Nepal Trip 2018
On July 17th we set off for Nepal, after a hard year of fundraising and completing GCSEs. Our trip was a combination of experiencing the culture in Kathmandu, working on a community project in the outskirts of Pokhara and a 11 day trek up into the Annapurna mountain range. Over the 3 weeks we overcame many (MANY) challenges as a team learning how to live without many of the things we take for granted in the UK.
We started off the trip in the capital, Kathmandu, visiting holy temples, Swayambhunath (a monkey temple) and the Boudha Stupa, as well as trying to navigating the colourful, crowded alleys of Thamel. We spent our evenings haggling with restaurant owners, squeezing 20 western schoolgirls into cafés.
In the quiet hours in the morning - far too early for teenagers - we were loaded onto a coach to travel to Pokhara for our project. The horrors of traffic, potholes and mopeds we saw were enough to cure us from road rage for the rest of our lives. We arrived at the village inn in the midst of a tropical downpour, sprinting into our dorms only to sprint straight back out again after spotting fist-sized spiders on the walls…
Work started the next day, our task was to paint all the external walls of the local school building whilst assisting teachers in lessons. We had our work cut out for us with three floors of painting to do whilst juggling (literally) the local children who never tired of piggy-back races. We spent 6 hours at the school every day with work ending when the heavens opened each day at 4pm. The whole experience was really rewarding, playing with the local children and being welcomed into the community by the friendly neighbourhood. We managed to finish the job with just enough time to paint a mural before the farewell ceremony when we were blessed by the local elders and had a dance party with all the students.
After completing our project we travelled to Nayapul where we started the eleven day trek. We didn’t know it at the time but that would be the last time we saw surfaced roads and vehicles for over a week. Early on we noticed we had a tail, a stray dog - which we named Milo - who ended up walking all the way to our first tea house with us. For the next few days our pack grew, the members named based on the theme of biscuits (sugar cravings being inspiration). Besides the entertainment of the dogs, there were plenty of stunning views and breathtaking scenery to occupy our attention. Crossing rickety foot-bridges over rushing waterfalls, with gaps in between slippery bits of wood were enough to keep us busy.
Many of us found that the monsoon rains were the greatest struggle of the trek. Every day we would be caught in heavy downpours, soaking us through, regardless of our many waterproof layers. Even worse, we had to deal with attempting to dry these drenched clothes when we reached the tea houses, always failing and then waking up to damp socks and soggy boots each morning... The tea houses helped show us what life is like for the locals in these rural regions of Nepal, with no easy access to supplies and limited amenities but an over-arching sense of community and family.
Although leeches, monsoon rain and spiders plagued us, our group experienced Nepal in a way we would never have done without our trek. The feeling of achievement when reaching Annapurna Base Camp was unique and irreplaceable, knowing we worked so hard to get there.
Lauren, Year 12