Rachel Gates - Care, General Care Projects in Nepal
When I first applied to work in Nepal for six weeks I was incredibly excited but as July grew closer and closer I became more and more terrified! What would it be like? Would I like the food? Would everyone be nice? Would I forget to pack something important? Would I get lost at the airport? The worries just kept on coming! It was at this point that I was so glad I chose to travel with Projects Abroad as they were so helpful! Their representative in Nepal sent me many emails to reassure me and answer my questions, and they organised for me to fly with another volunteer so I felt more secure about changing planes.
When I arrived in Nepal the help continued as myself and the other volunteer were met at the airport and taken to a hotel where we met with a member of Projects Abroad staff, Shanika. Shanika returned the next day to take us to our new homes and show us around our placements. She was always around if I ever needed anything as were other members of the Projects Abroad team, which really made me feel secure. After the first week in Nepal I felt completely at home and although I missed people in England I never really felt homesick.
The culture in Nepal is truly amazing and my trip there is most definitely the best experience of my life to date. The family I lived with were so welcoming and made me feel really comfortable. I had a lovely room and shared a bathroom with a couple of other volunteers and the maid. The maid was just a few years younger than me and we became great friends. She liked to teach us Nepali words and songs and it was fun to help her cook. My host mother told me a lot about the Nepali culture and her religious beliefs which was so interesting and she would let the volunteers sit in with her when she prayed; singing and playing instruments with her. It was so much fun and so amazing to truly experience the culture in this way.
I worked at Snowland school for Tibetan orphans, sometimes teaching and other times just playing with the children or helping them informally with their English. The children were really lovely and it was so hard to leave their beautiful smiling faces. They make you feel really special and were always fascinated by my blonde hair and my clothes. The cheery ‘Namestes’ and cuddles were something I would look forward to every morning. I also had the opportunity to work a few days at NRH, a rehabilitation centre for children suffering with malnutrition (a major problem in Nepal), which was very rewarding. Although many of the children were very ill, they were always smiling and loved having the attention of volunteers.
As well as the work I had the chance at weekends to meet other volunteers from around the world and travel Nepal. I went on a jungle safari, rode in a canoe, did a terrifying bungee jump, climbed hundreds steps to amazing temples, went rafting and visited many colourful markets. The other volunteers were wonderful people and I made so many friends and had the most fantastic time. I definitely caught the Nepal bug and know I will have to go back!