Rosie Cox - Disaster Relief in Nepal
It was incredibly hot when I arrived in Nepal. When I arrived at the airport, a Projects Abroad member of staff was there to meet me and we went by taxi to my accommodation. I was quite concerned when my suitcase was tied with a string to the top of the taxi, but it made it to the hotel just fine!
All the staff were very kind and welcoming, and after being shown to my room I met the other volunteers. They had been to the placement site that morning and I was really looking forward to starting too. On my first day I had an induction and was shown around the area. We had to cross a road in order to get to a shop to buy passport photos to get a sim card. I never thought I'd be able to cross a road in Nepal by myself to begin with, but after having done it a couple of times I realized it wasn't so bad you just had to be confident about it.
Disaster Relief Placement
The first day was very difficult, as I had to get used to the warm temperature. But after the first day I didn't notice the heat. Our project coordinator was always checking if we were okay and making sure we were drinking enough water, which was really great. All the staff were so supportive and helpful even when we weren't at the site.
We had to do a lot of digging to begin with, so we could make the foundations for the school. By watching how the other volunteers dug the trenches, I found I could do the job more efficiently, however some days it was more difficult as the ground was really dry and the mud kept falling back into the trenches.
As more volunteers arrived the work got done a lot quicker and soon all the trenches were done and we moved on to building the walls. I'd never done any building before so it was quite an achievement when I built my first wall. The day after the first classroom had the walls built, the children moved in to use it for their lessons.
My first two weeks were spent at a hotel while they prepared the host family's house for us. When we arrived there, the family was very welcoming and told us the rules of the house. They also explained the backup power, as there were quite a lot of power cuts.
Our rooms at the house had bunk beds and six of us shared my room. The bathroom in our room was the first to lose water so we had to fill up a bucket from one of the other rooms to wash, which I didn't think I would like but it didn't bother me at all.
Weekends in Nepal
On the weekends the staff arranged trips to Pokhara and Chitwan National park. We got to go on a jeep safari and jungle walks at Chitwan. It was quite muddy by the river as it had rained a bit because the monsoon season was starting. The canoe trip down the river was really lovely and we saw crocodiles along the riverbank. We also watched the sunset over the river, which was beautiful.
Whilst visiting Pokhara we had the opportunity to go bungee jumping and paragliding. Both of these activities were really worth doing. Paragliding felt a lot safer and relaxing having done the bungee jump first but was still really enjoyable. We were also taken by a tour guide to see some waterfalls and go down into a cave. It was raining quite a lot but still really good.
On my final day at the site the staff from the school gave us scarves and flowers to thank us. It was a lovely ceremony.
I didn't want to leave as I had made so many good friends and I really wanted to see the school finished. It was very sad having to say goodbye. Nepal was an amazing experience. I really loved it.