When I found myself hiding in a bush on a small footpath somewhere in the Ghorka Region, with three girls I’d met only a week prior, I had the glaring realization of how different the Nepali culture is. Despite the fact that we were all fully clothed, we were encouraged to hide from a group of boys who were showering at one of the natural springs, to avoid any embarrassment.
Finally, it was our turn. Covered in sweat and grime from a long hot day of trekking, host country venturer Tara showed us how to orientate washing, fully clothed. About a metre from the ground, this natural spring poured refreshing water from a hole in the wall. Believe me, it was delightful.
I have enjoyed working as a group with the local Nepalese venturers. It has been rewarding exchanging views and ideas about each other’s cultures, finding out the real truths about everyone’s homes as well as the similarities of our ages. It’s an absorbing collision of cultures. Individuals are adapting well to their new situations.
During venturer induction we received earthquake training from one of the host country venturers, Dipesh. His training made me really think of the magnitude of the danger and the realness for the people who live here. It was powerful being able to discuss the event and effects of the earthquake first hand with people who experienced it. It was very emotive.
The presence of the Nepali venturers has already made my understanding of Nepal so much richer. Within the international venturer contingent, there are many different nationalities. I find it enjoyable listening to the ways in which people say things. It makes you experience what they say differently.
Working with host country venturers opens up your world and your understanding of it. Your bubble is popped. I think the small things you learn from people, conversations and interactions, have lasting effects. Like drinking tea! It is the people of Nepal that make this culture overflow with a strong sense of humanity. And the different opinions towards porridge – a hearty breakfast for the international volunteers but a horrible thought for the host country venturers who know it only as goat feed.
I think the bonds we have created will elevate the effectiveness of the work we get done in the community phase. We have invested time and energy in getting to know one another, building strong relationships based on trust. Learning about the diverse cultures has taught us how to avoid offending anyone accidentally, and formed a dynamic group spirit, that respects everyone’s capabilities.