Traveling Health Skits - Seven
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.