Emilie Reports From Bede's Nepal Trip
Last term, a group of eight Bede’s students set off for Nepal, accompanied by Mrs Sparkes, to volunteer alongside Tibetan monks and experience some of what life is like in this little-known part of Asia.
The trip lasted two and a half weeks, during which every day saw us participating in multiple activities from visiting the capital, volunteering for five days in a Tibetan refugee settlement, trekking, white water rafting and more!
The group had several workshops with charities based in Nepal, the two which stood out being the Department of International Development (DFID) and the Ghurkha Welfare Scheme.
At DFID we received talks on how the UK government’s money is spent in Nepal and how it has a remarkable impact on the people’s lives; for me the most interesting scheme they had was the Female Community Health Volunteers (FCHV) set up to combat the issue of poor medical care in rural mountainous areas, especially regarding pregnancies and births.
We also stayed in Tashiling, a Tibetan refugee settlement in Pokhara, the second largest city in Nepal, for 5 days. The Tibetan people are not granted citizenship in Nepal and therefore cannot get jobs; they must rely on selling handmade souvenirs to tourists. Their arts and crafts centre was damaged in the recent earthquakes so we helped paint the new replacement building, as well as move bricks and rubble from the damaged buildings and teach English to the monks in the Tibetan monastery.
Teaching in the monastery was a lot of fun: there were two classes, one ranging from 6 to 16 years old and another from 17 to 28 years old. The younger group were cheeky, which was surprising as you would never picture monks as naughty yet it proves that children anywhere in any situation are still children.
The highlight of trekking was definitely Poon Hill, renowned for its beautiful views. We woke up at 4:30 and hiked up an hour of steep steps in the freezing cold to reach an altitude
of 3,210m. But the cold was worth the incredible scenes as we watched the sun rise above the Annapurna Mountains.
All in all the trip was an incredible experience; it has completely changed the way I view the society we live in, and I am extremely thankful to have had such a profound opportunity.