My name is Monica, I am 25 years old and I am one of the six volunteers taking part of the EVS program in the small town of Nishanke, located in the region of Okhaldunga, a remote area of Nepal. My volunteering is going to last for five months, I am in the Children’s Development Project and today is officially the day number 100 of this adventure. Tomorrow we leave again to the village, we just finished our holiday period and we go back to carry out the second part of the project. I am writing already a blog in Spanish, describing in detail my experience here and sharing more thoughts and other feelings, so I will dedicate this post to explain for following volunteers how does it look like (in my opinion) all this volunteering in Nepal thing. And I will try to summarize how I lived everything, because when I got the new that I was chosen to take part of the volunteering all the doubts started to come up to me, so hopefully I can answer some of those here.
Before leaving Spain, all the information I had about the volunteering was what the girls from Cazalla told me. So we, Puri and me, took the flight that the organisation arranged and booked for us the 31 of august and luckily everything went as expected and we arrived to Kathmandu in time. Akkal, the driver from the association, picked us up and brought us to the hotel where we were going to meet the people from VIN. The first week of arrival is dedicated to the training about our project, some cultural tips, Nepalese lessons and acclimatising to such a new change. In our case it lasted longer because the girls from the Hungarian team took longer to come, so finally after 10 days we left to Okhaldunga. The way is around 10 hours by jeep through all the types of roads, most of them bumpy roads, to arrive to the small Nishanke. Always good arranged by VIN, and we travelled with our coordinator who started answering questions during the trip so we arrived safely and were distributed by families. Every couple of every project lives together, so me and my college were located in Sabitra’s house in the main village, same building with VIN office. In this house we don’t have shower, so we go to the fountain 15 minutes away to bring drinking water, or take shower or wash our clothes. Actually is probably one of the most social points of the village, and I learned to love to go to this fountain with strong amount of fluent fresh and clean water flowing to do all I need to. For the rest, the facilities are covered quite well. The toilet is in the back side of the house, we got a small room for both of us with two beds and some shelves to leave our things and surprisingly the house has electricity. As we arrived still in monsoon season the light-cuts happened quite often, and we had to live with lamps for some hours because of electric storms and so but it was generally always enough to charge devices every time needed.
Our project took some time to start to work. We were asked to work with Children’s Clubs of the schools, but the concept itself of the Club had not much sense when we started going to schools, so we decided to ask the association to change our aims and goals and work differently with the children. We started then making weekly rounds of schools and working with them one by one some skills like self-confidence, personal skills, social skills, etc. So, basically every day our translator-guide comes to pick us up to our house and we go together to a school, we have lunch there with our lunch boxes and when the school finishes we go home and get ready for the next day’s activities and games.
About the food, everything is covered by the family and the association since we put one foot in Nepal. In the morning we normally get tea, and around 9.30 we get the famous DalBat, the typical food of the country. For lunch normally we get pasta or beaten rice, in the middle of the day we normally get some tea and for dinner again DalBat around 20. This was probably the hardest part of the experience at the beginning, because the routine of food is very strict and we got kind of tired of rice at the beginning. After a while we got used to it, so now we assume DalBat twice a day as standard meals and even enjoy it.
All this are logistic details, probably the most complicated to understand is the emotional experience to be lived here. For those who have been already to a south-east Asian country a lot of things won’t be new, but for me since I had my first look to the street I was already super excited. This traffic chaos, the big amount of people everywhere, the conditions of the roads and the not-breathable air of the town. This only in Kathmandu. In the village, the character of Nepali people, the fact that they never answer “I don’t know” and that they take life with a different rhythm. The cast system and the machist society; the old formal education system they have in schools. Everything is very different, very beautiful and full of details to put all your attention on. If you are looking for an adventure, this is no doubt your best opportunity to life from a very non touristic way a volunteering action. Hygiene conditions are basic, psychologically is very extreme and physically also because every day we walk around 2-3 hours. Even so, is a unique experience in life, a chance that cannot be skipped.
This if the link to the blog where I tell more details about daily life https://moniqueitazul.wixsite.com/misitio
But ver everything! If you are reading this, volunteer and selected for the project, do not hesitate to contact any of us and we will lovely answer as many questions as you need. I also have been in your skin, was having this uncertainty about everything and I know how it feels, so I would really love to help as much as I can. I hope to write some more often in English, if not the photos still are there to show an idea about how this all looks like.
If there is something I have clear is that,now that I know how all this is, I would again say yes to such a experience without doubts.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!