Volunteers' Reviews

Namaste

My last full day in Nepal.I'm up by 6:30 with the sun streaming in our windows & hitting my book - it looks like it will be a lovely day. The dogs have finally quieted down, the birds are chirping, horns honking and all is good in my little corner of Kathmandu - all but my stomach. I've taken another antibiotic, an off stomach is something I do not want to be dealing with as I travel home - my first flight, from Kathmandu to Hong Kong leaves tonight at 11:30. Nepalese music is blasting from a neighbor's house & pigeons are cooing on a roof near by. Lucked in and had another hot shower - must be the lack of people in the hostel. I am going to savor my last day here. Kitti, Morgan & I decided to have a leisurely day in Thamel, after I packed up my gear in the morning. I thought purchasing some croissants from the Dutch bakery for the plane might help my stomach as I travel. I stood in the sun & beautiful weather, knowing it would be the last nice weather I would see for a while. I even managed to get a red nose. I wanted to check in with our seamstress to make sure she got the correct measurement for my pant length, and, much to my surprise, my outfits were done. Wow - yet again. I tried on the tops over my t-shirt, and one neckline was not as I requested, but, it was quite pretty so decided not to have it altered. Both Kitti and Morgan had gone off to get their pieces to have alterations done (Morgan a Sari top and Kitti had a pair of pants made). I sat patiently on the stool in the tiny little sewing store while they ironed my outfits. All three of us were given a scarf from our seamstress, because we had given her some material we bought, which we didn't use in the end. See what I mean about generosity - it came when you least expected it - and it was very touching & humbling. This whole trip has in fact been very humbling - it has put things in check for me - what is important, who is important and what should be important. Sometimes, I think it takes living another lifestyle for you to note things with such clarity, at least it does for me. I never got culture shock - I've done a bit of traveling in my day - so didn't expect to - but at the same time, had no idea what to expect. This far away land, on the other side of the world, literally, has made me take stock of things. I've always been a hands on student, so this trip provided a great classroom for me. I passed on my last dinner of Daal Bhaat - no surprise there- and was whisked to the airport by Bagwan, the hostel's driver. Kathmandu Airport sure like there security checks - bags checked before going into the terminal, before checking in, I was frisked before entering the gates, my carry on were checked, but I was allowed to keep my 1 Litre bottle of water, and then frisked again before going on the plane. It was the last day of world cup cricket and televisions were in every corner turned on to the match. When the match was over there was joy throughout the airport - leaving on a high note is always a good thing. Namaste Nepal - when spoken to another person, it is commonly accompanied by a slight bow made with hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointed upwards, in front of the chest

There is an old saying that goes something like: "Explain to a man how tasty this mango is, and leave him forever in wonder. Convince the man to have a taste of the mango, and leave him forever in bliss."

Nepal, IFRE, My volunteering, my experience, the friends I've made, the people who have touched me, the coordinators, the Hostel staff, the attention and care the IFRE organization gave to each and every individual that came though: all of is far exceeded all of my expectations.

I had come to Nepal, like many of you reading this review, curious, intrigued by the mystery that engulfed Nepal, and just completely oblivious to its culture, customs and people. I was nervous at first, not knowing what to expect.

I was not sure if the airport pickup would be on time. I was not sure what type of people would be taking care of me; would they care, would they be honest, helpful, kind? I had so many questions and expectations.

My arrival at the airport as smooth as can be. The driver approached me directly, called me by name and comfortably spoke to me in surprisingly good English. I arrived at the Hostel, the launch pad to all the projects for all volunteers, and I was completely surprised to see the number of foreigners staying there. People from ALL over the world came through this organization to volunteer, intern, travel, trek, learn etc. Denmark, Holland, Italy, London, USA, Australia, Germany, France, Spain, Taiwan, China were just among the countless countries people came from. But it wasn't just the diversity that surprised me, but the ability to connect with each and every person.

I believed I was going to be completely on my own in Nepal, but I left Nepal feeling like I was leaving my home. The staff at the hostel honestly takes an interest in your well-being. They take time out of their day to make sure you are comfortable. They help when you need help, personally take you to the hospital (in case of any emergencies) and just extend a helping hand all the time.

They personally come and drop you to your project, call you to check up on you (if you have a local phone - which can be purchased with incredibly ease all over the country), and come pick you up should you want a change in project or accommodation.

Switching between projects was incredibly smooth and that is due to the helpfulness of the staff. They have your best interest and comfort at the forefront of their minds, and are not the least bit stringent.

The sites, the cities, the culture, the people, the language class (exceptional), the people you meet, the friendship you create, and the memories you'll hold onto for ever are amongst some of the greatest experience you will have.

I had doubts and expectations in the beginning, but within two days all my doubts were washed clean and my expectations were being exceeded in almost every way possible.

Overall, my Volunteering experience teaching English was wonderful, smooth and very touching. Setting up a sponsorship program for needy children with the school's faculty was done with no problems at all. Everyone was kind, helpful and incredibly grateful for me coming to help them.

If there is anything I could do to explain to you how great this experience was then I would do it. I would try to be like the man who tasted the mango and write till I faint explaining the wonderful experience I’ve had here. But, that will not come close to even doing justice to the real experience. So, with that said, the only way you will be able to honestly experience Nepal and have a wonderful trek, volunteering experience and just a great time, is to just DO IT! Taste the mango for yourself, I can almost certainly promise you that you will not regret it.

If anyone wants to contact me for more information about Nepal, IFRE, trekking, volunteering projects etc or anything regarding what you are interested in or my experience, feel free to contact me at my email: S.bhoraniya@gmail.com. (I am 22 years old from New Jersey, USA)

-Thank you for this great experience IFRE and you for reading my review,

Shyam Bhoraniya
s.bhoraniya@gmail.com
September 10, 2010

Carolyn Cherry

We spent four nights in the hotel because of the Dashain Festivals. We got to RCDP and things were explained very well. It was a lot of material for students to learn in one week but Hom did an awesome job.

I went through IFRE out of Texas .

I have had a great experience with the orientation and language class. At times we had no idea what we were going to be doing. Times changed on us but it all sorted itself out very well. The staffs are so accommodating as far as switching placements and schedules of the programs. We were fed and treated well by the staffs.

Carolyn- second from the right is enjoying her final day of the language.

I would recommend this program to the upcoming people and everybody should be more flexible and open-minded.

It was wonderful to stay in the village. Sulav and his family were very friendly accommodating to all seven girls. We saw a lot of the village area and had good time. We enjoyed it because we had interesting conversation with the village people. I think it could be one night less, especially if a person is alone I could see it getting lonely.

We had a good time in Chitwan too. It was nice to be out in a village. The landscape was nice; we had great meals. A lot of people we were with complained it was too touristy but I understand that is the part of orientation too. It was relaxing food and hotel.

Finally, a special thank goes to Hom, Bhuban and Jian for all they did.

Carolyn - First from the left is excited to know about her language test.

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