On the 9th of February, I arrived at Tumlingtar airport in the east of Nepal. I had to take a taxi for one hour to drive up through the Himalayan foothills to reach Kadhbari which is where the orphanage is situated.
I am living with Mr. Tejananath Pokeral and his lovely wife Tulasa in their beautiful house in the middle of Kadhbari. It is extremely rural living, meals cooked on a wood fire and using just enough water that we need to cook and clean. I enjoy this way of living very much as it really shows us in the west, how we take the simplest things like clean water and electricity for granted. I realize how much we use that we don’t really need.
The job entails getting up at 6 in the morning, drinking some tea cooked on the wood fire, and then going to the orphanage to help the cooking mother with getting the children ready for school and preparing their breakfast of rice and dal. This is the staple dish in Nepal, eaten twice a day. I then help the children with their homework and at 9.30 the children leave for their walk to school ( some children have to walk for one hour and a half) and I go home and eat lunch which is dal and rice. In the evening time, I go back to the orphanage and play games with the children and help them with their homework and cook rice and dal again!
The orphanage is situated right on the edge of a hill overlooking the forest area of the foothills. Living there are twelve children from the age of five to fifteen. Some of the children have no parents and some of the parents the children are in the local jail. However, I have never met such intelligent, funny, kind children in my entire life. They are extremely caring for each other and so eager to learn anything that comes their way. I am very privileged to be able to spend time with such amazing children. Really!!
“Everyone was so lovely to us on the way, giving us sweets and welcoming us into their houses with tea and sugar cane.”
At first I was a bit shocked at how very, very basic the orphanage was, the children sleep 2 to a bed and some of the younger children sleep on the floor of the landing. However, after exploring more of this area in Nepal I don’t think it is that uncommon. Over the last few days, we took the 7 older children on their first ever trek to the next village. This was one of the most wonderful experiences I have had. We set off at 7 in the morning and walked for maybe 11 hours crossing the nearby hills ( bigger than any mountain in England.) On the way, we stopped for noodles and rice bread that we had cooked on the wood fire the day before. The children were very excited as they had never been this far away from their orphanage before.
Everyone was so lovely to us on the way, giving us sweets and welcoming us into their houses with tea and sugar cane.
When we got to the village where we were staying, I was in total shock at the beauty of the house and the sheer hospitality of the local family. The house overlooked the most beautiful forested valley, with mount Makalu in the background. Stunning. The family provided delicious tea and dal for dinner and after roasting sweet potatoes over the fire all 12 of us slept on the floor of their little mud house. It was truly such a moving experience to witness such hospitality to me and the children on their first night away from the orphanage.
The next day we went to the local school where, despite being extremely basic, just two falling-down buildings, we had the most BEAUTIFUL welcoming ceremony. We were welcomed by the school children all holding rhododendrons ( the national flower of Nepal). The children and I had to walk down the middle of an aisle formed by all the school children where we were showered in flowers and greetings of Namaste. I had a little tear in my eye.
We then had a very special welcoming talk where I was dressed in maybe 12 flower garlands, each made with such delicacy. We were greeted by every member of staff, every child, and every parent. Speeches were then given about our project and their school. I learned that their main problem was clean drinking water for the children and the crumbling state of the classrooms. After another feast of dal and rice, we set back on our journey crossing the river to arrive back in Kahdbari.
It was a really brilliant experience for the children from the orphanage to meet children from other villages. They don’t have any family and we wanted to introduce them to other families in the surrounding area in the hope that they can then have somewhere to go and visit on festive days.
Original post at: Benevola Community
Posted By Natasha Weinburg, UK In Volunteering, Nepal