By Prakash Shrestha: at 2017-10-09 00:00:00

When we were told our placement was at Shree Kalika Secondary School in Tekanpur, we had no idea what to expect because we were to be the first volunteers to go there. Looking back on those 3 weeks, we can honestly say it has been one of the best experiences of our lives and we were so lucky with the brilliant school and loving family we were placed with! When we first arrived, after a 4 hour journey in the jeep, we were so nervous to meet the teachers and our family but from the minute we walked through the door, everyone was so lovely and hospitable. We were immediately welcomed with a hot plate of chowmein!

The three of us lived with a local family for the 3 weeks in Tekanpur. It took far less than those 3 weeks for them to start feeling like real family to us. Although the host family's' English was fairly basic we always found ways to communicate - learning this is delicious (mitho cha) was probably the most useful. We were always kept well fed with amazing Nepalese food, and with every meal there would be a steaming cup of sweet tea. Sometimes didi (our name for our host mum, literally meaning older sister) would bring popcorn for us after we got back from teaching which we would share with her 2 year old daughter, and on one occasion, a stray goat that had wandered in. We often played games with the family in the evening (they very much enjoyed snap after we introduced it) or sometimes teachers would come round and invite us to watch football matches or read our fortunes... we could honestly never predict what each evening would bring.

Teaching at the school was a welcome challenge and a true delight. The children were so enthusiastic to learn from us. They came from their homes during their holiday period to attend optional classes by us! We loved how eager they were to learn and how intrigued the children were by our lives in England. They loved having someone different come into the school. We taught geography, the culture of England, history, as well as English. In turn we learned so much about Nepali culture from the children. Extracurricular activities were always so fun; skipping, hokey kokey, the limbo, splat... The children were so sweet, giving us hand-coloured appreciation letters in the playground.

When we left, the entire school organised a huge farewell ceremony for us in their playground which included traditional Nepali dances by the girls of each class, speeches, singing and even a silent drama by the grade 7 boys which accurately summarised our time here. It made us laugh and cry! We even performed our own dance to Shakira's Waka Waka, which the students cheered for loudly!! We would definitely recommend volunteering with HELP to anyone who has a sense of adventure, willingness to help others and desire to make lifelong friends and memories. Cora is now planning to set up Durham University HELP because she loved the experience so much!

- Cora Tylor, Simran Goyal and Jasmine Bawa

Volunteers, 2017.


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