her.
He came to the common room where she was trying to work on the education notes.
He beamed at her with enthusiasm and told her he had found a place in a secondary school for children with learning difficulties and perhaps that would be more to her liking.
She didn’t know what to think.
How could she teach these children?
She didn’t have the skills; she hadn’t had any contact with them.


When Sarah arrived at the designated school, she found that most of the children were Asian, and because their parents spoke very little English, they needed a lot of help at school.
Many were not needy because they had learning difficulties but because there were no English books in their homes, and although their parents valued education highly, they were unable to help them in their present situation.


Sarah loved the school and the children.
The teachers were brilliant and caring and the children responded to them.
Sarah was helped enormously by the head of department and she soon understood the level at which she should be teaching. She was sorry to leave and go back to college but the experience had given her confidence and ideas of what she may want to do in the future.


When the course was finished they had a leaving party where the four friends of them made a pact to meet up at least once a year. They knew that they would be scattered but they decided that they would meet in the school holidays every year, and perhaps arrange other meetings, if possible. It is true when you go to college you make friends for life because of the bonds made initially are from loneliness.
They had supported each other, and had a lot of fun but it was now time to say goodbye.


Sarah went home to her family and began to search for a position.
She decided that she would love to become part of the Volunteer Service Overseas. She had some savings left from her previous job so it was not imperative that she would have to find a job that paid a lot.
She had always fancied a trip to
so she volunteered for a teaching job in Pokara, one day’s road journey from






Chapter 1








Sarah arrived in
in the early morning, after a long air journey with many changes of planes.
Julian, another British citizen, who had been running the VSO office for many years, met her at the airport.
He made her feel welcome as he shook her hand and she found a handsome friend at once.
He was in his middle forties and with his tanned face and greying hair he flashed her a smile that put her at ease immediately.
She got into his car while he stored the luggage in the boot, and off they went to the centre, where she met other volunteers.
He pointed out the landmarks of Kathmandu as they travelled to the house where he said Sarah would stay until she was rested, before placing her where she could be of most use.


She was a little disappointed in
, because it was a larger town than she had imagined, it is full of smog and pollution, as it is situated in a bowl between the mountains.
The people on the streets were wearing masks around their mouths because of the pollution.
She rested overnight and in the morning she was taken by road to Pokhara, on a wondrous drive through a valley between mountains and along a road that follows the river. The scenery was beautiful with little villages on their way.
They stopped for a drink and some lunch at a wayside place; Sarah followed Joe around the back where there were benches overlooking the river and they saw people in a dinghy, white water sailing.
The sound of the rushing water as the river was in full flow, and the dinghy was tossed from side to side, made it seem dangerous.
Because of the scents rising from the vegetation and the freshness of the water rushing down the river, Sarah could almost taste the place.
There were narrow bridges over the river with rope sides and just enough room on the bottom to place your feet. The air was clear and they saw a large eagle soaring overhead and the sound of birdsong from the many trees.
They, the driver and Sarah, saw Nepalese women with great loads on their backs crossing these bridges, usually with a band of chattering children, hanging on to their mothers’ skirts.
This was when she realised how hard their lives were; “they do not have motorized transport as we in the West have, and they have to carry everything they need to live, on their backs,” thought Sarah.
She saw women with great water carriers on their backs but fastened around their foreheads with straps.
As they approached Pokhara they could see the white topped mountains and the great fishtail one called Machhapuchhre and
to one side.
Sarah was to work halfway up that mountain in a school for young Nepalese children.


She was taken to a small village well up in the foothills of
in the four-wheel drive and deposited in a small dwelling that had been allocated to her by the VSO.
She was taken aback by the welcome she was given; there were vivid coloured wild flowers in a clay pot that gave off a fragile scent of honeysuckle outside the door.
With the help of her driver, they unpacked her few goods from the car and entered the little cottage.
The place was very small, just a living area and basic kitchen fitted with kettle, pan and primary stove.
She had been told to bring paraffin so that she could make hot drinks.
There was a fireplace and some logs, as she understood that it could get very cold at night.
Around the corner in an alcove there was a single bed and a small window that overlooked the valley below and the lake in the middle of which there was the Fishtail Lodge, a hotel where tourists stayed.
Although her home for the next two years was small and basic, she was determined that in her free time she would get rugs and cushions and make it into a real home. She also noticed a small strip of land at the back of the building where she may be able to make a little garden.


Joe had stopped in Pokhara where Sarah had bought essentials like milk and bread and Joe, showed her how to light the stove.
They had a hot drink and Sarah made a sandwich for each for them and then he had to sleep in the van in order to help her settle in before returning to
She unpacked her small bundle of possessions, and made up the bed ready for a good night’s sleep.
She had to sort out her few things the following morning, but now she was in need of rest.

BOOK: Splintered Lives
12.24Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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