These past 2 weeks have been nothing but eye-opening for me.
Nepal is a country based on deeply-rooted faith, tradition and welcoming attitude towards guests. Coming from a Christian society, I have been exposed to a variety of Hindu and Buddhist places of worship during my cultural week. The first week provided me with opportunities to grow, learn and immerse myself to be able to understand their way of life.
The week started off with a pooja (Morning Prayer ritual) and our coordinators gifted us with a Nepali Name. I was given the Name Menuka, which means “Princess”.
Although I have seen plenty of places of worship, the walkthrough Kirtipur was the activities that stood out the most. Despite it being so close to Thamel, it is very different from the city. I was able to interact with the locals, both young and old, allowing me to experience a different side of Kathmandu. It is refreshing to see locals being so open and friendly to foreigners.
To further immerse my fellow participants and myself into the Nepalese way of life, the coordinator arranged cooking classes, Nepalese language class and Yoga. I personally feel that the cultural week is essential as I might not be as an empathetic participant if I had not gone through the program.
For the second week, I have been teaching at a kindergarten for underprivileged children. I feel grateful to have been part of an organization that is able to provide free education for these children, allowing to enter into public school. It has been an interesting journey to be able to communicate and deliver lessons to these children as they have very basic English skills. Initially, found it a bit of difficulty to connect with them due to the language barrier. However, I quickly learnt to communicate and understand after a few days of interaction with them.
The process of getting to know them is definitely a two-way street and the children openness towards me made it easier for me to develop a deeper connection with them.
Saying goodbye to the children is going to be difficult because they left an everlasting impression on me with such a short period of time.
The experience is definitely worth it and it is a something I would most definitely recommend to anyone who is considering volunteering in Nepal.
Maria Edelskov, Denmark