project review

Llio tells us about her Nepal experience

Review submitted by Llio
Review date 15 May 2018

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The first week in Kathmandu was very interesting for me. We were taken to see famous sights such as the Monkey Temple, Bouddhanath and Pashupatinath. We also had a week's training in the Nepali language, and I found this very interesting and most useful! I had enough spare time to go shopping and visit more sights like Durbar Square. It was lovely to have this introduction week as I made great new friends, and was able to settle in well without too much of a culture shock! It also enabled you to think about the time you will be in Nepal, and consider which programs you would like to take part in. I decided to go to Chitwan for a week, to volunteer and go on the Jungle Safari. The host family was lovely, and very interested in what you were planning to do. They provided for us excellently, and were always friendly and ready to answer any questions. I enjoyed Chitwan very much, as there was a large group of volunteers there at the same time, so we had an amazing time! The children in the school were a little out of control, but I didn't expect any less! We had fun playing games with them and teaching them some basic English. Some students were more advanced than others, so with the older ones, we were able to give more complex lessons, and help them with the subjects they were learning at the government school. The jungle safari wasn't quite what I expected, but I enjoyed it all the same. The best parts were the elephant ride, seeing wild rhinos, and the elephant bathing! I would recommend the safari to future volunteers.

After leaving Chitwan, I went on a 12 day trek to Everest Base Camp, and I loved every minute of it! The guide was great, and had a lot of experience, and the trek wasn't as challenging as I thought it would have been (we walked for around 5-6 hours a day). Some parts, obviously, were more difficult than others, but on the whole it was a great experience, apart from the altitude sickness I suffered from right at the top! The scenery was amazing, and arriving at Base Camp made me feel like I'd achieved so much.

Smiling Nepalese orphan girlWhen I returned to Kathmandu, I went to a small monastery situated in Bouddha, around half an hour walk from Bouddhanath. It had only been built three years ago, and there were around 40 monks, most of them ranging from 6-19 years old, and there were 4 lamas who took care of them. I was responsible for preparing the lessons and teaching the young monks from 8am - 11:30am. They were already in 3 different age groups, and I really enjoyed the teaching them, as they were all so friendly and happy! I had been a little worried about teaching, but the monks were so nice, and I instantly felt at home there. During the day, I had a lot of free time, so I usually spent it preparing for the next day's lessons, or watching them learn Tibetan. On the days that they held a puja, I sat in the main hall and watched them performing the religious ceremony. Pujas were held quite often, and this could disturb the lessons as there were different students missing on different days, so it was hard to have continuity, but except for that, I didn't have any problems. The monks tried so hard to make me feel at home, and they were always friendly and warm- I really didn't want to leave, and almost cried in the taxi as they all crowded around the gates to wave me goodbye! I know I will go back there someday, I enjoyed every minute!

On the whole, I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience in Nepal. I felt like I have made the most of it, and have made excellent new friends. I will certainly never forget my time here, it's been wonderful! The immediate culture shock is helped a lot by the introduction week, and having other volunteers close-by, and by the end of the experience, I have felt well and truly at home in this country. I know that one day, I'll make a return visit!

Llio