Volunteer's Experience

Volunteer Experience 2016

Name : Anna, Carlota, Clara, and Ariadna (Spain)
Sex: Female
Program: Teaching in Monastery

1.    What did your average day look like?  
We woke up at 6:45am, had breakfast at 7am and went to Zumba lessons at 7:30. After the lessons we taught English at women's concern, the class used to start at 9am until 10 am. Then we had free time until 13:00pm that we went to Himalaya Deep Jyoti boarding school, we went to monastery and we taught to the little monks from 16:00pm to 17:00pm. Friday's we had the day off in the monastery and Saturdays also at school so we went to do sightseeing.

2.     Other things I did on my placement.
We went to the monkey temple, Bouddanath, Bhaktapur, statue of Shiva, Thamel…(sightseeing and hiking)

3.    What are some of the issues or challenges you faced?
 The language barrier was challenging, sometimes it was hard to communicate with the teachers and the kids and also getting used to the traffic as well as the pollution.

4. Advice to next volunteer going to your placement?
Prepare the lessons because children really appreciate the effort and you will feel more secure while doing the class. Try really hard to fit in as soon as possible so that the culture shock is not too over whelming
.
5. Would you volunteer at this placement again?  
Definitely

6. Would you volunteer at this organization again?  
Definitely

7. Suggestion or problem?  
To have more information about the program before the placement even though once there you are really helpful.

8. Please write a Journal-type entry of you experience now. This will be for our monthly newsletter & also for our future Volunteers. It will be better roughly one full page.  
For the three firsts days we stayed at hotel lily and in the morning we had Nepali lessons with Durga and in the afternoon we did sightseeing. The first week we did the monastery program and we stayed at Durga's with two other volunteers from Israel and other from Sweden. The second week we went to another placement, an orphanage NCHPS, we had a really good time there but the living conditions were harder. For our last week we came back to Durga's and taught again at the school, monastery and the women's concern center.            

Name: Linnea Petersson (Swedish)
Sex: Female
Program: Teaching English in School
1. What did your average day look like?

I got up at 6:30 went to Zumba class at 7:30 after breakfast. Then at 9 I had English class with the women. After that I went to school to have English or some other subject with the children. I usually come back around 13 and then had lunch. On the afternoons I prepared for the next day and just do whatever I felt like, just chilling or going sightseeing.

2. Other things I did on my placement.
I went to the KAT Center in Kathmandu where the rescue stray dogs. It was very interesting to see their job and what they do for the animals.

3. What are some of the issues or challenges you faced?
Getting used to not having electricity at different times, especially if my phone was out of battery should have brought a flash light.

4. Advice to next volunteer going to your placement?   
Bring flashlight! And books if you are alone.

5. Would you volunteer at this placement again?   
It's possible but there are still many other countries I want to go to, but I recommend it.

6. Would you volunteer at this organization again?
Yes.

7. Suggestion or problem?   
Maybe the possibility to work on a public school is the children are in more need of help with English. I liked the school and the children very much but they were already very good with the language and they had help from the teachers at all time.

Name: Christina Manriquit (US)
Sex:  Female
Program: Teaching English in School and Monastery.

1. What did your average day look like?
Class with little monks(grade 1) or tutor older monk from 8-9am. Substitute for science teacher at Himalayan Deep School 9:45 – 11:55am (grades 6 7 and 8). Class with older child monks(level 4) 4-5pm. Dinner at 7pm, lunch at 12pm, breakfast at 7am. Bed time at 9pm. Sunday – Thursday I volunteered. No afternoon class at monastery on Fridays.

2. Other things I did on my placement.
Hike to White Gumba, but closed for 1 year for earthquake repairs. On Fridays and Saturdays, I went sightseeing in Kathmandu, Thamel.

3. What are some of the issues or challenges you faced?  
There were bugs in the apartment- cockroaches in my room. I had to buy bug spray. The bathroom was not as clean as I would have liked. Electricity + Internet outages were challenging because I used the internet and printer to prepare my lessons. There was little to no instruction by staff at school or monastery what to teach and what the children already knew and needed to learn. But overall it was a good learning experience in how to be flexible and creative.

4. Advice to next volunteer going to your placement?
Be flexible – rigid lesson plans don't work. Make teaching as fun as possible- just as much play as learning.
Little monks love to draw and play with little cards. Lessons incorporating these activities were very popular.
Children are very wild and unruly at first but they settle down once they get to know the volunteer more and you make the lessons fun and engaging.
Don't be afraid to be very creative in your lesson plans or to take risk! (safe risks of course…)

5. Would you volunteer at this placement again?
I would like to volunteer at another Bhuddhist monastery possibly but live there instead of living outside the monastery.

6. Would you volunteer at this organization again?
 Yes- Durga and her family are very nice, friendly, helpful, and reliable and they genuinely care for their volunteers and the Nepal is who benefit for the programs.

7. Suggestion or problem?
Ask volunteers to keep a reward of the lessons they taught and the materials they used. This will be helpful for next volunteer and the children too. Make a bathroom cleaning schedule.

8. Please write a Journal-type entry of you experience now. This will be for our monthly newsletter & also for our future Volunteers. It will be better roughly one full page.
I arrived at airport al 4am May 7. Durga arrived with a taxi to pick me up. I stayed at Hotel Lily for next 3 nights. There were 3 days of Nepali Language classes taught by Durga for 2-3 hours each day. The lessons were just the right amount of basic information to get around Nepali. There was sightseeing in the afternoon after classes with Divya, Durga's daughter for 2 hours. We went to Monkey Temple, Bouddhanath, and Durbar Square. I went trekking for 2 weeks and did a meditation retreat, then came to stay at Durga's apartment in Raniban, Kathmandu. The monastery and school where I taught were a 10 minute walk from Durga's house. I ate all my meals at Durga's because she is a great cook! Dinner time her two children were there too. Weekends(Friday and Saturday), I would take the microbus or taxi to Thamel and other parts of Kathmandu. Two Spanish volunteers arrived my last week and we went hiking in the nearby forest twice. Days were relaxed and there was plenty of time to prepare for lessons. I stopped going to teach at the Himalayan School because they had exams and there was no class. The last night the volunteers and Durga and her children went out to eat at restaurant nearby. It was very good.
Overall, had a lovely experience Durga and her family are very kind people. They are welcoming to foreigner and accommodating to their different needs and cultures. I really enjoyed talking to them and getting to know them.            


Name: Linda Cutler
Nationality: British
Gender:Female
Program: eco-village and teaching english

1. What did your average day look like?

Eco-village, Chitwan National Park
Our day began with "breakfast"at 7am - a cup of tea and popcorn - served with a smile by Bishnu.
 The day begins early due to the heat and also because  it is a working a farm.  Bishnu's mother, Amah,
loved to come and speak to us whenever we were eating, she spoke nepali and we spoke english and we communicated beautifully.  Work on the farm begins about 8 am (although I understand this is earlier in the very hot months) and everybody tucks into dal baht and vegetable curry at 10 am.  Your time is your own during the heat of the day - going for a walk, sitting under the mango tree writing your journal...Work begins again about 4 pm and continues until 6 or 7 pm, when more dal baht is served.  Most peopleretire early due to the heat and also the regular power cuts.

My day was different due to the fact that i was not working on the farm.  I did not want to do physical work
so I spent my day cooking the meals and teaching some basic english to a group of local women. Their level was quite basic, there were some resources there (eg flash cards, abc books etc, but there is nothing for a higher level of english.  I guess when the library is finished this may change. In Kathmandu I taught English at a local school.  The school was a 15 min walk and the day begins at 10 am, unless it is a festival (day off) or school holidays, and continues until 4 pm.  I taught three classes of 45 minutes each, spaced out during the day, each class a different level and with a varying number of students, one class having only 3 students!  I understand this changes from day to day.

2. Other things I did on my placement.
In Chitwan I went on a jungle safari on an elephant to see the black rhinos (we saw 2 that day).
In Kathmandu I went with Durga to a Hindu temple early on the morning of their New Year (April 14). It has a large prone statue of Vishnu on a pond.

3. Issues, challenges faced.
This was my first time in Nepal, although my daughter had visited a few years ago.  I am quite a bit older
than many of the volunteers and perhaps more set in my ways and less adaptable; that being the case, I found the lack of water (and showers) a challenge; the diet takes some getting used to, not the dal baht specifically as I am a vegetarian and love indian-style food, but eating a huge portion of rice and curry at 9 or 10 in the morning was difficult to adjust to as was the lack of variety.

4. Advice to other volunteers.
None

5. Would you like to volunteer at this placement again?
Yes.

6. Would you like to volunteer with this organization again?
Durga is very efficient and runs the organization very well; she is very flexible and helpful, and you really get the feeling that she cares for all her volunteers, like one big family.  So if I were to come to Nepal again as a volunteer I would certainly use this organization.

7. Suggestions
Nepali culture differs so much from others, particularly in the western world, that it is difficult for Durga and
Bishnu to understand that the volunteers may have different expectations from their placements. Things that may concern volunteers would not necessarily be important to nepali people. As an example, on my placement at the  school, I have spent a considerable amount of time sitting waiting for a class to take place, or for a book to be provided as a resource for teaching; to me,this is a waste of my time, and that of the school too, but for nepali people it is a way of life.  We are much more used to being busy and our time being filled.  This is not to say that I am criticising the nepali culture, it is simply an example to highlight where difficulties can arise. When I was in the eco-village again I felt that my time could be better used; I appreciate that most of the work in the village is physical but I would have appreciated more direction and guidance.

8. Additional comments
Whilst on my placement in Kathmandu, Durgu very kindly allowed me to stay in her apartment with her family. This was a great privilege for me: I was treated like one of the family and made to feel very welcome.  I would like to thank Durga, Diwash and Dibya for their kindness.  I hope that they have benefitted from the extra English lessons and the exchange of culture.  I am sorry if they did not appreciate my cooking!!

Name: Aletheia Bligh-Flower
Country: UK
Gender : Female
Program: Women Empowerment Program

1. What did your average day look like?
I work up around 6:30-7am. The next of family usually up by then and drinking their morning tea. I would drink my tea and then tidy and sweep my room. Over the next couple of hours I would head or spend time with the family. Around 9 or 10 the first meal would be served. Lovely veg, rice and dhal. Afterward I would wash clothes before the heat of the day set in and spend time with the family. The house is very open and there were always children, goats and neighbors coming and going. In the midday heat nothing much happened. Everybody gathered in the cool hallway trying to keep cool-June is a very hot month in Chitwan! When the cool late afternoon time came we would have tea and snacks before the evening actually. I would usually go for a walk and visit new friends if there was no women group. In the evening the whole village comes alive and socializing with the neighbors and local children was great fun. After the sun had set we would eat our evening meal, and go to bed a few hours.

2. Other things I did on my placement.
I learn a huge amount Nepali life and cultures including how to put on a sari! I made many friends and visited surrounding areas. Only three hours away on bus it is possible to do an elephant safari which we enjoyed. We saw rhinos!

3. What are some of the issues or challenges you faced?
It was difficult to communicate with the women groups as my level of Nepali was so basic. It took a good week to figure out what the women wanted as it seemed very informal. The weather was extremely hot which took me a white to asjust to.

4. Advice to next volunteer going to your placement?
Go in the cool season! And be prepared for informal group so a longer placement may be good to get to know people and pick up enough Nepali to have a nicer experience. It is a fantastic placement and being with the family was really great.

5. Would you volunteer at this placement again?
Yes, I would love to- maybe in the cool deason!

6. Would you volunteer at this organization again?
Yes- really well organized.

7. Suggestion or problem?
It was great. A wonderful experience.

8. Additional comments?
…………………….

9. Please write a Journal-type entry of you experience now. This will be for our monthly newsletter & also for our future Volunteers. It will be better roughly one full page.

Working in Chitwan was such a unique experience that I will never forget. My patner and I decided to spend some time volunteering in Nepal, with future Nepal as I was able to work with women groups and he would be able to teach.

We stayed with a wonderful family who looked after us and patiently taught us Nepali. The women groups seemed very informal and the idea of empowerment seemed more amusing than sometime they were striving for. Never the less these warm, friendly women were keen to make money in addition to their husbands income. The women already worked hare and it was difficult for me to help much other be their friend. It was wonderful getting to know the women and learn about their lives.

All the people we met were genuine and kind. And the lifestyle, despite its hardships, is pull of laughter and play-especially when there one baby goat around!

Name : Emily Janes (UK)
Gender : Female
Program : Teaching English at Monasteries and Orphanage
Life in Monastery
1. What did you average day look like?

Average day: awoken by bells, maybe go to morning puja – depending on how tired you are! Then breakfast, lots of lovely Nepali tea, may be some toast and jam, may be some rice. Then if you have level 3 or 4, lessons are around 9:30/10 for an hour and a half, likewise for level 1 and 2 from 2 o clock in the afternoon! The children in my class were always funny, happy and attentive!! Then lunch, afternoon puja, dinner and Buddha Lessons from the headteacher, which were really interesting. Then Bed!

Life in the Orphanage

 Life in the orphanage was great, you can get up at any time, depending on how much the lovely kids have tired  you out ? and go and have breakfast. Breakfast is usually coffee/tea and biscuits, or maybe some toast. Then you can help the children get ready for school and have some more food with them before the walk to school. Then, Bimala, the mother, very kindly took me sightseeing around Pokhara, which was great, it’s very different to have a local with you (a lot more fun and cheaper too!). I’m sure they would very happily oblige to do the same with everyone, but you have free time whatever you decide! Then after school a lot more playtime, maybe sports, maybe colouring or TV, either way, it’s a great workout before evening prayer-time and dinner. You can then chill out, watch TV, go on the laptop. You can really do what you like, it’s very much like you’re part of the family.

2. Other things I did on my placement.
I taught the children maths, science, lots about space, English grammar things like that. They pick up things very easily so you get through a lot in a lesson. So if you plan, plan a lot! The best is when you get to play with them – they never get tired!!

Orphanage
Like I said I did a lot of sightseeing, it was great saw Lakeside, Sarangkot (by motorbike), we all went out for the day to Lakeside which was great and went on a giant pedalo, which was extremely fun!!! I just found that I really felt like I was part of the family and it soon became normal to help out and wash the clothes, or pop to the shops. Be prepared to adopt a second, amazing family!

3. What are some of the issues or challenges you faced?
There aren’t many issues to face, everyone’s really welcoming a helpful. Obviously the food isn’t western- but that’s to be expected!! Just get to know the monks as much as you can they’re great. Spend time with them!

Orphanage
The worst challenge was leaving, I really felt very happy and at home! The food was great and if you did have any problems Krishna and Bimala wouldn’t hesitate in the slightest to help you out.

4. Advice to next volunteer going to your placement?
Plan your lessons a little, use the books from the library but be prepared to wing it. They may not like what you’re teaching or you may get through the material you’ve selected very quickly!

Orphanage
Take lots of pictures and play as much as you can.  Have some ideas for new games, they love new games and maybe bring some English books or things along those lines. They’re really clever children and will pick things up very fast.

5. Would you volunteer at this placement again?
Yes I would love to! I miss them all already! It really was a once in a life time experience I feel very lucky to have had.

Orphanage
Yes! I really hope to stay in contact with the family and hope to come back and visit whenever I get enough money for a plane ticket!!

6. Would you volunteer at this organization again?
Yes, Future Nepal have been great. I had all my worries taken care of, Durga and Bishnu are two of the friendliest people I’ve ever met. Would definitely recommend!!

7.Suggestion or problem?
No problems!

8. Additional comments?
Great! Thank you so much, I feel very lucky to have had this experience.

9. Please write a Journal-type entry of you experience now. This will be for our monthly newsletter & also for our future Volunteers. It will be better roughly one full page.

I found Future Nepal on workaway and contacted Durga who was very helpful and friendly. I thought that teaching in a monastery looked like a once in a lifetime experience – and it was. The monastery itself is beautiful & the monks are really welcoming and will help you with everything you might need. Classes were loud, funny and (I hope) helpful. It was great to otherwise spend time playing with the children (and the dogs) who are always lively and sure to make anybody laugh. Great-would recommend to anyone.

Name     : Teresa Sa(Germany)
Gender    : Female
Program    : Teaching English in Monastery

1) What did you average day look like?
I wake up either at 6:30 am or already at 5am ( at this time there is morning gong ). Breakfast is at 7am, we volunteers we sitting and talking with the monks. At 8 am or 8:45am I had my first teaching-depending on how many volunteers were there. At 9:30 am these was a teaching break in which I went to the internet café or did other things. After lunch at 11:30am, class started again at 1 pm for level
3 and afterwards one hour with level 4. until 3 pm. At 3 pm there is teatime and the volunteers were free now. After dinner at 6pm I often had a lot of talking and fun with the monks

2) Other things I did on my placement.
I was sometime teaching two lession per day, sometimes (when there were no other volunteers) four lesions. I played with the monks, watched movies with them on the weekends, attended puja, learn about Buddhism and meditation through the head teachers, went around with the monks, learnt how to make Ti-Mo Mo and visited other monasteries.

3) What are some of the issues or challenges you faced?
Poor English knowledge in level 1 but you learn to copy with it. A lot of noise in the big classes.
4) Advice to next volunteer going to your placement?
Don’t expect calm, reasonable monks who meditate all the time. Bring enough games!

5) Would you volunteer at this placement again?
Yes! I have never had so much fun and happiness. I loved every single monk because they were so nice and helpful. It’s a great experience to live in this wonderful monastery.

6) Would you volunteer at this organization again?
Yes! Because you adjusted to my wishes, always helped me, prepared me well and it was no problem when I wanted to change placement earlier.

7) Suggestion or problem?
The information about the placement were not totally right. I was pretty surprise when I saw the host family’s living conditions.

8) Additional comments?
Thank you!

Name : Vilde Skylstad (Norway)
Gender:Female
Program: Teaching in Monastery

1. What did you average day look like?
The  average day started at 06:00 by the sound of the morning Puja. A pleasant reminder of where you were. I went down to watch the Puja or went to have breakfast at 07:00. I usually didn’t have class until
10:00 so we could also go down to the stupa to have a “western friendly” breakfast. The class lasted for one hour until lunch at 11:30, then the level one and two had class at 14:00 before tea time at three. At
the time I was there we were many volunteers, therefore I didn’t have to teach much, and we had a lot of free time. Since the monastery is near the buddhanath Stupa there is  a lot of interesting things to do. We did eat most of our meals outside the monastery since our newly arrived western weak stomachs didn’t handle the diet very well. In the afternoon, we spendt time with the monks, which was fun and a nice way to get to know our students.  All over the days were relaxing but challenging with free time and teaching.

2. Other things I did on my placement.
I had level four (the highest), so their English was quite good. I tried to make them talk as much as possible about different topics, but mostly about their life as monks which I think is a topic they
will be facing a lot when they meet foreigners (and thus speak English). I had one lesson with the younger ones, and since their english was more basic I went through the days of  the week, colours
and some math (addition) with them.

3. What are some of the issues or challenges you faced?
The by far biggest challenges were the lack of individual books for the monks, and the lack of Nepli I knew when facing the lower levels. When it comes to books it would be very helpful in terms of knowing
what they already know and what they need to learn. You don’t get anything ready made to prepare you for classes- you have to decide for yourself what you want to teach them and how. Since the volunteers come and go for so short periods of time they always have to figure out what level the students are at before they actually can begin making a plan for teaching, which takes some lessons and learning time from the students. If they had books you would be able to see what they have already learnt and what is next on the program. When it comes to not knowing Nepali and the two first levels not knowing English we asked some of the older monks to come and help out in explaining what we
were trying to teach. That was only possible when they did not have Tibetan classes, since that was at the same time the lower level had English. There should always be someone from the higher level in
the class with the lower, it was very helpful so they should either change the time the Tibetan class or the English classes of the level 1 and 2.

4. Advice to next volunteer going to your placement?
Be prepared to not have any readymade plan for the lesson. Teach what you know and like. Ask for help from older monks, Flavor’s is a good place to eat near the stupa. I didn’t handle the food, as didn’t some
of the others.

5. Would you volunteer at this placement again?
Yes, I would- and hopefully I will. The monks are so cute and they really need your help.

6. Would you volunteer at this organization again?
Yes. The organization has been so helpful throughout my stay in Nepal when it comes to accommodation, trekking and this placement. I couldn’t wish for anything more from them.

7. Suggestion or problem?
……………
8. Additional comments?
………………
9. Please write a Journal-type entry of you experience now. This will be for our monthly newsletter & also for our future Volunteers.
A challenging but amazing week- I would go back in a heartbeat.

Name : Ida Wanhainen (Uppsata, Sewden)
Program : Orphanage home and Teaching at Monastery
Orphan-Program

1. What did you average day look like?
We woke up at around 7 and went in to thr house where thr children were doing their homework. We helped them with math and English and had breakfast tea and biscuits. At around 9 the kids went to school and we helped them with getting ready. After they went we were free to do whatever we wanted maybe took a walk to lakeside. At around 16pm they came back home. We played with them, read to them and helped them with further homework. At 18am they would pray and at 19 pm eat some
dhal/ bhat for dinner. Then they might watch some TV before they want to sleep around 22pm and we went back to our house after a nice day. 2. Other things I did on my placement. We did helped the kids with homework such as English, math, science and social-studies. We helped them getting ready for school, but mostly we played with them.

3. What are some of the issues or challenges you faced?
It is always a language  barrier when you can’t speak Nepali, but most at the children spoke were well. Sometimes we felt werrd about not hwlping in the kitchen etc. but they were just to polite to let us.

4. Advice to next volunteer going to your placement?
Try to practice some Nepali before you go, It always helpful and they really appreciate. Be prepared to have a lot of space time and to take a lot of initiatives yourself.

5. Would you volunteer at this placement again?
I would definitely want to come back to Paradise Home. A lovely family with the most amazing and inspiriting kids. I feel like I have a family in Pokhara.

6. Would you volunteer at this organization again?
Future Nepal did a good job with thr placement and everything. Durga is a very friendly person and she helped us a lot. Sometime the information was a bit unclear but in thr end it all solved out.

7. Suggestion or problem?
(See 4)

8. Additional comments?
A lovely stay with experiences that I’ll remember for the rest of my life!

Monastery-Program in Kathmandu.
1. What did you average day look like?

Woke up at 6 by the morning- puja gong. Did some morning meditation on the root-teract. went in to town(the stupa) and had breakfast. Back at 10 for the first lesion that lasted until 11. Had free time until 13 when I had level 1, my class. Had lesson for 40 monk and got help by an older monk. At 19 it Buddhist lesion with Guru, an in between we were free to do whatever. At 20 we went to had in thr relaxing candle light (due to powercut).

2. Other things I did on my placement.
Tough the monks age 7-20 english(30-45min) and math (30-45min). In english class I also tried to teach science etc.

3. What are some of the issues or challenges you faced?
The monks, especially the younger ones, knows very little, not only English but also all the other subjects, They can hardly write ‘my name is’ and they though that 1+3= 3 therefore.

4. Advice to next volunteer going to your placement?
Be prepare to do very basic stutt such as addition and shapes. Study some Nepali but do take some help of the older monks. I always had one who helped me to translate, very helpful! In the beginning it might
seem as a big challenge to teach them something, but as long you do it with a lot of positive energy and a creative mind they will enjoy it as well as you will!

5. Would you volunteer at this placement again?
I would like to come back to the monastery to meet the cute monks again but I think that it I’d come back to teach English I would ant to be more prepared.

6. Would you volunteer at this organization again?
Future Nepal did a great job but sometime the information didn’t match the reality perfectly.

7. Suggestion or problem?
Have a translator Nepali- English and try to get them a long-term plane of what to teach them so that they won’t do the same thing.

8. Additional comments?
A really interesting experience seeing how the monks lived in the monastery!

Name : Billie Wasterlind (Swiden)
Program: Orphanage home and teaching in Monastery

1. What did you average day look like?
At the orphanage I got at around 7 o’clock and went in to the kitchen were Auntie gave me tea and biscuits for breakfast. Then I help the children with their homeworks in the living room. But they were really good and needed little help. After nine they had lunch rice, dhal and vegetables. Then I helped the children get ready for school wichstared at 10 o’clock, so from 10 until 16 there was not much to do so we could go in to town or do whatever we wanted. then the children come back and we played with them and read to them in english sometimes . Then the had a prayed in the livingroom before dinner at about 9 o’clock. At the monastery I had lessons at 10 o’clock and the rest of the day we went around in the neighborhoods. I only ate at the monastery the first day, because I didn’t really like Dhal/Bhat.

3. What are some of the issues or challenges you faced?
At the orphanage there was the issue of having very little to do we were not really allowed to help out with anything in the house (except when we made dinner one night) All we did was lay with the children
and practice little English with them but they were always very good.

4. Advice to next volunteer going to your placement?
At the monastery the challenge was not having any plan for the education of the monks. We have to make everything up from scratch. And it didn’t help that they didn’t have any workbooks. However it was fun to use your imagination to come up with things to teach and being strict was good experience since so many at the monks were very unfocused.

5. Would you volunteer at this placement again?
I would absolutely go back to Orphanage Home. They fed like my second family. But unless the monastery becomes more structured I wouldn’t want to go back there.

6. Would you volunteer at this organization again?
Sure, Durga is great and very helpful. The Nepali book me got came to good use.

7. Suggestion or problem?
At Orphan Home I would suggest that they’d let us help them more with washing and cleaning for example.  That’s actually why we come to help out. The monastery should need a real English teacher, but I guess that it not so easy to fix. Workbooks for all students and an education plan
would be a good start.

Name : Laurel Elizabeth Steele (USA)
Program: Teaching at Monastery

Staying at the monastery was one of the most incredible experiences of my life.  It wouldn’t have been possible without Durga.  She is very professional and really friendly.  She always responded quickly to my emails and concerns.  You’re also getting a great deal with her organization.  There were other volunteers at the monastery that went through a different organization and paid $700 USD for the exact same experience. There were 40 monks while I was there, ages 8-20.  Don’t expect
tranquil boys, because they are very energetic and love to play. They’re enthusiastic about learning but sometimes a little talkative in class. (But what child isn’t?)  They love having volunteers around
and are eager to help you with anything. At 6 AM every morning, the monks have prayer and there will be loud bells to wake you up.  This usually goes until 7 AM.  It’s not necessary for the volunteers to go to prayer.  Breakfast is served at 7 AM.  It’s usually dal baht, flattened rice, or sometimes leftovers
from the night before.  There is always hot milk tea. Classes for the monks start at 8AM.  The number of classes you teach depends on the number of volunteers.  You can work out a teaching schedule with the headmaster.  You may end up giving the headmaster English lessons.  His English is already very good, but he is still eager to learn more.  When I was there I only taught two classes a
day, so I had a lot of free time.

Materials for classes are very limited.  The monks only have notebooks and pencils.  Teachers will be given a marker board.  Another volunteer and myself bought some arts supplies for the classes.  These
materials and all books may be found in the library.  The library is small, but a good resource for storybooks.  While I was there , there was no set curriculum so you’ll have to improvise for your classes.
Lunch is served at 11:30 and is usually rice and lentils.  Sometimes they give the volunteers vegetables.  Tea is served at 3:00. .  The monks have prayer in the afternoon around 4:30.  Dinner, served at 6:00 is often the same thing, but may be a potato-based dish.  After meals if the monks don’t have classes they usually play outside.  You can join them. Saturday and Sunday are the holidays so there aren’t any classes. Saturday is a cleaning day, but after they finish they can play different games, like chess, badminton, or soccer.  Sunday is also a day for playing and they usually watch movies.
You can leave the monastery at any time.  Just be sure to let someone know if you won’t be there for a meal. You can also receive lessons in Buddhism and meditation from the headmaster.  We were lucky to be there for the Tibetan New Year and got to visit another monastery and experience different Buddhist
ceremonies. There is wifi, but most of the time the monastery doesn’t have electricity.  There’s an internet café that’s about a 10-minute walk from the monastery.  The Stupa is about a 25 minute walk and there are lots of restaurants, internet cafes, and tourist shops there.  It’s a great place to relax or have a meal when you’re sick of rice and lentils.


There isn’t any hot water, and when the power is out there isn’t any water.  If it’s particularly cold, it’s worth it to pay for a hot shower once or twice a week by the Stupa.  This will only cost about 150-200 rupees.  A monk can show you where it’s located. My friend and I traveled on a couple of weekends and had a great time.  It’s also nice to spend a weekend or two at the monastery, because the monks really enjoy spending as much time with you as possible. Nepal is a very affordable place for travelers on a budget.  Nepali people are really friendly and welcoming.  I would absolutely volunteer at this monastery again, through Experience Nepal (Future Nepal).

Name : Zsuzsi Papp(Canada)
Gender: Female
Program: Home stay and orphanage home

1. What did you average day look like?
I would wake up around 6am, go and help the kids get ready for school (7-9:30am) then I would have day to sightsee or look around. I would usually return to the house between 4-5 & spend time with the children playing or working on homework.

2. Other things I did on my placement.
Some of the things I did including chopping vegetables, helping serve food, helping the kinds get ready for school, helping with their homework, playing games with them and teaching them proper hygine
care.

3. What are some of the issues or challenges you faced?
Get ready for a lot of fun, but also be willing to work hard & give a lot of yourself to the children.

4. Advice to next volunteer going to your placement?
Having enough personal time was a challenge as the kids take up a lot of energy & time.

5. Would you volunteer at this placement again?
If I was looking for a volunteer placement again I would definitely volunteer here again. There is a wide variety of things to do & ways to help as well as many adorable children.

6. Would you volunteer at this organization again?
Yes, it was very helpful to have some guidance/ help the first few days, and have someone to go to in case of problem.

7. Suggestion or problem?
I would have liked to know ahead of time that I was going to be staying at a different place than initially discussed, as I was not fully prepared for this experience, but I am glad it happened that way.

8. Additional comments?
It was a good program & I really enjoyed my stay.

Name    : Courtney Younkle (USA)
Gender    :Female
Program    : Community Health Post

1) What did you average day look like?
An average day in Meghauli for me was working up around 9am. My host mom would serve milk tea and bread soon after, she would feed me a meal of dal/bhat around 9:15, and I would go to the health post at 10:. At the health post, I would assist with dispensing medication, bandaging wounds, changing old bandages, give vaccination , help with prenatal check ups and assist with deliveries if there were any there that day. I would get done at the health clinic any where from 2:30 to 4pm. My host mom would serve a small meal when I got home. and would hang out with the family, watch TV, go for walks with my host sister during my free time in the evening. The dinner around 7pm dal/bhat.

2) Other things I did on my placement.
At my health post, I did the above mentioned tasks. With the pharmacist, I would take prescription and give medicine out with instructions or how to use. With bandaging, I would help the house clean wounds  and wrap wounds with bandages. Every 1st day there is a vaccine day where infants come in and get their sequined vaccines, and I assisted in administering many of there. In prenatal checkups.. I
was responsible for checking blood pressure + weights. During deliveries, I would mainly watch but also helped check dilation and helped massage the uterup  to prevent hammoraging .

3) What are some of the issues or challenges you faced?
Some challenging in my placement were that many of the villagers in Meghauli as not speak English, So communication was difficult at time. This made it harder to help at the health post.


4) Advice to next volunteer going to your placement?
Learning the language of Nepal will be very helpful if you are placed in more rural village you will be able to make a bigger impact.

5) Would you volunteer at this placement again?
If  I volunteered again, I would like to return to the clinic, but I also think that it would be very interesting to volunteer in a hospital setting as well, I might have a higher patient volume.

6) Would you volunteer at this organization again?
I would volunteer with Future Nepal again. Durga is extremely kind + helpful, and makes the volunteer feel welcome and at easy. She is always available if you have questions or concerns. The traveling
package that are set up were also well organizes and enjoyable.

7) Suggestion or problem?
………………..
 Additional comments?
……………
9) Please write a Journal-type entry of you experience now. This will be for our monthly newsletter & also for our future Volunteers.

Volunteering as a nurse with Future Nepal tough me so much about health care in rural locations. Volunteers with health backgrounds can
make such a positive impact in village where quality healthcare is difficult to come by.

I will miss beautiful Nepal and its kind + genuine.

Name : Robin Kabir Tear
Country: UK
Gender : Male
Program : Teaching English

1. What did you average day look like?
Teaching English at the government school from 7:25- 8:45am for two lessons. Then teaching at Milly Jully from 10-10:45am and at Paramount from 1:30- 2:50pm

2. Other things I did on my placement.
My main work was teaching English which took up most of my day. However I also helped plant some banana trees and was include in family life which was also very enjoyable. I did not get to milk the buffalo, but I think this was a good think as she was very angry / pregnant.

3. What are some of the issues or challenges you faced?
At the government school sometime the level of English was difficult, however I adapted my teaching.

In addition, at the government school there were very large classes of up to so. Traditionally classes are much smaller in England. This took some adjustment.

At Milly Jully ,the arrangement were at first against my wishes as I did not want to teach Garde 3 or below, as from my previous experience teaching in Kerala, India I felt the level of English understanding would be too difficult. This problem was resolved when the principle returned and from then I only tock classes 10-4.

Another problem with Milly July was the number of classes give with only one class for all geades 10 to kindergarden I could not set homework as the next day I would teach them I would be too far in the future.

4. Advice to next volunteer going to your placement?
I would give the following advice
a) Be aware of the class sizes, much bigger then European/ north American standards.
b) There is a big different the level of English from the government to private school. Private level is better.
c)The recourses in a class room/ school are limited often you have only a textbook, chalk and blackboard.
d)If you travel in June, get ready for the hot weather- its heard to heep cool.
e) Satting homework, each night is prepared.

5. Would you volunteer at this placement again?

Yes- it was wonderful to live with Sita and her family. I would like to come back but perhaps when it is cooler and then I would be able to work even harder.
6) Would you volunteer at this organization again?
Future Nepal have very professional and well organized-indeed.

7) Suggestion or problem?
a) the number of schools;
What was organized was wonderful! and gave me a real broad insight in to each of the schools however ,if one of the schools could provide more lessons. For example instead of teaching at three school reduce this to or one. I think this would help the volunteer/ school/ children to get to know each other much better and settle in to productive classes much guider.

B) If a school can only offer one lesion a day , then may be is counter productive for both volunteer/ school/ children

8) Additional comments?
Although I have given many challenges and suggestions I was very happy with teaching in Parsadap. I have only made the small suggestion to hopeful make things easier for the future.

The Nepali classes were excellent, I just wish I was a faster learner. Durga you an excellent teacher.

Sita and the family looked after us so well. The hours was perfect and it was a delight to be mound so much greenery and animals.

The principle of Paramount School is very nice and hospitable person. I found working at his school most enjoyable, but I also enjoyed the greater challenge of working at the government school.

Name: Emily Tsai
Country: USA
Age: 27
Gender: Female

Program: Health post program in Meghauli-8, Chitwan

1.What did you average day look like?
Average day : Clinic from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM in the morning or evenings. I would play with the children, take walks with Baba in the village or Meghauli and Chitwan and learn about the farm (milking buffalo, planting)
2.Other things I did on my placement.
Other activities : Walking in jungle, visit Crocodile placement in Kasara(National Park)
3.What are some of the issues or challenges you faced?
Issues : No major issues. I had stomach problem one day
4.Advice to next volunteer going to your placement?
Advice : At the clinic, Saturday is the busiest day with about 50 patients and 3 doctors. Other days the doctor is only there from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM, so the other time is helping the nurses or the clinic manager with administrant work. Try to join a health camp if it fits your schedule
5.Would you volunteer at this placement again?
Yes
6.Would you volunteer at this organization again?
yes
7.Suggestion or problem?
No problem
8.Additional comments?)
No additional comments
9.Please write a Journal-type entry of you experience now. This will be for our monthly newsletter & also for our future Volunteers.
My time in Nepal was wonderful. I was impressed with Clinic Nepal and I learned a lot from and the other visiting doctors. Everyone was very kind and accommodating, and I especially enjoyed traveling with the medical team to provide health care in the neighboring villages. My host family was fantastic. I felt like a member of their family from the very first day. I am grateful to Durga and Bishnu for organizing my time in Nepal and for teaching me some Nepali. They made sure that I was able to see and do everything that. I wanted to do. My experience in Nepal far exceed my experience. I cannot wait to came back.

Name: Ziga Sustersic
Country: Slovenia
Gender: Male

Program : Farming Program

1. What did you average day look like?
Standing up at around 7am. After that work on the field began. At around 10am it was lunch time and breaktime during the midday.
Usually I spent it learning Nepali language and exploring the surrounding area.In the afternoon we worked again and after the dinner i was playing with kids.

2. Other things I did on my placement.
Beside field work I did short trekking near Pokhara.

3. What are some of the issues or challenges you faced?
First and most difficult was language barrier. Besides that, this was my first time in Asian country, so there was a bit of cultural shock in first days.

4. Advice to next volunteer going to your placement?

Learn as much Nepali as you can before you come there. It will help you a lot when trying to communicate with locals, and besides that you will feel
much more welcomed. Teach some English songs if you don't know it , kids love it.

5. Would you volunteer at this placement again?
yes is think so.

6. Would you volunteer at this organization again?
If there will be possibility, yes I will.

7. Suggestion or problem?
….
8 Additional comments?)

Organization during my stay in Nepal was very good, no problems. You provided good information before volunteering, short language course is also
very useful because it gives you good overview of what it is important to learn for your job.

9. Please write a Journal-type entry of you experience now. This will be for our monthly newsletter & also for our future Volunteers.

I learned , enjoyed many things during my stay in Nepal, but I will remember it the most by one thing. That is beautiful Nepalese people. Working with
them, learning their language and culture, playing and simply their lifestyle was sometimes challenging but in general beautiful experience.
Future Nepal organization prepared me very well for the visit, providing me some useful language and cultural information, which is really helpful
especially if you are facing Nepalese culture for the first time.

Name: Cristina Valdivia
Country: USA
Gender: Female
Program: 4 week travel and volunteering


1. What did you average day look like?

Everyday I got up around 6:30 am when my host family were all awake. I would make my bed & Sweep my room and my host mother would bring me milk tea. Then I would do a chore or errand I needed to do like wash my clothes. At 10am my ‘Amaa’ (host mom) would bring me breakfast. I’d watch the news in the living room before heading down to the beauty shop, owned by a woman named Tara, a local business that I was helping. Around 3pm when my “sisters” were home from school I would speak to them and other neighborhood girls about women’s life in the U.S. Around 5:30 my ”Amaa” would bring me dinner. After dinner the family spends time together and sometimes my sisters would dance in the living room to new Hindi & Nepali songs. Around 8pm I would retire to my room to read or listen to music for a few hours before going to bed.

2. Other things I did on my placement.

During my placement I went to my 'Sisters' collage to speak to university girls about women's life in America. I helped a local women with her business. I also helped harvest rice.

3. What are some of the issues or challenges you faced?

A challenge I faced was language. There was a language barrier when trying to help the older village women with their small businesses. It may be helpful to have a teenage translate.

4. Advice to next volunteer going to your placement?

My advice to the next Volunteer would have to be learn the language as best as you can and make yourself aware of local customs such as greeting people with the phrase "Namaste" while placing both your hands in prayer position close to your chest. This is a sign of respect which is appreciated & goes a long way

5. Would you volunteer at this placement again?
I would Definitely volunteer with this organization again and would be more than happy to volunteer in this placement again.

6. Suggestion or problem?
Everything is considered communal. You may fine your host sister or brother wearing the sandals you left by the door last night. If you and yourself in need of sandals it is more than acceptable to theow on a pare of their.

7. Additional comments?
What and how much you want to do is up to you. Care prepared with a plane of action, the sky's the limit!

8. Please write a Journal-type entry of you experience now. This will be for our monthly newsletter & also for our future Volunteers.
Nepal was beautiful. After arriving in the hectic city of Kathmandu I was excited to be going out to the quite countryside. I looked out the window on the bus ride and saw beautiful rolling hills, mountains, river banks and streams. We got to the village I was staying at and I found Nepal’s people were just as beautiful as it’s country. My host family warmly greeted me . My host mother, brother and sister were absolutely wonderful. They were thoughtful, inviting, attentive and caring. They were everything you could have wished for in a host family and made my trip more than memorable. I will always remember my sisters dancing to the latest popular song, my brother making funny jokes and my mother bringing me tea every morning. I learned how to live a simpler less choosy life. Life in the village lacked the stress of many modern day cities and consisted of a closely knit community. I will always be grateful for this experience and hope to live a simpler and happier life life the one I experienced here when I go back home to the states. Over all I had a wonderful experience and appreciate Durga’s Strong support in the whole process.

Name: Dr Melissa Everett
Country: UK
Gender: Female
Program: 4 week travel and volunteering + 1 week volunteering progra
m

1. What did you average day look like?
I usually got up at 6 am, the rest of the family would usually be up already. I’d hear Baba(Father of host family) playing his music and singing. I washed and dressed. No hot water in our house, I quickly got used to cold washes. We would then milk the buffalo & have warm buffalo milk before going for our morning walk, the morning walk was around the village – Baba & I always went, sometimes some of the children would also care. We did 10 minutes of exercises when we got back then I would usually write my journal and get ready for the day. Breakfast was about 9-9:30, dahl, bhat & buffalo milk. I would go to the clinic about 10 am, either by walking or Baba would take me on the back of his Motorbike.

The clinic was often quite in the mornings and when there was no patient I’d study, or do some paper work. I did on inventory of the drugs and some auditing of the mobile clinics and dressings.

When patients came I’d see them with one of the helpful Nepali staff, who would translate for me. I could use same of my limited Nepali to ask some questions, but often had difficulty understanding the replies. The notes were in English, but often with typical ‘ doctors’ writing. There were different specialists who came on certain days, who I could sit in with, although little of what was said was translated so this was of limited benefit.

After work I’d be picked up, usually by Baba. The evenings before dinner were usually spent playing games- cards, chess or catch with the children, who were bright and cheerful and very interested in me and my things. I also spent this time helping with cooking dinner and learning how to make dahl bhat.

After dinner we’d sometime sit around the campfire, I didn’t understand much of what said but enjoyed being there, then we’d go upstairs. Baba would play his harmonium and we’d sing. After this we’d watch television for a while. There was often fruit to be share. Then I’d be exhausted & excuse myself. I was usually in bed by 8:30- 9 pm & read for a few minutes before sleeping.

2. Other things I did on my placement.
I had a chance to go & see the cancer hospital, government hospital & medical school in Bharatpur. This was an interesting experience and the difference between the beautifully laid out a wall equipped cancer hospital to the very basic government hospital with a poorly equipped emergency room to the still basic but much better equipped emergency room to the still basic but much better equipped medical school gave me a lot to think about.

I also decided to run a first aid course, I prompted by the presentation of a child with a scald in the clinic which had been treated with talcum powder. I had initially planned to do this at the school but couldn’t because of exams so instead do it for the local scout pack. Another volunteer was interested in helping so together we planned the course and wrote a leaflet to give out. We decided that with a language barrier and no resuscitation doll it would be very difficult to teach CPR, so instead concentrated on injuries, choking, burns and the recovery position. It seemed to go down well but a second course in CRP plus a review of what we’d covered would be good.

3. What are some of the issues or challenges you faced?
Language was an obvious challenge. I knew a few words in Nepali but had difficult understanding what was said to me, although this improve during my stay.

Often only a fraction of what was said was translated for me and also only a fraction of what I said was translated for the patient and the scant group.

There were also medical challenges, I found that often people were over treated and over investigated, especially with antibiotics. Again with the language difficulties offering on explanation as to why these weren’t necessary was challenging, I also suspect that not being given antibiotics by me, patients would get them from the pharmacy, where they seemed to be handed out to any body who asked.

Another challenge was that some of the medication used I was unfamiliar with and medication I was used to using wasn’t available.

Language surprisingly wasn’t a problem as much with host family, although I did struggle personally with same of the cultural differences.

That spring to mind are the ride and treatment of women, with them serving the men & children and eating separately and on the floor, while myself & the men sat at the table.

The second, that I only experienced a few times and not directly, was the disciplining of the children, through physical violence.

4. Advice to next volunteer going to your placement?
Take on open mind, books/ games for the children are also handy. Also take clothes that you're happy to leave behind - more room for souvenirs and the clothes are appreciated somewhere.

Learn as much Nepali language as possible, it really helps.
It’s very difficult to change how things work in a short time, but every little helps.

5. Would you volunteer at this placement again?
Yes, I’d volunteer with the placement again.

6. Suggestion or problem?
More Nepali language would be good, with a chance to practice conversation.

7. Additional comments?
Had a great time, I feel so lucky to have been able to go back and see how quickly the village is changing.

8. Please write a Journal-type entry of you experience now. This will be for our monthly newsletter & also for our future Volunteers.
I had some time in between jobs and decided to visit Nepal for work and travel I am a doctor and wanted to work in this setting I found Inside Nepal on the internet & and their volunteering and traveling placement suited my needs as well as my lack of time to organize anything myself.

I flew into Kathmandu & was met by the friendly & helpful Bishnu at the airport, who leant me money for my visa, as rather cash machine was working. I later met Durga and Sujan. My first few days involved some Nepali lesion and sightseeing around Kathmandu as well as some briefing on my placement & home stay.

We then journeyed to Meghauli, which is a tharu village in chitwan district. It wasn’t on the tourist trail and saw few westerner. There were buffalo, goat, dogs, chickens and ducks galore, but few cars. I was introduced to the friendly clinic staff and my new family. The next 3 weeks passed very quickly, with seeing patients, day trips to hospitals, local beauty spots & places of interest. I came to love & respect my family who worked incredibly hard, I helped on the farm, learn to cook dahl bhat & to milk the buffalo, was welcomed in the family & taken to a picnic & music programs, gave & received tika, was invited to many peoples houses and become known around the village for our morning walk. The clinic staff was friendly & helpful. The work itself wasn’t particularly challenging, but the language problem, patient’s expectations and usual medical practice was while there I also planed and run a first aid course for the scouts, climbed a tree to escape a rhino and experienced elephant both time.

The rest of the program was well planed My Sherpa trekking guide was always happy . The rafting was fun & set as add as I had feared, the lovely Durga joined in which was great I am already planning my tour trip to see my family & do more trekking – Everest base camp here I come.

Name: Cameron Hawke-Smith
Age: 64 Gender: Male
Program : 5 weeks
volunteering in orphan home and monastery

Ist placement (at Orphanage, Khusibu)

What did your average day look like?
Up at 6.30, breakfast with the children 7am, helping to get them ready for school, during term time. Accompanying children to school talking to teachers and attending some classes. Teaching two classes a day of English at junior and senior levels. Accompanying children back. Spending 2-3 hours with them helping with reading, homework, joining in games.

Other things I did on my placement
During the holiday (and the school’s closure due to the ‘strike’) I spent some time thinking up games and activities for them and took them for a walk to Bazantipur.

What were some of the issues and challenges you faced?
The accommodation was spacious but very noisy at night (didn’t sleep well!). The sanitary facilities were below an acceptable standard.

Would you volunteer at this location again? I enjoyed the experience and found the children and adults very friendly and supportive. There was not as much teaching as I would have liked, and the children were younger than I am used to. I am not sure whether I shoild chooseto do it again.


2nd placement (at Theravada Buddhist Monastery)
What did an average day look like?
Up by 5am for breakfast (and attending puja, for time to time!) 10am I hr session with other teachers, improving their English and discussing reching methods); 3pm I hour lesson in English with juniors (about 20 students ages 7-15). 7pm I hour teaching seniors (15-18). Otherwise could attend meditation sessions, puja, etc as desired.

What were some of the issues or challenges you faced?
The monastery school has its own methods which are in some ways alien to the modern western educational approach. There is a huge emphasis on rote learning, and little importance given to thinking for oneself. The children do not play games and follow an exceeding rigid daily routine. My approach to teaching (which is standard for TEFL these days) was very different and I was successful with the teachers and the seniors, less successful with the juniors. There was little opportunity to get to know the children well outside the classroom and the school structure and routine was complex and sometimes off-putting.

Advice to next volunteer going to the placement?
The variety of Buddhism is the SE Asian type (which claims to be closest to the original teachings of Buddha). There is massive emphasis on self-perfection and very little on social activities. I found little in it to inspire or excite, though I still learnt a great deal. The volunteer will not find a very supportive system in place in terms of accommodation and presentation of lessons. There is almost nothing in the way of resources: no computers, projectors, even basics like blus tac, cellotape, crayons are hard to come by. The facilities at the monastery were extremely clean.

My month in Kathmandu
I chose to go to Nepal because I wanted to find a country as unlike Britain as I could. That I certainly achieved. I chose to volunteer because I wanted not to see the country as a tourist sees it, but to understand it as someone living and working there. The two placements were an outstanding opportunity to do just this. The first placement was very positive: I learnt how people live on almost nothing, coped with daily cuts in electricity, shortage of water, and political shutdowns, but always managed to stay calm and happy.
The second placement gave me an entirely different set of insights. I had perhaps thought as a westerner that Buddhism had some of the answers to our global problems. I still think there is something in this, but I learnt also that even the most idealistic institutions have their shortcomings. We are all human.

Name: Carol Wen Szeto
Country: US
Age: 27
Gender: Female
Program: 5 weeks Travel and volunteering

1. What did you average day look like?
Wake up at 6 am. Have a cup of hot tea together with everybody in the house. Walk with the boys to Karate class around 6:30 am, while breathing in fresh morning air and watching the sun light up the peaks of the show capped mountains. Take a stroll or jog around the neighborhood while waiting for class to finish. Go home, have daal bhaat around 9:00 am, and send the boys to their school bus stops. Free time from 10am-2pm. On some days, I walk out to town to use the internet and do some shopping. On other days, I just stay around and read a book or help with house work. Most children come home between 2-4 pm . We usually play some card games together while waiting for tea time. After tea, it’s homework time. If no one needs help with his home work, I will water the garden. In the early evening, I play with the boys in one of the empty fields around the house. Dinner is served at 7pm. I eat with the house father and mother after the boys go off to bed. After dinner and some chit chat, everyone retires to bed around 8:30pm, and prepare to rise early the next mornings.

2) Other things I did on my placement.
Much of my work was summed up in. Since there is a housekeeper and two other volunteers staying at the orphanage, there were not as much to do as I had expected. The main objective was to give the boys as much attention as possible. Outside of spending time with the children, volunteers also help with house work, such as watering the vegetable garden, house cleaning, helping the boys with the laundry, washing and cutting vegetables for meals, and occasionally helping the house mother with food shopping. On one of the days, we found that a lot of the children’s clothes had holes. So I and the other volunteers spent a day sewing up all the worn-out clothing for them. In the final week of my placement, most children had holidays from school. Be took them out for a day trip to the ‘Kahun Dhanda Viewpoint’ in one of the surround hills.

3) What are some of the issues or challenges you faced?
Having enough energy to finish the day. Although it seems there was not much to do around the house, just spending time with the boys can take all the steam out of you. Children in Nepal are exceptionally energetic, much more so than those back home. They can run, play, roam around the house and the neighborhood all day long and expect you to be able to accompany them. The first two days I was so exhausted by the end of the day I went to bed early and skipped dinner.

Taking children out on day trip can be a major undertaking. At times it is good to be liberal and let them choose where to go. But remember you should retain the final control. Each of them would have a different idea for what they want to do and the competition would get so fierce that they would not start fighting with each other. In the end, no matter idea are adapted, someone would be unhappy. There is never a consensus,

Adapting to the Nepali diet and meal schedual was probably the biggest challenge. I am not accustomed to having a huge meal of rice and curry very early in the morning. Usually I would not have much appetite for the morning daal bhaat. Then the day can be very long before another substantial meal is served again in the evening, I almost always had to eat something else during the day, and it feels impolite to let the house mother know that her food was insufficient, especially when everyone else in the house is eating the food. But other volunteers are expressing the same concerns. So it will just take time to adjust.

4) Advice to next volunteer going to your placement?
a) Have a plan for what you would like to achieve in the placement, particularly if you only have a short time. Otherwise, the days can fly and you will feel like you haven’t made the changes you would like before it’s time to say goodbye. On the other hand, you should also be flexible or have back-up plans. As I have learned in my 5 weeks here, everything in Nepal can change constantly. There are always surprises. Other than “same same, but different”, the one phrase I heard the most during my time here is “not fixed”. It can be frustrating when you made plans to do something or a particular day and something came up and totally change your plans. So have back-up.

b) If you plane to come during the winter months, be prepared for some shoking but relaxing cold showers! There is no hot water in the house. So it best to take your showers around noon when you can sit under the sun and warm yourself up after a cold shower. Or adopt the Nepali way and shower only once a week when everyone else in the house gets a bucket of hot boiled water for shower.


5) Would you volunteer at this placement again?
I would go back and visit the boys and family, just to see how they are doing. The house is very nicely kept and living condition was much better then I had except. However, if I had more time on hand, I would prefer to be placed at another orphanage where my help is in more demand, and somewhere that I can really do something to make a different.

6) Would you volunteer at this organization again?
I would come back to Future Nepal for help finding volunteer placement. Future Nepal has been great in getting me orientated and introducing me to the country. I cannot imagine getting settle in at Kathmandu without the help of Future Nepal.

7) Suggestion or problem?
The Program was a great introduction in to Nepal, not only from a tourist’s perspective. It is also allows me to look closely into the daily life of a typical Nepali family, and inspire me to think about ways to help make a different in this needy country. This was indeed a once-in-a-life time experience for me, except that 5 weeks is too short with too much to explore! Nepal is a fascinating country, with some of the most sincere people I’ve met, beautiful natural sceneries, and a unique yet diverse culture, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute spent here, and look forward to a even more rewarding and meaningful journey back in the near future.

8 Additional comments?
It was unfortunate that I had no more opportunity to visit or teach the children in their school to get a better understanding of the education system and school life in the country. I look forward to a chance to do this in my next visit, particularly in a government school, where better teaching is more immediately needed to benefit the country’s next generation

Name: Alex Kowalska
Country: Poland
Age: 32
Gender: Female
Program: 3 mohnts Volunteering and Traveling

1 ) a. Where did you go for placement?
a. I went to the orphanage house in Kathmandu and in Pokhara.

b. How long did you stay there?
I stayed one month in Kathmandu and two weeks in Pokhara.

c. What did your average day look like
After waking up I went to the orphanage to say good morning to children, we had breakfast together. Then I helped the children to get ready for school and then we walked to school together.

2) List 9 other activities you have done during your placement.
I was practicing yoga and meditation at the yoga center
I went sightseeing
I went to Pokhara for a 3 day visit
I went trekking to the Everest Base Camp
I spent time with Nepali family and learned about Nepali culture .
I went rafting
I was riding on the elephant when I did Jungle safari in Chitwan National Park
I attended lectures on Buddhism and meditation at the Kopan monastery
I went to Tibet and China

3) Describe some challenges/ issues/uneasy situations you have across.
Once you realize that you are in a developing country, it is much better to accept the things they are without worrying about them. I found it difficult to have shower in cold water at first. Later on I was happy there was water available. No matter if it was cold or warm.

Sometimes people see you and think that you are foreigner and you definately have a lot of money. Because of their assumption they may ask you to give them some money and they might try and sell things to you with much more expensive price, etc...

You may find yourself in the situation that the taxi driver is asking for much more than you should normally pay. You just need to get used to it. Sometimes you will manage to bargain, sometimes you won’t. What to do...(as the Nepali say)

I really cannot think of anything more than that. People are normally very friendly, attentive, fun loving and open.

4) Is there any advice, suggestion or recommendation that you would like to share with other volunteers going to your or similar placement?

I think the volunteers can share a lot of similar experience but each of the situations is different. I can only suggest staying calm and going with the flow. Not to worry as everything gets sorted out sooner or later and everyday is a great adventure. When you look back at the situation you you managed to solve, you get a great sence of achievement and satisfaction.

5) Would you like volunteer with the same organization again?
I would love to volunteer with the same organization any time. Actually I cannot imagine volunteering with any other. Durga has been just exceptional. I became friends with Durga and with all her family. In case of any little problem or question I had I could always ask her for help and she did more than enough to help me. Furthermore, Durga is a very open minded lady looking for improving her organization to suit everybody’s needs. She is very responsible and she never let me down.

6) Would you like volunteer with the same placement again?
It would be really wonderful to be able to come back to the same places and see the children I have been working with.

7) Evaluate your overall volunteering experience.
I estimate my experience for 10. I cannot compare it to anything that had ever happened to me before. I have learned so much about the world, about the people and about myself. I think that if I stayed at home doing what I am doing I would have never had an opportunity to explore myself as a person in the similar way and receive so much love and care.

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Volunteer's Experience

Yana Lyashenko

At the monastery i spent an incrediable time, was happy to know the buddhism lifestyle, to teach kids, to know the other and make new friends.

Volunteer's Experience 2013
 

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Bug Katherine Allen
What an amazing 2 months probably some of the best of my life! I have so much to thank you for introducing me to two families I will be friends with for life, helping me to gain incredibly valuable ...
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