Volunteer's Experience 2015

Name: Hanna Lehikoinen
From: Finland
Programme: Women’s’ empowerment and Environmental project

1. What did your average day look like?

Depending on where I was working, my working day started in different time. Sometimes it started at 8 am or then 9 pm. First I was teaching children at the secondary school about environmental awareness for 2 months. This time I was working during the morning time, the school started at 10 am and I worked 4 hours.
But then I change to work with community women, where I was teaching how to saw a shopping bags and mobile phone purses from recycling plastics. This usually was during the day time, when the children were at the school and the mothers had more free time.

2. Other things I did on my placement.

I was doing one part of my internship in Eco-Park, where I was building a improved cooking stoves. This is a important for villages and could benefit them in the future, if they would concentrate on them more.

3. What are some of the issues or challenges you faced?

I didn’t have any problems, I absolutely loved my time in here. I had a great time and was sad to leave. Durga really treats you as a part of the family and you really feel like one. I would say that I have a second home in there. I never felt that I was unwanted in her home. She is the most lovelies person who I have ever met and her children are super great! Divya and Diwash are absolutely lovely and you have so much fun with them. I really love how they all treat us volunteers, we are just one big family.

I would say only issues was that I had to leave when my internship was finished, I would have loved to stay longer. If I wouldn’t have Uni to finish, I would have stayed longer.

4. Advice to next volunteer going to your placement?

Well, Only thing is that take a good mosquito repellent, they are really annoying. And If you need to go to hospital and you’re in Kathmandu, the Grande hospital is the best option.
Otherwise You will love the staying in here.

5. Would you volunteer at this placement again?

Definitely. There is still lots of work to do, and we only manage to put the ball to rolling. I would love to continue the work later on and see how it will develop.

6. Would you volunteer at this organization again?

Definitely. I actually hope that I could do it in some point. I only have lovely memories from my staying in Future Nepal.

I hope to do it soon.

7. Suggestion or problem?

Noting. Everything was great!

8. Additional comments?

Durga and Bishnu, I would just like to thank you once again of having me there. I really loved my stay and I really miss you a lot. Same goes for you Divya and Diwash!

9. Please write a Journal-type entery of experience now. This will be for our mountly newletter & also for our future volunteers.
It was the best idea to have my internship done in Future Nepal. I really loved the time in there. I have many Nepalese class mates and for me Nepal was something what I really wanted to experiment. I wanted to go to Nepal for years and now I had change for that, which was a great.
Nepal is beautiful country, people are really friendly, culture is rich and temperature is nice most of the time of the year.

When I went to Nepal, it was couple months after big earthquake and I was really surprise how amazing people are cubing and how they can be so positive. Nepalese people are really friendly and its easy to get to know the culture and lifestyle of the people. They take you to open hands and it makes working easy.

In Raniban, I could teach women how to make a bags from recycling plastic, this was a great opportunity for many women in my area. Most of the women are uneducated, stay in moms or have some small job. Giving them opportunity to learn new talents and earning money from that is great way of boosting women’s’ empowerment. Still many women are depending on their husbands and are not allow to use they own money. With this we hope that they would learn new skills, and have money for themselves. Plastic is also a huge environmental problem in Nepal, lack of waste treatment centres, causes soil and water pollution. Because the material is from recycling material, it does not cost any money, all the women has some plastic production in their house, mainly rice bags and other type of bags what they would more likely to burn or throw away, but this way we can use the plastic, make bags out of it and sell the finished product to people.

I bought two sawing machines to our library and before I left, we made sure, that one of my student was ready to teach other women in our community to make shopping bags. This way we could guarantee that the programme will continue and develop even when I’m gone.

Name : Stephanie
Gender:Female
Country :Germany
Program : Teaching English in School

1. What did your average day look like?
I got up at 7:30 am. After breakfast and lunch I walked to school at around 9 am. At 9:45 am the school assembly started. I then, taught class 7. Then I had no classes until 13:15 so I often walked to see some sights like Monkey Temple or Durbar Square. When I was back by 13:00 I had lunch with teachers. Then I had lessons up until 16:30. After school I spent time with my host family and the other volunteers. We had dinner together and afterwards everyone went to their rooms.

2. Other things I did on my placement.
I went trekking with other volunteers for five days. The school took me with them to the swimming pool “Kathmandu Fun Valley.” The other volunteers and I also sometimes went to Thamel in the evening or on our day off.

3. What are some of the issues or challenges you faced?
The language barrier was sometimes challenging as well as getting used to Kathmandu traffic + smog. Also the treatment of animals and the hitting of the children in school.

4. Advice to next volunteer going to your placement?
Sometimes I wished I would have brought some typically German things to show to the students. The student at A.V.M are extremely nice and interested in other cultures.

5. Would you volunteer at this placement again?
Definitely

6. Would you volunteer at this organization again?
Definitely

7. Suggestion or problem?
………….

8. Please write a Journal-type entery of experience now. This will be for our mountly newletter & also for our future volunteers.

I arrived on August 7th at around 5 pm. Durga then took me to Hotel Lily in Thamel where I spent the night. The next day Durga picked me up and drove me to her place where I was staying during my placement. There I met the other volunteers, Loura and Elena from Spain and Hanna from Finland. The same day I received Nepali lessons, so I was able to say and understand basic things. On August 9th I started working at A.V.M. secondary school. I taught class 7, 8, 9, and 10 in English. All of the students were very nice and the teacher were very helpful. After work, a member of staff took me to see Monkey Temple. The second day in school, classes 5 to 10 went to the swimming pool and I was allowed to join. It was extremely nice and the school even bought me a bathing suit. The following days I continued teaching. On our day off, the other volunteers and I went to Thamel to go souvenir shopping. On Sunday and Monday there was no school due to a strike. Then I continued teaching. One day, after the lunch break, classes 5 to 10 went to a football court to play and I came to watch. Then, after my best day at school, I went on a 5-day-Trekking trip with the other volunteers. When I return, I went to A.V.M. again to say goodbye. They were very sweet and even gave me a little farewell gift.

Name : Laura Novo
Gender:Female
Country :Spain
Program : Teaching English in School (August 2015)

1. What did your average day look like?
I got up around 8-10 in the morning (depends on the day) and I had breakfast. At 12 o’clock I was in Monastery to teach Spanish with one monk who has been living for 10 month in Spain, so he knew how to speak . We sometimes made sightseeing with him and some other times we stayed in the bar speaking Spanish. He has taught us a lot of Buddhism religion. At 13pm I was with the little monks of the monastery, teaching English while playing games until 14:30pm at the time, I returned home walking(about 15 min) and had lunch. At 16:30pm I was again in the monastery. I had a class with the older monks where I taught Basic English. They sometimes only speak Tibetan language so I had to prepare very easy teaching classes. At 17:30 pm I returned back home. I could prepare my classes for the next day and I would stay with Durga’s family. Around 19pm we started preparing the dinner and around 20pm we all had dinner together.
2. Other things I did on my placement.
I meet other volunteers around the world. I learnt Nepali basic language and Nepali cuisine. We also did a trekking by our own around Annapurna National Park with other volunteer during 6 days. I also did rafting.
3. What are some of the issues or challenges you faced?
I faced how to manage 47 kids of all ages in the monastery (luckily I was with one friend during all the classes and we helped each other all the time).
4. Advice to next volunteer going to your placement?
Do not hesitate to come and visit Nepal. The country is a really nice place to visit and there are lots of activities that you can enjoy. I have felt like at home.
5. Would you volunteer at this placement again?
Yes! It’s a shame that the flight ticket is so expensive.
6. Would you volunteer at this organization again?
Yes!
7. Suggestion or problem?
Improve the web-page. I would like to see more photos about the different programs.
8. Please write a Journal-type entry of experience now. This will be for our future volunteers.
I would come back if I have the opportunity. It has been an amazing experience living the Nepalese culture from the inside and letting the people of Nepal to know your culture. I will also miss their faces and I will miss their deep smiles.

Name : Elena
Gender:Female
Country :Spain
Program : Teaching English in School

1. What did your average day look like?
I got up at 8 or 10(depends of the day). I had breakfast in Durga’s place at 10-11h. at 12h I went to the monastery to practice Spanish with Namdak. Namdak is a monk who went to Madrid for 10 months and wanted to practice the Spanish speaking. We could ask him a lot of questions about Buddhism religion, and other things about Nepal and it’s culture. After wards, 13h. I had English lesson with the little monks, teaching English while playing games until 14:30. After, I came back to home to had lunch. We returned to the monastery at 16:30 walking(15 min walking) to teach the adult monks. We prepare very easy English lessons because they only speak Tibetan all the time and were Basic English. After the lessons with the adult we came back to host family, and depends of the day may be we went to Thamel or spent the time with the host family until dinner time. We prepare the dinner together and after that we went to the apartment, prepare the lessons for the next day and went to sleep.
2. Other things I did on my placement.
I met other volunteers Hanna from Finland and Stephanie from Germany. I learned basic things of Nepali language. I went to trekking during 5-6 days by our own around Annapurna National park to see the sunrise in Poonhill. We, me and Laura(my Spanish friend) went to visit Durbar Square with Namdak(the Spanish monk). And the last weekend we went to do rafting with other volunteers from Chitwan and finally some night we went to go for a beer in Thamel with people who met while trekking, in Pokhara.
3. What are some of the issues or challenges you faced?
I faced how to teach 47 kids all of them different ages in the monastery. Luckily I wasn’t alone, Laura my friend was with me and was easier to teach and had fun at the same time. I faced, also how to adopt and introduce myself in the culture, and was really nice.
4. Advice to next volunteer going to your placement?
Sometimes I had liked to have more material and speakers or some stuff to make easier the lessons and more enjoyable. Is better bring the material the maybe you think you need(ex. Vocabulary cards, games like memory…. Sometime that can help you).
5. Would you volunteer at this placement again?
Yes! Of course in this placement I felt like home.
6. Would you volunteer at this organization again?
Definitely!
7. Suggestion or problem?
…………….
8. Please write a Journal-type eatery of experience now. This will be for our for our future volunteers.
Improve the web-page. I would like to see more photos about the different experiences. Maybe you can create a Facebook page to promote more Future Nepal. it could be a good idea.

Name: Luis Miguel Gonzalez
Country: Spain, Barcelona
Program: Teaching in Monastery and helping to orphans

Before to start my project, I stayed 2 or 3 days in the tourist area of Kathmandu and Durga made me the volunteer card and taught me some words and expressions in Nepalese. Altought the people normaly understand English, is good to learn this expressions to comunicate with people in Nepal, both in your normal life as in your project, it is a good signal to respect to nepalese people and also its funny when they discover that you can talk some expressions in nepalese.
I have spend the 2 first weeks teaching English in a Buddist temple close to Durga’s place, it was a really good experience because the kids were so funny and nice, and you can see how they live there. I was teaching in a group of 12- 15 students, sometimes they play and you can enjoy with them too. Their classroom is so humble but they have enough materials to learn and you will have enough materials to teach too but you can always take from your country if you want.
During my stay I was sharing flat with 2 more volunteers but we ate always in Durga’s place, the food was correct and she was always attentive to our needs and offering her help in case we need. After dinner we used to play cards and having fun with Durga and her family.
After that I spend 2 weeks in the orphanage NHCPS (Nepal Helpless Children Prosperity Society). Durga accompanied me to the orphanage which is a bit far from the first place where I stayed.
My experience was really positive and enriching, I think that I received more than I could give to them. This orphanage is managed by a couple who are like a superheroes for me because they are working in this orphanage with 10 kids without any government aid.
For my surprise, the kids are extremly educated, nice, respectful with other kids (they are like a members of the same family), me and other people and they are very careful and clean with the materials and things of the house (sleeping bags, clothes, floor, toilet, kitchen tools, etc.).
They are very thankful and I will always received hugs coming back after spend one day out of the orphanage and we played a lot, they called me “brother”. They always have a smile in the face and this is a very good lesson for people who are coming from develop countries as most of the volunteers.
Also I had my own room and the bosses of the orphanage were always helping me in case I needed and they were really nice and friendly. Even the last day when I got a stomach virus Anita was caring me and after that Durga.
I recommend this experience and also be flexible and understand that you are in a poor country and it means that you won’t have hot showers and potable tap water, and the electricity on is only for few hours a day. Even that complications you can accustom and make a normal life.

Name : Annie Merkley
Gender: Female
Country: Spain
Program: Women Empowerment and teaching English

1. What did your average day look like?
My average day here was very varied I arrived during festival, so many of the schools were on break. This however gave me ample time to get lesson plans organized for the monastery students. I would come to breakfast at Durga’s around 9am, work on lesson planning or go sightseeing, come back for lunch around 12-12:30 and then go teach the student monks from 1:00-3:00. Dinner was at 7:00 and then free time after. Once the hindu schools were back in session I also tough women English in the library at the volunteer house from 4:30pm-5:30pm and visited/ gave presentations to students at a private school during the morning.

2. Other things I did on my placement.
During my placement I was fortunate enough to go with Durga at to the farm in Chitwan. I also made a point to chat with the women of Raniban, it was wonderful to get to know the people of the neighborhood and share in a bit of cultural exchange, and I played banjo and song for my student.

3. What are some of the issues or challenges you faced?
Lesson planning, the students at the school are at a higher level English than anticipated, and the women are at a basic level.

4. Advice to next volunteer going to your placement?
For the student monks, plan a game for them to get them up and of their seats and keep them interested. I would do half reading, writing, comprehension and half learning games. For the women, gear the classed towards their interests. Get them talking about their family, themselves, and their daily life.

5. Would you volunteer at this placement again?
Yes! I love it here. Sad to say goodbye to my student.

6. Would you volunteer at this organization again?
Yes.

7. Suggestion or problem?
Before volunteers arrive, recommend that they bring whatever school suppliers they can! I wish I would have thought to bring some books/ coloring books/ English learning books with me.

8. Please write a Journal-type entry of your whole experience now. It will be better roughly one full page.
During my two week stay with Future Nepal I have gotten to know intimately a little pocket of Kathmandu and have absolutely loved working with my students. I am so terribly sad to say goodbye to the student monks and women that I worked with. Teaching English is such an incredible platform to really teach issues that matter to me and fan topics as well.
Durga and her family welcomed me in to their home like a member of their family. We shared food and laughter, and I even got a super informative lesson as Nepali history from Divas. Staying here in Raniban has helped me to see past the tourist viel, really sink my heals in and see what life is like in this gorgeous corner of the world. And during my time here I’ ve realized how much I enjoy being in classrooms and teaching, I think I’ve found my next life’s calling!

Name : Chui Lee Wong
Gender: Female
Country: Malasiya
Program: women empowerment and Teaching Karate to Girls for self Defense

1. What did your average day look like?
Everyday wake up at 5:30am, teaching Teakwondo class to the local kids. The class will take an hour to an hour and a half. Breakfast at 8am, then will start helping cook lunch around 9am-9:30am. After lunch is free time til my evening class at 5pm. During free time, Imight read my book, join the community women for sewing class or afternoon nap some times. Evening class(Teakwondo class) will starts from 5pm for an hour; Sometimes it ends at 7am depends on the kids interest or progress. I will help to cook dinner if they are not ready yet. After dinner, some bonding time with other volunteers & family member before we go to bed.

2. Other things I did on my placement.
There are days that I went out with other volunteers to shop for material (for school/ women society purpose). I did go for tea time with other volunteers as well and some other time I did my work out or try to do some yoga.

3. What are some of the issues or challenges you faced?
Basically I have not much issue/ challenge through out my volunteering, just some culture shocked, different level of living standard and lastly some serious bites from mosquitoes/ insects.

4. Advice to next volunteer going to your placement?
I would advice to be mentally & physically ready if its their first time and never been to any under develop country before to make the voluntary work more meaningful.

5. Would you volunteer at this placement again?
For Sure!

6. Would you volunteer at this organization again?
Why not!

7. Suggestion or problem?
Probably set a dearer expectation once the volunteer chose the program that are interested in & what will they gain from the voluntary work.

8. Please write a Journal-type entry of your whole experience now. It will be better roughly one full page.
It is the most memorable journey in my life. There excellent memory & of course some different moment that I have to overcome myself(mostly emotionally). I feel the culture, try to make myself do different things that I wouldn’t do back home, overcome fears, take the challenge & solve them. Most importantly enjoy life, be truthful to your, be who you are keep the heart beautiful & be happy, appreciate evening that’s given. Life is full of choices, if depend how each individual choose to live with and never said that me have not been given a choice, it might that those choices are not making you happy the most. Use your heart to feel Nepal, the people and culture.