A Letter from the Nepal Project Volunteers 2013:
August 30, 2013.
Dear Family, Friends, & Contributors to the Nepal 2013 Project,
We, 12 volunteers from Terenure College and our leaders, have returned from Kathmandu on August 11th, after a 19-day service and solidarity project with the Umbrella Foundation, Nepal. The project has been a success all around, and we would like to share with you, some highlights and news from our trip.
The Nepal 2013 Project has been a year’s community effort of preparing, fundraising, and spreading awareness of the Umbrella Foundation’s work in Nepal. When the date of departure came, we were all very excited and anxious for the trip. After the initial culture shock of our arrival in Kathmandu on July 23rd, we divided into smaller groups and found our way into daily routine. We were introduced to the children, had morning ‘dal baht’ (a mixed rice and lentil dish, eaten daily), walked the children to school, played football, and learned Nepalese dance. On one weekend, we were lucky enough to have the chance to travel outside of Kathmandu to the rural village of Sindupalchok, in the hills of the Kathmandu Valley. Here, we engaged in various activities from painting and plastering, to setting up a volley ball net for the school yard. We also got to interact with the locals. Though we were tired, we left feeling accomplished and rewarded by our hard work. We felt proud to have made a difference in this rural community.
Upon return to Kathmandu, we settled into the Umbrella homes and got to know the children more. The children were very energetic, welcoming, and genuinely happy kids. It wasn’t long before we were accepted into the family as ‘dai.’ In the Nepalese language, dai means brother, which meant that we were now apart of the Umbrella family. We experienced Nepalese culture to be very open and warm. As a group, we grew closer as friends and as brothers through the common goal of helping to improve the quality of life of the children.
Our experience in Nepal with the kids taught us many things. Firstly, we learned that even people who have very little can be so giving and generous to others who are initially, strangers. Secondly, we learned that although the children we worked with had little experience of care and affection from their families and the world around them, they were so loving and kind towards us. It’s no wonder that all of us became attached to the children. We all found it difficult to say goodbye when the time came. The mutual impacts we had on each other surprised us all, given the short time we had with them! We all feel that if given the chance, we would love to return to the Nepal and to the children. The experience as a whole, changed our outlooks on life and how we perceive the world and others around us.
There are many people we would like to thank for making this project possible. Thank you, to those who supported the project financially, who donated clothes, school supplies, and electronics to improve the quality of learning and education for the children. Thank you, to those who wished us well, spread the word about the project, and volunteered time to help with fundraising activities. All of these efforts and contributions helped to make the trip a great success. Thank you, for generosity and good will. Thank you, for sharing in what has been an amazing experience and we hope this letter gives you a small flavour of the journey that has been so life-changing for us.
With sincere gratitude and best regards,
The Nepal 2013 Volunteers from Terenure College - Andrew, Alex, Conor, Stephen, David, Rónan, Éoin, Robbie, Jody, Matthew, Luke and Kevin
Video by David Skelly