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 J

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:

  • piercing balloons

  • races with their legs tied together

  • football games

  • Handkerchief

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 beautiful.

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.

  • Continent name

  • A Country name (that I selected)

  • Capital

  • Language spoken

  • 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