A world untouched by a Global Pandemic
April 23, 2020
The Green Lion
By Johanna Pehrsson
Living at a monastery surrounded by monks is a very unique and surreal experience. During my first week here I had many moments when I stopped and thought about how surreal everything was. Just being surrounded by all these boys in red robes felt weird at first. The monks are all very friendly and kind. Most of them are always joking and laughing. After a few weeks here I’ve gotten to know some of the older monks on a deeper level. The younger monks are adorable and constantly seek the attention of us participants.
Teaching the young monks English was more difficult than I thought it would be, especially with the youngest children. They love to wrestle with each other and roll around on the floor, some even fight. It was a challenge just to make them sit still and keep quiet. Teaching some of the older children was more rewarding as a participant, I felt like I could actually teach them something valuable.
Life at the monastery is very relaxed. As participants, we only have classes before lunch so the afternoon is free to do whatever we want. The last week we have exams and now holiday has started, which means no classes and more spare time. At first, I was bored and found it difficult to find things to do to pass the time, but after a while, I got used to just relaxing, reading books and strolling around. I look forward to when classes begin again though.
Being here during the Covid-19 outbreak affects the experience in many ways. There’s always the underlying anxiety about being stuck at the monastery and here in Nepal for an unknown future and not being able to get a flight home. But I just try to live life day by day.
The whole of Nepal is under a lockdown that keeps getting extended. For us, at the monastery, it means that we’re completely isolated from the outer world. No one here is allowed to leave the monastery and no one from the outside is allowed to come in. Of course, it’s sad that we’re not allowed to go for walks outside the monastery. But at the same time, it makes us feel more safe and secure from the virus. It feels as if we’re in our own little bubble, isolated from the troubles in the rest of the world. There are definitely worse places to be stuck during the corona outbreak.