KOHIMA Educational Society update
By Sylvia May

Sylvia May with Dr Kuokehebi Gwirie

My husband Rob and I made our ninth visit to Kohima in March of this year. Our principal objective was to accompany our film-maker David Percy and his wife Frances Pinter, who was acting as his camera assistant. It was a hectic and exhilarating ten days, involving interviews with Nagas old and young, travel to Phek, where we saw Ray Jackson's basketball field in action, shots of war memorials and the cemetery, and filming the 2012 scholarship awards, which happened to be taking place while we were there.
Another part of our programme was to assist Pfelie Kesiezie, KES Chairman and Charles Chasie, KES President to interview applicants for the new post of executive manager of KES, the work involved in executing our many projects having become too much to ask of the voluntary KES Trustees.

M Solo
Mhasisalie Solo Exec Manager, KES

Out of a short list of five, we decided to appoint Mhasisalie Solo, a thirty-two-year-old Naga who has been working in Bangalore in the Tata organization and was seeking a post in Kohima. Salie impressed us with his ambition for KES and his ideas about extending contacts with schools.  Salie is a qualified accountant.
We had a glimpse of what is involved in KES administration when we helped with the scholarship ceremony. While KET is mainly concerned with planning and fundraising and keeping contact with our supporters, KES is at the sharp end which requires not only close attention to detail but strict financial control. I spent six hours with Bendang Ao, KES office manager, who organised the ceremony, making sure that the scholars attending corresponded to the KET records.
We reviewed many other ongoing projects, notably our hostel at Pangsha, 100 miles east of Kohima on the border with Merema (Burma). This project – the most important we have undertaken is most complete, but is behind schedule and over budget, principally because of the cost of conveying building materials from Dimapur.

It takes two days to get to Pangsha from Kohima over unpaved roads which start rough and progressively deteriorate. (see Pangsha article) Pangsha is not only the biggest thing we have undertaken, but the closest to the most basic need of education – enabling children to go to school.

Nagaland always produces surprises, no matter how often one visits. This time one occurred in Jotsoma, a village near Kohima where a group of leading villagers, headed by a 92-year-old bemedalled veteran, revealed a plan to erect a memorial to Major General John L Grover, who commanded our troops at Kohima in 1944, and who had his headquarters near Jotsoma. The Nagas remember. Gratitude is a two-way street.

Editorial note: Like all KET Trustees, Sylvia May and her husband have made their nine visits to Kohima at their own expense.