An update from Grace’s trip to Nepal with Raleigh International

Grace has now been volunteering out in Nepal for 8 weeks, despite the severe flooding she is still working hard to build clean water pumps for the local area. Many of you bought a raffle ticket to help Grace raise funds for her trip to Nepal so here is the latest update from Raleigh Internationals Nepal blog to show what the volunteers have been up too!

The primary focus of an International Citizenship Service (ICS) placement is sustainable development of Less Economically Developed Country, with regards to WASH and Livelihoods. So far we have undertaken so much rewarding work within our community; teaching about good hygiene, implementing infrastructure such as hand-washing taps and strengthening community groups. We already feel as though we have benefited the village of Amling in which we are settled.

Another dimension to our ICS placement, however, is the way we have developed as individuals and as a group right from our inception as November Charlie 7 and every day since.  From language skills to organization, there are constant opportunities for us to advance ourselves and take these skills back home; whether it be to Nepal or the UK.

Eating spicy momos with Yusra Bahini and the rest of the team

As the saying goes, ‘you get out what you put in’, and this is certainly the case on our placement.  Any attempt at conversation with Nepali locals for British volunteers is met with gratitude, or sometimes even laughter at our poor attempts!  Confidence and public speaking skills are constantly built upon as well.  I have already had the chance, as well as Anna, to deliver a speech in Nepali to the local community at one of our events.  Although nerve-wracking, giving the speech made me feel right at home with the Amling community and made me think – if I can do it in Nepali then it should be easy in English when I’m back home!

There are tons of ways to get the most out of ICS on top of public speaking and languages.  As a group we have to organize events with the community and local schools; requiring planning of time and resources as well as teamwork so that everything runs smoothly and everyone has a great time!

Olli P with WASH co-ordinator Nirjal, teaching the six steps of handwashing

We have also developed in ways we wouldn’t expect.  Pallavi and Yusra’s poetry about Kathmandu and Somalia respectively has inspired us to write our own verses, and early morning exercise club now means we’re keeping those rice bellies at bay.  Even just eating spicy Momo’s has meant many of us UK volunteers have started to build up a spice tolerance.  Dave, however, still cries when he eats anything with chilies, much to the hilarity of Ranjit.

There is something in the air of Amling that is so beautiful. Every morning, we can see white fluffy clouds covering the hills that look like white powdered fungi covering fresh grasses, which is near to impossible. That is why Amling is impossibly beautiful and so is our team, November Charlie 7.

Our first few days in Amling have had their fair share of culture shock, mainly for the UK volunteers, as we get used to eating with our hands and learning new phrases. It has been interesting adjusting to a completely unfamiliar environment and trying to integrate with the local people, and we have learnt a lot in a short space of time.

One of the most helpful things we have been doing is learning a Nepali phrase a day, such as Toilet jana milchha? (Can I use your toilet?) and Mitho chha (It’s delicious’). That last one is a great phrase to make Nepali cooks into your friends!

Pallavi writing Phrase of the Day for our daily Nepali language exchange

We are slowly getting to understand each other’s way of doing things. The UK volunteers have started to get used to taking off their shoes before going inside, standing up when addressing the group and even drinking from a bottle without touching it with your lips.

 Hope you enjoyed reading about Grace’s volunteering expedition to Nepal and once again thank you to those of you that sponsored Grace and bought raffle tickets in practice.

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