Volunteer stories : Nicola F., General Care Projects in Nepal
As part of my university course where I study Paediatric Nursing I was lucky enough to undertake an elective project abroad in a country of my choice. After a lot of thought and planning, I was finally on my way to Nepal to spend one month working at MSPN - a centre for children and families affected by HIV/AIDS.
On my journey I was very nervous, as I did not have a clue what this month would have in store for me. As soon as I arrived in Nepal the busy streets and roads took me back. The atmosphere was breath taking; beeping cars, new smells, and noises, people were just everywhere. It was an exhilarating shock - the sights, sounds and smells did lead to a sensory overload!
When I met my host family I felt at home straight away. They were so welcoming and kind to all the volunteers, and throughout my stay I became extremely fond of my host family. I also never thought I would form such great bonds and friendships with other volunteers in Nepal, and this is something I will always cherish. It was so lovely having other volunteers to live with and to share such life changing experiences with. Living with a Nepali family gave me an insight into real life in Nepal, which I would otherwise not have been able to witness.
My placement at MSPN was inspiring, the children were so full of joy and happiness and I loved playing different games with them, while also learning about their nursing care. I really was overwhelmed by the children’s happiness, and every morning when I arrived I would always hear the children calling my name, Namaste Nikki!! All the staff at MSPN were happy to talk to me about the children’s history, and the treatment that they would have throughout their lives.
I also went on hospital visits with individual children, which really gave me a clearer insight into Nepali life. During my time in Nepal I asked if I could spend some time at a children’s hospital which I felt would also be beneficial to my learning. This experience was a great highlight of my time there. The doctor was so welcoming, and was happy to show me around the hospital to observe the doctors and nurses. It was so interesting to see the care they provided to the children with such a lack of resources.
During the early evenings the other volunteers I lived with and I went to J&K house orphanage to play games with the children and help them with their homework. The children constantly put a big smile of my face and it was obvious how much they loved the company of the volunteers.
Every weekend there was something to do including trips to Chitwan with its breath taking views, visiting temples, bungee jumping, rafting or spending time in cafes and restaurants in Thamel. Throughout my 4 weeks in Nepal I was never ever bored. I was constantly learning and experiencing a completely different culture to my life back home. I became so interested in the unique culture of Nepal, and loved spending time at the temples taking in the surroundings and history.
In Thamel there was always so much going on, buzzing around the crazy traffic in a taxi, trundling down the narrow winding streets in a rickshaw, or dodging the streets sellers, it really was an intoxicating, amazing and exhausting place. Nepal has something for everyone including the more busy places like Thamel, and peaceful, picturesque places such as Chitwan.
Nepal is such an addictive country, one that I’m certain I will visit again very soon. The people are all so kind and gentle, and really do treat volunteers with so much respect. I have countless memories of my time there, and it is an experience that will stay with me forever.
I have met so many amazing friends from all around the world, and we all love reminiscing about all our funny experiences and times we spent together. It is an experience that I think about everyday and I am counting down the days until I can be back in such an amazing country again.
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