What’s it like to be a kid?
I interviewed a nine year-old girl named Arju. She attends a private English school and speaks excellent English.
What is your house like?
Arju lives in a typical Nepali house with a kitchen, bathroom, small living room and two bedrooms that her whole family shares.
What do you eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
Arju eats dahl baht (rice and lentils/beans) twice a day. She loves to eat mangoes. Her favorite month is June because that is when it is mango season.
What chores do you have at home?
Arju has many chores at home. She has to clean her room, sweep the floors of the house, do the dishes, and every Saturday she helps with laundry. She dislikes laundry because she has to do it by hand and it takes a long time. But, she loves helping her mother cook dinner.
What jobs do your parents have?
Her mother is a stay-at-home mom. She takes care of the cooking, cleaning and raising the children. Her father owns a small shop that sells snacks, shampoos, lotions and small knick-knacks. From my experience in Nepal she comes from a typical Nepali family. Most people here, in tourist areas, find it easier to own their own shops that work for someone else.
What time does school start, and what time do you go home?
School starts at 9:00am and ends at 5:00pm.
How do you get to school? Are you allowed to go to school by yourself?
Arju has to walk to school with her friends. She is lucky because she told me she lives close to her school so it is only a fifteen-minute walk. Other children walk as long as two hours to get to school. That is a long way to walk, don’t you think?
What language do you speak at school? How do you say “Hello”? in your language?
Since Arju attends an English school, she mostly speaks English. At home she speaks Nepali. Hello in Nepali is, “Namaste.” In Nepal you use this word to say “hello” and “goodbye.” The word namaste means: I honor the place within you where the entire Universe resides. This saying has a really deep meaning.
In the U.S., there are superheroes and movie stars that people love. In Nepal they love their Hindu gods. So, people name their children after Hindu gods. Common names at Arju’s school are: Bishnu, Puga, and Supriya. This may be very different from the common names of your friends.
What subjects do you study in school, and which one is your favorite?
Arju studies the same subjects you study in school: math, English, science, and history. Her favorite class is English. She loves being able to communicate with foreigners who do not speak Nepali.
What is your homework like?
Arju told me she has English and math homework every night but she does not mind it.
What do you like to do after school? Do you have a favorite sport or game?
After school Arju does her homework and her chores. Then if she has time before dinner she likes to play soccer with her friends. In Nepal, soccer is called football.
What kinds of music do you listen to?
Arju likes to listen to traditional Nepali songs. Her favorite Nepali song is Resham Firiri. Interestingly, this was the first Nepali song I learned. It is a song about love.
When she grows up she would like to be a doctor so that she can help people.
What do you know or think about the United States?
She would like to visit the United States. She has heard a lot about the U.S. and she has an aunt who lives near New York City. Arju is learning English so that one day she can travel to the USA.
What questions do you have for kids in the United States?
She would like to know what you think about Nepal so far? She loves Nepal and thinks everyone should visit.