Monday, November 4, 2013

Elinor's Diary, Part 2

Here's part 2 for Elinor's Diary. I've tried not to cut out too much as I think it's great to see the highs and lows the volunteers go through and Elinor gives a real insight as to what volunteering in Nepal is really like!

3 October

Hi all,

It's been a very frustrating couple of days in lots of different ways, some real highs and lows.  It's a 50/50 situation, 50% of the time, you really feel like you're getting into the swing of things and then the next moment, everything is thrown into chaos!!

On Monday, we took a class from the Shree Krishna school to the Gurkha museum, which was very interesting and again, they all seemed to be really interested in the information and enjoyed the experience.  Then the children decided that they wanted to go and see the local hospital, which turned out to be an hours walk away, through the town, over the extremely large and slightly terrifying suspension bridge (I thought Sinead was going to have a nervous breakdown halfway over), through a few local villages, up a ravine, down a ravine, over a river, up a hill, down a hill, through rice fields, to the hospital, which looked like an inner city slum block.  There was mould growing down the side of the building, it looked filthy and like it should be knocked down due to being a health hazard - how ironic!  The children wanted to go inside and have a look around, and some of them wanted to go in the lift as they had never been in one before, so inside we went.  No-one looked twice at us as we wandered around the different wards. 

In the afternoon, we went to the street kids, and it is here that I do feel like I'm contributing and making an impact.  The lads did their homework and then we went to the park and threw frisbees and balls around and did some skipping.  Before we knew it, all the local kids had joined us so we ended up playing with about 30 kids!

Yesterday was the most frustrating day yet.  We were going to Shree Krishna and we had planned an outdoor activity for 3 groups of 25 each for an hour each.  When we woke up in the morning it was throwing it down with rain, so we had to quickly re-plan and come up with an indoor activity.  My kiddie repping experience has never come in so handy. We arrived and we were told we would have 3 classes of 8-10 year olds.  What we ended up with was a class of 5-6 year olds first with about 20 in the class so they were really too young for what we had planned, the second class were 8-10 but there were 30 of them, maybe more, so too many, and the third class didn't show up and we were kicked out of the library we were supposed to be using!  They tried to get us to take over the older class and teach them English but we refused and then we eventually agreed to take a class that didn't have a teacher outside for some games.  Again, it was fine for about 20 minutes and then all the other children in the school seemed to join us so it descended into chaos.  The teachers here don't care and will do anything to get out of doing any work.  INFURIATING!!!

Last night we had dinner with the family who own the guesthouse where we stay - veg and cheese momo's - which were lovely, but looked cr*p cos we'd made them!

Overall, I am still enjoying my time here, however, I have to have a word with myself daily to tell myself to accept things for the way they are and not to let things get to me.  I do miss my home comforts and I will massively appreciate everything when I get home, even more than I do already!

Thanks for all your responses, take care, and catch up soon.

Elinor xxx

5 October.

Hi everyone,

So, officially the Volunteer Experience is over.  My two weeks of visiting all the different placements has come to an end and I have been lucky enough to go to all but one of the different schools, orphanages and the street kids home.   I didn't go to Bahini, which is the abused women's school, as only long term volunteers are allowed to go there. It's been hard work, testing physically and mentally at times as you know, but overall, I'm very glad with how it has all gone.

The next two weeks will be very different because it is the Dashian Festival for the next week, followed by another festival for two weeks, so many of the families, and therefore the children, have gone to visit family in other areas.  The town of Pokhara is much quieter and many of the schools are now closed for a month!!!  God love the Nepali education system :-)  One interesting fact for you - during Dashian, 100,000 goats and buffaloes will be slaughtered (apologies to my vegetarian friends for this) as it is considered to be a great gift to give your family.  PoD are paying for a goat to be given to the mum at the street kids home, so she can cook a big meal for them all.  This is a very big deal and will be very exciting for them.

Luke has finished his placement so he is off trekking on Monday though the Annapurna mountain range, so it's just me, Sinead and Kay. Over the next two weeks, we will spend the majority of our time with the street kids and up at Asha, which is the orphanage in the mountains about 40 minutes away.  

Yesterday, I went on a bit of a shopping spree and I brought the lads a new t-shirt each.  They only really seem to have their school uniform and one set of 'casual' clothes which they change into when they get home from school, so I thought a new t-shirt each would be good.  The only two things I'm worried about - them fighting over the different colours I got (and boy, when they fight, do they fight?!) and them keeping the clothes for 'best' which they have a tendency to do, unless you specifically tell them the clothes are for everyday wear.  I think I will have to get them to line up in height order and hand out the t-shirts one by one, otherwise it will turn into a brawl!

We're going to take them to the park and perhaps set them a project to do for the week, and of course, help them with their homework, of which they have quite a lot.

Happy weekend everyone, and catch up with you all next week.

Elinor xxxx

8th October.

Hi everyone,

After a very relaxing weekend of getting my clothes washed properly at a laundrette (luxury - smelt of lemons) a trip into the city to buy loads of new toys, games (Twister, Scrabble, 3 new frisbees...) and a steam bath followed by an all over body massage, I decided it would be good to put a plan together of what we were going to do for the next two weeks.  You know how I love to be in charge and boss people about right?!!!  So we sat down and looked at all the equipment and games that we have and now we have an indoor / outdoor list of things we can do up until next Thursday which is my last day.  Can you believe I've only got 10 days left?  The time has flown by that's for sure.

So, with our plan in hand, we arrived at the street kids centre yesterday, the lads were just having lunch and then we sat them all down and explained the activity planner.  They seemed very excited, however, my favourite bit was when we told them that we had some new clothes for them to wear when they were doing their activities and that it was a present to celebrate the Dashain festival.  They couldn't line up in height order quick enough!! We handed out the t-shirts and despite my fears, there was only limited swapping of colours :-)  The smallest boy, Nissan, did look so very cute with his oversized t-shirt which looked more like a dress.  Then, they were even more excited when we handed out the shorts that Kay had brought.  Having a whole new outfit was just brilliant.  Now here's the funniest thing, despite us saying that they were not for best and that they were to wear them every day, about half the group went and got changed, came out of their bedrooms, showed us their outfit and then went back inside and got changed into their old clothes again!!  It took several tries before we got all of them to agree to put on their new outfits as they didn't want to spoil them.  So funny seeing them going in and out of their bedrooms, asking each other if it was ok to keep the clothes on and taking their lead from the older boys as to what was acceptable.

Then we took them to the park and played frisbee and ball throwing and we had also brought a big washing line to use as a skipping rope, however, boys being boys, this quickly became a high jump, a limbo line, tug of war and a thing to wrap around your brother's neck and playfully try to garote them!  Then the play descended into play fighting and so Sinead and I got stuck in and soon enough, I was the person to go to if you wanted to be hung upside down or spun around until you were dizzy and fell over.   Anyway, it's fair to say by the end of it that their clothes were well and truly worn in and they weren't worried about getting them dirty anymore.

Later in the afternoon, I took 5 of the older kids to the internet cafe so they could play games on the computer and when we got back to the house, a new boy had arrived!  Seemingly, he had been picked up by some tourists who, along with some locals, had brought him to street kids, hoping that there was space for him.  Ama signed some forms and took him in.  We still have space for one more boy if needed.  This one looks like he will bolt at any minute though, and it is often the case that when they first come, it takes a few tries before they decide to stay and they realise they're on to a good thing.  It's whether they can accept the routine, the fact that they go to school and do homework and whether they fit in with the other boys.  It'll be interesting to see if he's there today.  Some run away and never come back, particularly during tourist season like it is as the moment, as they can make lots of money on the street and get given ice cream and chocolate.  Bloody tourists!!!

Today is painting and drawing, followed by Badminton, Skittles and Blind Man's Bluff!  Happy Days :-)

Thanks for all your lovely messages of support and news of home, I really do look forward to logging on and reading about what you're all up to.

Take care, y'all and chat soon.


If you would like to join the PoD team in Nepal, then please email Gemma on

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