Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A blog from Sarah

Blog post written by Sarah West who volunteered with PoD Nepal for 5 weeks over the summer. She worked at Annapurna Primary School, the Street Kids Center and Asha Foundation. Here's what she had to say about her time with PoD...

Sarah getting Henna from one of the girls at the Street Kids
It is a cliché but volunteering in Nepal was the most amazing thing I have ever done. I was lucky enough (due to Nepalese summer holidays) to spend some time doing childcare and teaching, as well as at the Street Kids Centre. I learnt and gained so much from each placement and would be hard pushed to choose one which I enjoyed the most. The Nepali people are so welcoming and friendly, and this was magnified at the placements. The children were great, so eager to learn and participate; it was a very heart-warming environment to work in. 

Sarah and Crys with Tika a teacher from the school and her husband

Going with PoD was the best decision I could have made. Prior to leaving and once I was there, there was always someone willing to help me in any way they could. From the team in the UK answering all my questions and providing much practical support and reassurance, to the support and encouragement I received from Chrissy, I always felt confident and capable of performing to the best of my ability.

Staying with Bindu and her lovely family as well was wonderful. They created a home away from home for all of the volunteers and would go out of their way to make our time there as supportive as possible. Unfortunately, in my second week in Nepal I got a chest infection; it is never nice feeling  being poorly away from home however Bindu and her family really took care of me and did everything they could to make me feel as comfortable as possible. They were lovely and I cannot thank them enough!
Arts day at Asha 

There are obviously aspects of life in Nepal which can be challenging. Strikes, power cuts and monsoon rain can make seemingly simple everyday tasks difficult, as well as the countless school holidays which you are informed of that morning. However, I feel strongly that these very Nepali occurrences enabled me to become more flexible and less rigid as a person. The local people do not get frustrated by these situations, so as a visitor to a culture you are left with the choice; embrace them like the locals or find another way to cope. For example, the unexpected holidays became bonus days when we could climb up to the Peace Pagoda or go to the Bat Caves.
View of Pokhara lake.

Nepal gave me the opportunity to meet likeminded people, many of whom I’m sure will be friends for life. Staying in Lakeside Pokhara, there is so much to see and do, from yoga on the lake to open mic nights at the local restaurants. The mountain views never grow old, it is a simply stunning part of the world. I would really recommend volunteering with PoD in Nepal; I gained so much from my time there and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am planning to return as soon as I can! 

If you would like to volunteer in Nepal with PoD and see Sarah is talking about, then please contact Gemma in the UK on gemma@podvolunteer.org

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