Traveling Health Skits - Seven Australian Volunteers 

It was late March when we arrived in Kathmandu eager to find some volunteer  work. We were seven who wanted to do community work while cycling from Kathmandu  to Darjeeling (INDIA). For most of us, it was our first trip to Nepal so we were  fascinated by the unique culture that we found there.

We were excited when we  discovered that INFO offered a volunteering opportunity. We all agreed to  visit schools performing dramas about sanitation, environmental awareness and  AIDS. Our first appointment, was in Chitwan where we performed at the well  known "BIKRAM BABA " HINDU cultural festival. We were probably the only Westerners there so it was easy to draw a crowd with noisy whistling, shouting  and clapping. With Bishnu and Asim interpreting we rewarded prizes of soap,  toothpaste and toothbrushes to the curious crows. We performed for three  consecutive days, and were surprised when asked to sit on stage as VIP guests and  to perform in front of a huge mass.

Meghauli was our next stop, a small village in Chitwan. We began to visit schools, the first of which the students spoke little English so our  communication skills were put to the test. The Boarding schools looked an oasis in a sea of Nepali as some students had outstanding English skills. The  young children were delightful and very intelligent for their age.

Hetauda was our third stop. We stayed with a family 5km out of town and cycled to the  local schools, one in the morning and another in the afternoon. The children  would flock to us as soon as we rolled in the gates. Our hosts' family lived  near a village with a river and after each hot day in the Terai, we would walk through the rice field to bathe in the cool water. We all grew to love the lady who  provided our meals in the bamboo hut at the truck stop across the road. A highlight of doing these projects was the opportunity to stay with the locals  and gain insight into their culture and way of life. Dal / Bhat for breakfast  and dinner became somewhat normal and the Masala tea was a favorite with all.  Swimming and bathing outdoors in our Lungi's and shorts was an experience. We  believe we have gained experiences that we would never gained had we stayed in  guesthouse and stuck to the main tourist areas. It's an experience we will always remember. Thanks to INFO for all this.