I’ve been back in the UK for three months and the time has allowed me to reflect a bit on my 3 years in Nepal.
I am very grateful to VSO for the opportunity to volunteer in Nepal. I had the most amazing time there. Undoubtedly, like countless of other VSO volunteers, I am not sure what impact I had at the Ministry of Education, especially in terms of uplifting girls education. However, working in the Foreign Coordination Section there, we did, despite the earthquake aftermath delays, implement a seven year School Sector Development Plan (SSDP), attempting innovations like performance-based donor remuneration.
VSO is about sharing skills, yet it was me who learnt far more. From cross cultural working with limited resources to riding a bicycle and attempting to speak Nepali.
The Social Enterprise extracurricular works were a constant source of joy and energy to me, reveling in the creativity and energy of the enterprising youth in Nepal.
Frequently asked why I liked Nepal, here are some quotes from my parents who kindly visited me in October 2016:
“Our daughter was a VSO volunteer for the last three years in Kathmandu and spending a month with her last October was a most delightful and interesting experience.
She took time off from her work to became our personal tour guide, having created a complete jam-packed itinerary prior to our arrival. From meeting her VSO colleagues and local friends to visiting temples and monasteries with overnight stays at resorts which involved driving on, at times, quite treacherous winding so-called roads to reach our destinations, only to be amazed at the sight of nature on arrival. The highlight and thrills of catching a glimpse of the snow-capped peaks of the magnificent Himalayan Mountains is a sight never to be forgotten.
The chaos of traffic and pollution in Kathmandu is overcome by the beauty around you and the beauty of its people. There is so much to see. A walk around Patan Durbar Square, my favorite square, is a way of capturing life in Kathmandu with its ancient temples, its chai kiosks, its traditions and religious rites.
I expected life in Nepal to be rather tough after its recent disastrous earthquake, but we were truly astonished to find the way the people of Nepal have pulled together to rebuild the damage created by the earthquake and are ever ready to welcome tourists.
We can now understand why our daughter was reluctant to return home. Nepal has something unique that makes you just love the country and its people.”
“We visited Kathmandu in Nepal last October. A very interesting city and the most populated in Nepal.
This city is the economic hub and has a thriving international community and is also popular amongst tourists for its rich culture and the unique architecture of the many temples and stupas erected in the valley.
Despite the 2015 earthquake we found the people so resilient and full of community spirit and this is demonstrated in the friendliness of the Nepalese who make you feel welcomed.”
I have also recently been asked by friends in the tourist industry, to submit a review of their beautiful country.
“I cannot recommend a visit to Nepal highly enough to all. Everyone I have known, who has visited, truly does fall in love with Nepal, both the place and the people The country seems to put some sort of magic spell on us all.
Nepal caters for the luxury and budget traveller. Scenery in abundance. There are mountains (8 out of the 10 of the world’s highest mountains belong to Nepal) and there are treks galore. Nepal is one of the richest countries in the world, in terms of biodiversity; birds, flowers and Tilicho Lake, the highest lake in the world.
In terms of culture, there is a vibrant arts and music scene in Kathmandu, such as the annual Photokathmandu, Jazzmandu and Himalayan Outdoor Festival.
Nepal is plentiful in UNESCO heritage sights, temples and religious festivals, practically every fortnight. It is also the only country to have a living goddess.
A great variety of sumptuous foods can be found, given that the over 80 ethnic groups and 123 Languages spoken in Nepal. Nepalis are some of the most generous, homely and accepting that I have encountered in SE Asia.”
I could not begin to list here, the wonderful friendships that I made and hope to keep forever. You know who you are, saathihos!!
Thank you for following me and your comments. Thank you VSO, my friends and especially my family for all their support.
Here’s to my next dream adventure in the country of my birth, placed with VSO, on a youth entrepreneurship project in Lindi, Southern Tanzania.
Please do continue to follow me, my blog name will soon change. Time and internet capabilities permitting, I hope to post more on my social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram & Twitter), I would welcome your friendships there too. Namaste.
As an adjunct, wholeheartedly agree with these https://www.vsointernational.org/news/blog/20-ways-volunteering-overseas-will-change-you