After emotional ‘namastes’ it was straight into team and Volunteer Manager reviews with Deputy Operations Manager, Ceci. After dinner on the first day, the teams each presented the skits they had been working on in their spare time.
The audience was treated to a ‘Baltar Rhapsody’ (to the tune of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen) from NE3 followed by a story of Adhikari Gaun life presented in the style of The Harry Potter Pals’ ‘The Mysterious Ticking Noise’, complete with goats and local characters, from NE2. The final performance, from NE1, came in the form of a slick video cover of Skepta’s ‘Shutdown’ with lyrics about life in Chapthok.
The three judges – Ceci; Communications Officer, Lisa and RIMS Manager, Nanda – considered four criteria: innovation/originality; effort; humour and participation of all team members. It was close but they were unanimous in their decision that NE1’s video entry was the clear winner.
Day two saw each team present a review of their first phase in community as a handover to the new teams, with important information such as the location of the water source, shelter improvements and which host homes serve the best pickle.
For allocations this time, the correct answer to various riddles led the Venturers to their new teammates, Volunteer Managers and village locations.
An inspirational talk from Björn Söderberg, Managing Director of project partner, Build Up Nepal, engaged Venturers, Volunteer Managers and Country Office staff alike. He told of his experience of arriving in Nepal from Sweden as an 18-year old to “make a difference” as a volunteer English teacher, intending to stay for three to six months: “That was 16 years ago and I’ve been here ever since!”
Bjorn spoke with real passion about setting up the non-profit organisation Build Up Nepal and other businesses after realising that he and his friends were “part of the problem”. Living next to a rubbish and sewage filled river as a young teacher and witnessing women and children working extremely hard in construction prompted him to rouse his friends into action. His story clearly resonated with our young volunteers and there were lots of interesting questions and discussion afterwards.
Following supplies check, the new teams of ’10 weekers’ had a hopes and fears session and the day ended with a fond farewell to the ‘seven weekers’. There were emotional and amusing words from the Volunteer Managers, including a great impression of American volunteer, Jared, by Volunteer Manager, Tim, and a slideshow of seven weeker best bits from Photographer, Saoirse.
The new 10-week teams left Baireni early yesterday for their new village homes and spent the day settling in with village tours, map-making and shelter improvements. We look forward to hearing how they’re getting on during the next three weeks.
16 April – end of Phase 3; return to training centre
18 April – ‘endex’ (end of Expedition); Venturers depart
22 April – Volunteer Managers depart