My 16 year old daughter, Sophie-Anne has just returned from a school trip to Nepal and in this second article she talks about the community work that her group did in a local school and her impressions of the children and local people that she met.
During our trip we had organised a community project, which would prove to be an amazing experience and culture shock. Upon arrival we were all giving a red mark on our head and a flower garland made by the villagers, despite the villagers’ stares (they had rarely seen westerners) we were made welcome immediately.
We were told the villagers were very upset that the electricity would not work, assuming we would be annoyed. This of course was not the case and despite the occasional girly scream when a leech was found, we all settled in happily to our tents. Our sherpas woke us up in the morning with a cup of tea and bowl of hot water each, which at the time felt like considerable luxury!
We soon got to work building a much-needed fence for the school and everyone, no matter how feeble and weak, got stuck in to the job. For a group of female teenagers building a fence, swing set and steps is a hard job and everyone in the group realised why builders have so many tea breaks.
We also got a chance to interact with the children, it is amazing how simple it is to form a bond despite the language barrier between us. At first the children were shy but soon they became increasingly lively, absorbing all the activities we had arranged for them.
They all seemed fascinated with our cameras, ipods and even the balloons we brought for them. I specifically remember one boy looking at some bubbles like Christmas had come early, and then spending the rest of the day in hysterics popping all the bubbles that was humanly possible.
One evening the villagers arranged a traditional evening where they sang and danced for us, it was wonderful to see a glimpse of their culture. Everyone got up and danced, although its safe to say our Bollywood style dance moves needed a little work.
Despite the huge culture difference (us in walking boots and them in flip flops for example) we were able to really connect with all of the villagers, finding things we had in common like dancing or singing.
This is best summed up by when we all heard Justin Bieber’s ‘baby’ playing somehow somewhere in the village. We all went back to our tents that night forgetting about the rain and leeches to ponder whether even Justin knew his songs had reached a remote area in the Himalayas.
Read about the other parts of Sophie-Anne’s trip
Other adventures in India and Nepal
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