Subha ratri, Bhalu Khola

6th May 2016

Outside our favourite tea shop


One: We’ve made a tangible difference. As Raleigh’s very first cohort in Nepal, we expected our role would mainly revolve around conducting the preliminary needs assessment research for the rest of the project and building rapport with host families and the community. It transpires though, that being Raleigh pioneers in Nepal has instead proved a unique and enormous privilege. We have achieved far, far more. Over three months of training and events we have watched and helped the community convert their own scepticism and apathy into fully-fledged positivity and participation.

Focus group with male youth

Two: We’ve learnt a great deal. From the community we have observed and been treated to incredible kindness and generosity. Resilience in the face of extended water and electricity shortages has inspired greater patience and has humbled some of our more complex and redundant expectations.
From our team we’ve learnt Nepali, Italian, Spanish, Mandarin and German. We’ve learnt about international conflict, British Sign Language, community development, British agriculture, a system of rice intensification, how to build an improved stove and an outdoor clay oven, nutrition, yoga and meditation, Nepali and English songs and dances, circuit training and how to regenerate a bamboo tree.

Phil, Sashi, some helpers and their outdoor oven

Three: We’ve had fun. The happiest and most gratifying moments on ICS have often been at the end of a successful awareness-raising day or training session where the whole team has worked hard towards it and the community have impressed us anew with their participation, commitment and energy. Beyond project work we’ve also played volleyball matches, chess tournaments, countless games of cards and home-made articulate. We’ve been entertained by off-the-cuff minute speeches by those who are late to work on topics such as ‘Why I Enjoy Getting Up Early.’ We have climbed the highest peak in Nepal (outside of the Himalayan region), held pub quizzes and have floundered at yoga. We’ve sneaked up on fireflies in the dark and handled the freshest cow dung…

Chatpate in the Team Leader’s house

Every day we have woken up to baby goats, a gently bleating calf and haughty buffaloes in a world of banana trees, paddy fields and dhalbat. We have worked hard and the community has met us halfway. There is no doubt that these three months will certainly comprise, at least some part, of the time of our lives.

Bye bye Bhalu Khola

Written by UK volunteer Victoria Bennett

Youth In Civil Society Nepal