Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.
Adam: The school begins with registration at 09:40. Whilst this may seem late by western standards, this is the norm in Nepal probably due to the lack of transport infrastructure. Usually Id get there at 9am to avoid the chaos that is the local buses. Classes begin at 10:00 and my schedule was as follows...
10:00 - 10:40: Class 6 Maths
10:40 - 11:20: Class 2 English
11:20 - 12:00: Free period for me
12:00 - 12:10: Break time
12:10 - 12:50: Class 3 English
12:50 - 13:30: Class 4 Maths
13:30 - 14:00: Dinner time
14:00 - 14:40: Class 5 Maths
14:40 - 15:20: Class 6 Social Studies
15:20 - 16:00: Free period for me
After this I would travel home and prepare my classes for the next day before it got dark (there's no guarantee of power in Nepal).
Ten years from now, what's the one thing you think you'll remember from the trip?
Adam: As cliched as it sounds I will remember the people. Keshab, Manojs and Mahesh all made a big impression on me. They are good people who seem to work tirelessly to improve their country and community. As Hindus they have an outlook on life which I find fascinating even if I don't share their beliefs. They have big plans about how they wish to develop the school & I sincerely hope they will achieve them.
Of course, I will remember the children as well... Nikkil & Biplop in class 6, Pensang (who has the ability and stubbornness to become a very good mathematician) and Angela in Class 4, the little girl in Class 2 (Sushmita?) that is a nightmare to teach but impossible to get annoyed at, etc... etc....
Has your worldview changed as a result of your trip?
Adam: No. There are inequalities in wealth everywhere in the world if you open your eyes enough to see them. Walk from your home to the Main Street in your town or city. If you don't see any homeless people I'd be surprised. The "other half" aren't just in some far off corner of the globe, they are all around.
My time in Nepal didn't make me appreciate the material aspects of the west more, but it did make me realise how lucky I am to have friends and family around me.
What was the most interesting cultural difference you encountered?
Adam: Two things really. The area of Manchester I grew up in, whilst developed, is pretty rough and consequently I always have the suspicion that the majority of people are out to harm you rather than help you. Whilst, in the tourist areas of Nepal you will get hassled by people trying to make money out of you, outside of those areas the Nepali people are (in general) very friendly and helpful. I think that says as much about the UK as it does about Nepal.
Secondly, the population density. I have lived in NZ for the past 4 years. NZ is twice the size of Nepal and has a population of 4m. In contrast, Kathmandu itself has a population of 4m.
Where would you most like to travel to next?
Adam: Having been away from the uk for 4 years I'm looking forward to heading back. However, if doing more voluntary work, Nepal and the NVC would be my first option.