A short account of our trip to Nepal by John Macleod Year 10
(Chailey School 2016)
We left Chailey School bound for Nepal at 2.00am on Friday 13th October - way too early for teenagers to get up!! From Heathrow we flew to Muskat, Oman and then on to Kathmandu, Nepal. We arrived early in the morning ready for a day full of Nepal.
After being given a heartfelt welcome on the bus from Kalsang and Paldin (our tour leaders) we were driven through the capital to the hotel. It was on that bus journey that we saw the first evidence of what the earthquake had done two years previously. Amongst the hustle and bustle of the city we passed piles of trodden down rubble at the sides of the roads, gaping holes along the road where houses and shops should have been and worst of all makeshift UN camps for the homeless still occupied. Even while visiting some of the city's oldest monuments from the Hindu Temple to The Great Boudha Stupa we could see the devastation the earthquake had caused.
After leaving the capital we got to see some of Nepal's breath-taking natural beauty while on our twelve hour bus journey deep into Nepal. We drove through deep valleys and saw some of the flowing rice paddies and empty stream beds (it was the dry season) full of water shaped boulders, which would lead crystal clear mountain water into the leisurely flowing green waters of the river during the wet season. While we stopped for a lunch of Dahl Bat at a roadside cafe we had our first questionably pleasant experience with non-western bathrooms (essentially a hole in the ground), a memory which will always stick with me.
We arrived at our first campsite two to three hours after darkness so when we woke the next morning nothing could have prepared us for the outstanding panoramic views we had of the hilly region all around us and the Himalayas in the far distance. The next day we spent mainly recuperating from the bus journey and then began our serious trekking.
After a generous and delicious breakfast and lathering of sun cream we set off. We had to stop many times to acclimatise and prepare us for the altitude. Throughout our trekking we saw many examples of clashes between the old and the new, for example a team of oxen pulling a plough but the ploughman wearing a Manchester FC shirt. After we had finished our day's trekking we arrived at the village we were to stay at. We were fortunate enough get a traditional Nepalese welcome with marigold wreaths and silk scarfs, to a backdrop of the local volleyball tournament.
Over the next few days we learnt to weave bamboo, plough a field, and how to harvest and to strip corn off the cob. We also got to see the school which our money was going to. We also brought with us lots of clothes as gifts.
My personal highlights of this trip came from our time in the village, seeing the culture and the unpolluted night sky which was so full of stars, and the people who were always so happy and smiley although they had so little. The saddest part of our trip was saying goodbye to our leaders and Sherpa friends and knowing that we would probably never meet again and that we really were leaving Nepal behind.
I really hope that the school continues to support the community and school in the village.
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