Monday 27 August 2012

Volunteering in Kathmandu, Nepal

I recently returned to Ireland after being in Kathmandu, Nepal for three weeks. I was over there doing some volunteer work. In the mornings I worked in an Elderly Home and in the afternoons I taught English to ladies as part of a Women's Empowerment program.
This is the view on the evening we arrived. We ate all our meals on a sort of veranda, outdoors with this vista!

Our accomodation was situated in an area called Panitanke (translates as water tank) which was great because I got to immerse myself in the local culture instead of staying in tourist spots. These cows were just wandering around outside :) Also there were monkeys everywhere- Such as on my way to work in the picture below. We were told not to make eye contact with the monkeys as they would attack you- And they carried rabies. 

They didn't really like rice much over there!!
 There were so many stray dogs all over the streets. The first few nights I found it very hard to sleep because of the gangs of dogs running around outside barking and fighting. Then during the daytime they sleep! I felt like shouting at them sleeping on the paths and waking them up for keeping me up at night! one of the dogs had puppies on a little side street near where I was staying however and they really were the cutest little things ever!

This is the crematorium. The orange is a cloth covering the body of a lady which is about to be burned. I didn't stay here for long because I honestly felt a bit voyeuristic, even though the place was thronged with tourists.
 This are images of the local 'stupa' which is a temple. The colourful flags are all prayer flags, each time the flag flaps in the wind the prayer is iterated.

This is a monkey on the roof at the elderly home- It stole biscuits from one of the old men living there!

Claire and I on our last week went to Naj's Tailorshop and were measured for shalwars (trousers) and kurtas (tops). The shop was owned by the Naj family. Husnaj worked for IDEX (the group I volunteered with) and she gave us lots of help planning out English lessons (She also explained how the traditional Sari is only for married women). Her older sister Shahanaj also worked for IDEX. Claire and i took to calling ourselves Clairenaj and Katienaj when we were in our traditional Nepali outfits :) The second picture is Clairenaj with Mr. Naj, Husnaj, Husnaj's younger brother and Mrs. Naj on th right.

I made a very cute friend! This is a Japanese Spitz from a pet shop :)]
After three weeks in a third world country I was definitely ready to come home. It was very diffiIcult out there I found with being stared at everywhere you go and the smells and pot-holed roads! I think my time there does make me appreciate everything I have a lot more now. When you see the people there surviving without so many comforts that I take for granted (for example, they all brush their teeth on the streets in front of their houses) it makes you think about what is actually important in life.

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