Camilla Durie - Medicine & Healthcare, Physiotherapy in Nepal
I discovered the Physical Therapy project in Nepal by complete chance, and realized what an amazing opportunity as an undergraduate Physical Therapy student it was so I immediately decided to book a two month project. There were many other countries which offered a similar project, but something about Nepal just drew me in and made me want to go there so badly, I think it was partly to do with the culture and religious background that it has, and also due to the fact that it is such a unique country, and during my time in Nepal I discovered that wherever you may be you can always turn around and find so many friendly and welcoming faces.
I arrived in Nepal on the 12th January 2008. On arriving in Nepal I have to admit I was fairly nervous about being in a completely new and different country with only my traveling buddy Sophie. With no parents and not knowing what to expect from the country we were both completely out of our comfort zones, but as we walked out of the airport and were greeted by this warm and friendly smile of our escort who was waving the Projects Abroad sign frantically as if us arriving was the highlight of his day, at that moment all our fears just disappeared and we couldn’t wait to start our projects and adventures in Nepal.
My project was at the Cerebral Palsy Center for Children in Jawlakhel. I remember my first day so clearly; I walked up to the gates of the center and briefly had to step by in awe of this incredibly modern and amazing building. When I entered the building I continued to be impressed by the quality of the equipment and staff that the center has, it really blew me away. It can clearly be seen that all the funding the center has been given has been put to really good use. All the staff were so lovely and really included me into the day to day running of the center. It was really great as well that as I was at the center there were many Physical Therapy students from the local Physical Therapy college, so they really helped me and actually taught me a lot of the basic theory which was a real bonus for me.
My experience in Nepal was made so much better by my host family – I really was so lucky to have such an amazing and welcoming host family. For those two months of my project I really felt I was at home and we liked to joke that I had become an honoree Nepali! My host family truly were so nice and did everything they possibly could to make me feel at home, from my room to the food everything was so wonderful and homely, I have to say out of all the dhal bhat’s I tried over the two months none could bet my host mum’s, she really new how to cook, she did give me the recipe but haven’t tried yet – don’t think I could do them justice! My host dad really was a bundle of knowledge, he taught me so much fascinating stuff about Nepal and also just his views on life - he was such an interesting man. Altogether I couldn’t have asked for a better host family.
As I only had a few months in Nepal I really tried to make the most of the weekends - especially as there are so many brilliant adventurous things to do. I was so grateful to Shanika and Jenna, the local staff, who managed to organize so many great trips for all the volunteers, it really helped bring all the volunteers together and the trips were so much fun. If you want lots to do then Nepal really is the place, there are so many opportunities, I think the most courageous thing I did was the bungee jump, still can’t believe I did it! Oh and almost forgot to mention those weekends when we weren’t off to the Chitwan National Park or to Pokhara, but spent in Thamel which were equally as fun and very memorable.
My time in Nepal really was absolutely incredible and I wouldn’t change my time there for anything. I want to say a huge thank you to Projects Abroad for giving me this opportunity, and thank you so much to the Projects Abroad staff - Navin, Sajini, Shanika and Jenna for all the support they gave for all the volunteers whilst I was out there. I definitely plan to go back to Nepal in the near future, it was such a wonderful country and holds so many memories for me, thank you to everyone!