This is Nohal Rady, or easier, Nunu (the kids knew me by
this nick name).
I am Egyptian and one of my dreams is to do a
volunteer work in each of the developing continents (Africa, South America and
Asia). So, here, part of my dream came true
So, I did a 2 weeks volunteer work with INFO Nepal. They
went really fast, I could not believe it!
This is how it went: I arrived in Kathmandu on the 3rd
of November 04 and took a couple of Nepali classes; cultural information about
the Nepali way of living and off we went to Chitwan.
There, I got introduced to my new family:
I had my own clean room, bed, mosquito net, own bathroom
(no hot water of course) but it was more than enough. So, the settlement itself
was really good.
I had no clue what I was going to do with the kids… I had
some ideas for games, crafts, drawings and my main aim was to make the Children
speak English in a fun way and to improve their health and sanitation status.
So, I kicked off my theme with the kids the first day. It
was “Keep Smiling” whatever happens. I thought it was a nice theme especially
for orphans, and at the same time, opened up a great deal of decoration items.
So, the first game was a racing game (under a table, then
with a balloon between their legs), and they ended up getting a round peice of
carton and a ribbon. I started explaining to them, that it is a smiley face and
each one would write his name on the smiley face and draw eyes, nose, a smiley
mouth, then pierce it and put the ribbon around their hand. This way I could
remember more their names.
Then I explained to them, that I am here to help them
practice their English,, to play with them, do sports and have fun.
Every morning, we woke up at 6am and had our sports session
from 7-8. In this session, we used to do some warming exercises, then at least
30 – 45 minutes of Karate (I have a black belt in Karate). The kids had great
fun especially the girls.
After that, was time for them to finish their studying and
I used to help them in their Maths and English homework.
Out of the 14 days I was there, 7 were holidays! So, those
days were so much fun but at the sane time, so tiring for meJ.
(wanting to fill the kids’ day with a lot of games, drawings, dancing, … )
So, for the kinds of games we played, there were a lot:
We also did a lot of crafts. That was either after school
(on their school days) or during the morning on holidays.
We did some decoration for the front door of the orphanage
with the logo. Each kid had one letter to do on colored solid papers, using
sticking ornaments that I brought with me from Cairo. The result was really
Other crafts and drawings were:
Drawing of what they like most in their country with the flag
Nepal. They were really creative and we used mashed papers, ter ter (small
ornaments), .. And we hung those drawings in their studying / dining area
Another time, we learnt the animal names in English and they drew
their favorite animals.
We each did a small card with the parts of the faces (that they
described in English by writing in the card) and hung it in the hall as well.
We did some decoration for the Festival (with solid papers)
We did Pom-poms (like the cheer leaders ones)
And on one off day, we had a long “World” game. The kids were
divided in groups. Each one represented a continent. I had a world map where I
explained to them the different components of the world: Continents, oceans,
countries, capital, language, …). Then each group had to learn the following
information about his/her continent.
A Country name (that I selected)
How to say Good morning in the language ..
It was a fun game and it shows you how much potential those
kids have and how much they want to learn. We then had a competition game to see
who remembers the information about the world and each kid picked any flag (from
a huge flags card) and drew it. Everything was hung again in their hall.
The whole evaluation of the program was based on small
smiley faces that I made and that I gave to the kids who did good things: i.e.
smiled, were helping others, were trying to speak in English, said sorry if they
did something wrong, won in a game… It was an incentive for them to work harder.
We had nice walks to the river and had dancing classes
J where they tried to teach me
Nepali dancing and I taught them some Belly dancing. I forgot to mention, that
the first day, I bought them a Cassette player since that was the only source of
entertainment those kids could have.
One last thing, I was lucky to be there on their “brother –
sister” Diwali festival. I participated in the Bayli the kids did in the
village (going around the houses, dancing and singing and getting money and rice
from the families). I also had a great time on the Sunday morning, when we ate
the sweets and we put the tikka on the “brothers’ foreheads”.
So, I had a great experience. I learnt a lot from the kids
be it tolerance, innocence, gratitude, how to enjoy the little things … and I
hope they took away something from me as well.
Finally, I really enjoyed my placement with INFO Nepal. I
can see that they are genuine about helping others and work hard to find the
really needy people that they can help.
And, it goes without saying: Nepal is a wonderful country!
You can see what this world has to offer in only one country: Jungle, wild
animals and warm weather (that was in Chitwan) and mountains, trekking,
beautiful thick forests and hills (Nagarkot and Kathmandu). What all the places
have in common is the people. The warm, hospitable, friendly people of Nepal
who make your stay as agreeable as it can get. They love to see foreigners and
want to know all about your life (of course, sometimes you wonder if you will
ever be able to sit alone for 20 minutes and just read your book, because you
keep getting the local people around you, chatting with you
J). I did not mind that at all. I
even made a lot of friends in Sauraha, got invited for BBQs in some lodges, had
Dal Bhat with the army people inside their camp, got great discounts for the
elephant ride and the jungle tour, discounts on the bike renting – because I was
a volunteer, … Everyone in Sauraha knew there was a Volunteer called Nunu in the
area and believe me, they knew very well where I was at all times, whom I talked
to, what I did all day J and the
amazing thing is that the kids used to laugh when I tried to do things the
Nepali Way: Bath under the water pump for example or eat with my hands, do Bayli
with them before the festival, …
Finally, I had a BLAST here in Nepal