Hands for Help – Final Thoughts

October 13, 2008 3 Comments »

Nepalese Secondary School

Nepalese Secondary School

Dhal Bhat Days – vol13

While in Nepal I heard from my old students in India; they wished me a happy teacher day via email; it took me completely off guard, and shook me up a bit . It had been a year ago that I was there living in Delhi teaching my wonderful group of young adults that I become so attached to. While in Nepal I heard about the bombings in Delhi and emailed each of them to make sure they were ok and their families were safe. They all wrote back with positive responses letting me know they were fine. However, one note stuck out to me, a note from one of my favorite students, Ashish.

Respected Ma’am,
Thank you! for encouraging me and the credit for all this improvement is your hard work with us and the dedication you have to improve our life. Today’s world nobody wants to help other but you did it. It is really nice to hear that you are going to teach students, i now you will do it excellently. Yes nowadays I am working with an U.K based charity organisation ( MKC – ROKO CANCER ) as a computer operator and where i have to use English to mailing and communicate with my colleges.I have to use my Internet Browsing, and Website Designing Skills in our website. Now we can keep in touch because I have freedom to check my mails regularly. The most important thing is that I am enjoying my job, even they are paying me a lot less which I actually have to get. I hope you are well and having fun…
Even now I am working but I still need your concern and guidance forever….

This is why I do it. This is why I brave leaches, spiders, rats, cow shit, and no communicating…for a moment like this which is absolutely priceless to me. I would pull off a thousand leaches for the feeling that runs through my body when I read this.

Granted, my volunteering experience in Nepal was vastly different than my experience in India, but I know that I made some sort of impact; whether it was teaching English or simply cultural exchange.

Sun-kissed fruit for sale

Sun-kissed fruit for sale

Nepal was breathtaking and infuriating at the same time. A small country that is rich in tradition and culture, but economically poor. My old vision of Nepal was Mt. Everest and mountains; a tourist rich area that was well known around the world. However, my departing impressions of Nepal doesn’t really have anything to do with mountains or terrain – it has to do with people. People eager to learn about others, people satisfied with very little, people who live a simple life. The tourists who travel to Nepal are hearty and strong, they have to be, as Nepal is not a place for the weak. You can’t come to Nepal just to look, you need to become involved in Nepal. If you are not willing to become involved with the local people and interact, then I say, go to Switzerland and look at the mountains. However, if you are willing to put yourself out there and meet the locals, interact with the culture, then you’ve really succeeded at traveling in Nepal.

Nepal shocked me into the space I needed to be in for my move to Vietnam and for that, I’m grateful. All of these challenging experiences prepare me for the next, and the next, and the next.

To learn more about the Hands for Help Nepal NGO that I volunteered with, please check out their website at http://handsforhelp.org.np/
Hands for Help is doing a great job at really making volunteering work rewarding. For them, it’s less about the vacation and more about the volunteering, which is exactly what I was looking for. However, even though it was no posh vacation, it was filled with cultural experiences that I will never forget! Check them out if you are looking to do something meaningful and see another part of the world!  They have a variety of great programs ranging from short term to long term.  They are a great bunch of people!

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