Monday, June 11, 2012

And it's goodbye from me...

Hello everyone.  This is a very sad blog update for me to write because it is my last.  After today, I will no longer be working for PoD Nepal.  I’ve had an amazing 2 years in Nepal, but sometimes it’s just time to go home.  So, next week, I shall be packing up my bags and getting back on a plane to sunny old Manchester.  But, before I go, I want to do an Oscar style speech, gushing about the wonderful people and experiences I have had in Nepal.  I hope you don’t mind...

Leaving party at APS
Firstly, I’d like to talk about the people I’ve met here in Nepal.  I’m constantly blown away by local staff, children and volunteers alike.  Staff make the most of the limited resources and infrastructure in Nepal to support some of the community’s neediest people.  I’m not sure if their hearts of sense of determination is bigger, but they have a lot of each!  Often, their work is pioneering in that it challenges the cultural stereotypes and status quo.  It takes a special type of person to be able to identify social problems and then to act upon them.

The children and clients that I have come across are equally awe inspiring.  Many of them have faced – and are still facing – the toughest of conditions; poverty, abandonment, domestic violence, discrimination, loss of mobility. But, despite all of this, they carry on.  They smile and laugh and play and welcome our volunteers into their lives.  Their resilience and determination demand that we get to know them as individuals in their own right, not just as the faces of the social problems they face.  It has truly been a pleasure to get to know each and every one of them.
Saying goodbye to the Street Kids' Centre

Finally, our volunteers.  Wow.  What a bunch!  It would be easy for me to become complacent about this group.  I have been fortunate enough to meet a large number of these people.  People willing to give up their time, money and efforts to help people that they have never even met.  So, I need to keep reminding myself that this isn’t the norm.  Most people head for a swimming pool or beach in their holidays.  I feel incredibly lucky to have met a lot of the few who choose to dedicate their hard earned breaks to serving others.

Each of these individuals has played a vital part in the work of PoD Nepal.  It’s thanks to their combined efforts that I’ve witnessed some real changes in the projects we work with.  I’ve seen teachers taking on new teaching methods and the shy kids at the back of the class blossoming under the praise and support of volunteers.   I’ve heard the huge improvements in the English levels of the children we work with.  I’ve seen scared and angry newcomers at the Street Kids’ Centre be coaxed into joining sessions and having fun.  None of this would have been possible without the time and attention given by local staff and international volunteers.  What a team!
Farewell to the Asha Foundation 

I’ve seen PoD Charity grow from an idea into a really effective channel for distributing support where needed.  Thanks to PoD Charity and its generous donors, many of our placements have undergone real transformations.  All of the classrooms we work in now have whiteboards.  Shree Krishna school has access to clean drinking water.  The Street Kids’ Centre has a sheltered outdoor area to keep little heads dry in the rain and cool in the sun.  The kids at the Asha Foundation can now close their windows and doors to keep out the dust and bugs.  Annurpurna Primary school now has the funds to ensure that each child gets a decent meal at lunchtime.  Ward 6 day care centre has a huge toy box filled with educational toys and resources.  Dipya Jyoti has a well resourced and expanding school library.  And these are just some of the examples of where your donations and fund raising efforts have helped.  A huge thank you to everyone who has contributed, and please, keep up the good work!

Apart from all the great work our volunteers have done in the community, they have provided me with a lot of good times and a lot of new friends.  They have provided me with hours of momo making (and eating!), relaxing by the lake, short lived keep fit regimes, nights at the Silk Road, days out and mini adventures.  Of course, as with any friendships, we are not only there for each other during the fun times, and we have faced our fair share of challenges together.  We’ve dealt with cockroaches, unwanted admirers and middle aged Nepali women hell bent on stuffing us with dal bhat until us explode.  We’ve stood together and watched helplessly as our shoes have been washed right off our feet by the monsoon rains.  We’ve spent hours on a buses with chickens on our laps.  We’ve stumbled through the streets in the dark of power cuts, blindly dodging sleeping cows and buffalo that only came into view once we were almost on top of them.  We’ve shivered together them in winter and sweated together in summer.  We’ve shared intimate information about our bowel movements, inspected each other’s insect bites and combed out our nits.  And you know what?  I have enjoyed every minute.  Thanks to all of the people who have made my time with PoD Nepal a fantastic experience.  I leave here feeling inspired and humbled by you all.

For more information on our work in Nepal and how to join our team, look at our website or contact Becky in the UK on 01242 250 901.  If you would like to help, but don't have the time to come in person right now, you can always make a donation to the PoD Charity and help fund our work here. 

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