I completed this programme in 2009. I hadn't travelled very much outside of Europe before, so I was a little nervous, but I felt so safe and taken care of for the entire trip. I travelled alone to Nepal, and was met at the airport in Kathmandu, and escorted to my very friendly hotel in the centre, where Naresh phoned to ensure I had arrived safely. I had a few days to explore the city, which was so different to any place I had been before, and I met other volunteers and sampled the local restaurants and Ayurvedic treatments.
I had a long bus journey to Pokhara then, and could really enjoy the landscape. I was met off the bus by Naresh, who was very welcoming and friendly. We travelled to his home where I stayed a few days, having Nepali lessons and being fed extremely well by his lovely wife. I was then introduced to my host family, who became my own family for the next two months. I will always remember their kindness, welcome and good humour, and think of them so often. Day to day I went to Children Nepal, a local NGO, where I taught English to preschool children, and helped with marketing for their women's crafts group. In the evenings I would sometimes go to Lakeside to have a coffee and chat with some other tourists and volunteers. Other times I would go back to my family, help around the house, watch Indian soaps on TV with my host-Mum, wander down to the markets or sit and look at the breath-taking mountains in the distance. The food was fantastic, and I learned to cook a few specialty dishes, and taught my host Mum to make pizza and cookies!
I made some lovely friends through my host family who took me to see their Ashram, painted my hands for Mendhi, and took me trekking to see the dawn over the mountains. I was dressed in a sari for a cousin's wedding! Another highlight was the 5 day trek through the Annapurna mountains, this was spectacular, with a cheerful and trustworthy guide, and another lovely volunteer. I don't think I've ever been so happy as diving in under a cool waterfall after a long, hot day's trek.
I highly recommend this programme, especially for lone travellers - you will feel safe, cared for, and will learn so much about this beautiful country.