Cathy Pham, UniBreak, Nepal
“NEPAL? Where’s that?” Were my exact words when we first heard of it through Antipodeans Abroad. By chance (financial situation) Nepal was the option for us and it was the best thing that could have happened.
My friend and I spent an incredible four weeks volunteering at an orphanage located in Pokhara, Nepal where we taught fourteen children aged 4-9. Not all of these children are orphans, most have a single parent however they only get to see their parent if they’re fortunate once a year. They come from Mustang one of the poorest areas of Nepal. Mustang is roughly 98km from Pokhara and most of the travelling is done by foot due to the rough terrain.
These children are AMAZING. They make the most of what they have and what is given to them. They are experts at spinning rocks and kicking a bundle of rubber bands tied into a loose ball. They have learnt to appreciate food and will finish whatever is given in their bowl. These children have a set menu for the week and have the same thing for lunch every single day. They taught me a new level of appreciation and what it really means to be grateful for what we have.
Of course it’s not just about volunteering. I highly recommend trekking and paragliding. Nepal has the best view and it’s breathtaking looking down from the mountains to the lake.
The home stay experience makes the whole trip even more worthwhile. We were able to taste authentic home made Tibetan/Nepalese food. We would watch movies with our home stay brother during our free time; sometimes it took us three days to finish a movie because power would cut off randomly throughout the day. The people within the settlement were very welcoming and warm. I was greeted with an affectionate smack on my bottom by a Grandma I’ve never met before. There was a real sense of community and we were more than welcome to attend any weddings that took place within the settlement. Who would have thought I shared a neighbourhood with goats, buffalo and cows roaming around.
It’s been half a year since I’ve been back home in Sydney and I still stay in touch with my home stay family. If you’ve ever contemplated about volunteering abroad, now is the time to do it. Antipodeans Abroad will give you all the information and support you need.