Jenny Taylor
Nirmal Pokhari and Chitwan Ganganagar   - 20th Jan Ė 19th March 2007

I can honestly say this has been the most inspiring and amazing 2 months of my life, Thank You to everyone at INFO Nepal you are all doing a fantastic job. From the minute I arrived in Nepal I knew I was going to have an unforgettable experience. Arriving at night during a power cut and one of the many strikes was possibly not the best time to arrive, but a good idea of what to expect. On arrival I was welcomed into the INFO Nepal family and paired with another volunteer Nicky, we stayed together for the 2 months of my placement. Language training and sightseeing began immediately, with so much to see and do I realized I had a challenging 2 months ahead of me.
Nicky and I were taken to our training village, Sanga to continue our language and cultural training. This was very enjoyable, even though I was rather hopeless at the language. Sanga was an excellent way to get used to village life, half way between Kathmandu and my placement. It gave me time to adjust to eating Dhal Bhat twice a day with my right hand, using an outside charpi and being a 45 minute uphill walk from the nearest small shop. Iíll never forget having language classes with Krishna (my Nepali guru) eating pop-corn while kid goats munched our clothes and head-butted us. Thank you to Pashupati who came round everyday to take us sightseeing to a different temple and was always singing to us.
After our training and staying at Happy Home we were taken to our placement in Nirmal-Pokari, we were immediately welcomed into the village and became part of the family. The children met us with loud cheering and my initial thought was oh my god how are we going to control over 20 small children? After around a week of the children and us getting to know each other we formed close bonds, especially with the two boys living next door to us. Teaching became fun, in the morning we taught the younger children at the library from 7am-8.45am. It was then home for Dhal Bhat and off to the local government primary school to teach from 10am-1pm. This was very useful as we gained useful knowledge on how to teach e.g. you can never go to slow when getting children to repeat out loud. Nirmal-Pokari is a very bumpy hour and a half bus ride uphill from Pokhara, the views are fantastic, though it was incredibly cold at times. Everyday water is taken from a spring at the bottom of the mountain, it is such hard work. There are children of 7years carrying pails of water that must weigh more than them up mountain stairs, making you realize just how easy we have it back in the U.K. I loved being there, when it came to saying bye I didnít realize just how attached I had become to the children and the village it was a very emotional day.
A few days in Kathmandu and we were ready to leave, Nicky and I stayed together and moved placement to Ganganagar, Chitwan. Here Nicky will continue to help the construction of the new orphanage while teaching the local children in the library. I got the privilege of spending a week with the children of Gaganagar and continuing the good work of all the previous volunteers. Chitwan is a beautiful place with such kind and generous people, I was welcomed into a lovely family. The landscape is so totally different from Pokhara, it is almost like being in Africa at times and everyone has manual well pumps in the garden for water and showering. I had said goodbye to freezing in my lunge at the bottom of a mountain, trying to shower in the water tap with half the village watching.
I have made friends for life in Nepal and I will never forget this experience, Thank You to Asim and everyone working for INFO Nepal. If anyone is looking for a unique, challenging and rewarding experience then look no further. I am making plans to return to Nepal as soon as possible. Jenny