Olivia M. recounts her unforgettable volunteering trip to Nepal on our Namaste Nepal trip. She's promised the students she taught that she’d come back to teach again next year, and she intends to keep that promise.

First impressions

One thing I’ve noticed about this city is that every car seems to have a different horn to the next. They like to beep their horns incessantly. As we turn the corner I can see the Milkyway school with a blue fence. It looks quite small compared to schools in Australia, but this is expected.

I can tell the school is well-off because the students are wearing uniforms. As I enter through the gate the security guard nods at me. I nod back. There are what I assume to be prep level students outside on the concrete. I wave as I go past. They all look so happy, in contrast to students I see back home. They seem to live more minimalistic lives yet they seem better off for it. I head upstairs to meet the principal. He asks a lot of questions about my life back at home and shows a genuine interest in what I do.

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Dropped into the deep end

My first class is with the grade twos. I plan on giving them some colouring books to colour in. As I enter the classroom the students greet me with a song, that asks me how I am and signals that I should begin the lesson. I’m about to pull out the colouring books when the children start chanting at me. “Play outside. Play outside!” They’re grabbing at the sleeves of my jacket and saying “Ma’am please play outside. Please!” Eventually, I give in and they practically drag me outside to play.

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They seem to enjoy it when I pick them up and spin them around or run really fast with them on my back. They squeal with excitement every time. One of them is named Sanbi and I would take her back home with me in an instant if only I could. She grabs a whiteboard marker from my pocket and starts writing her name on my arm.

Then before I know it I’ve got marker all over my face as well. One of them has drawn the star of David on my forehead and put a dot in between my eyebrows. I don’t even mind one little bit. I’m just happy to be surrounded by such lively and wholesome kids. I will cherish this moment for the rest of my life.

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The bell rings and all the kids run back inside. I head to my next class with the grade fives. I plan on teaching them some Japanese. Again I am greeted with a song. I teach them basic words and phrases. They seem to enjoy it. I have five classes to take each day from Monday to Thursday each week.

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Saying goodbye

Three weeks go by so quickly as I’m enjoying myself so much. It’s the last day of school and I feel my heart sinking to my stomach. I’m not going to see these kids again for at least another year. I’ve promised them I’ll come back to teach again next year, and I intend to keep that promise.

It has been such a rewarding experience. The past three weeks have been the most eye-opening ever. I’ve experienced what it’s like to live in Nepal. Everything is so different from Australia. The food, the people, the roads. I have travelled to many temples and Stupas. It’s an amazing place, but out of everything, I know I will miss the children most of all.

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If you want to see Nepal as Olivia did and really make a difference in some young lives, jump onto our Namaste Nepal trip.

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