As our 18 days in Gaucharan came to a close, the team made their final preparations to leave. Over our time here, all the volunteers have developed strong relationships with their families, shared laughter, bonded over Daal Bhat, danced and sang, and exchanged cultural experiences. So, it was with heavy hearts and tear-filled eyes that we said goodbye to our host home families.
When the day came to leave, the community adorned us with homemade flower garlands. Gifts were exchanged to show mutual appreciation. The volunteers said their goodbyes in Nepali, whilst the community members responded in English; a stark contrast to our initial interactions.
We donned our heavy backpacks, ready to set off – but a surprise farewell ceremony awaited us at the Elders House. The village elders blessed everyone with Tikas and gave us traditional silk scarves: the Khada. Our oldest member, Dimitri, was gifted with a unique orange Khada. We were supplied with snacks for our onward journey.
The last goodbyes were said, and final hugs and kisses given. We set off with an entourage of locals who helped carry our belongings to the bus which awaited us 30 minutes walk away. We had a final glimpse of their waves as we drove back to our temporary home at the training centre, ready for what lies ahead.