I enjoyed my time in Nepal a lot. I connected with the host family and spent most of my days at the Monastery with the nuns (It’s an experience that I would always remember in my heart).
1- Hi tell us about you:
- Full name (first and last): George O’Brien
- Age: 19
- What do you do (study or work, where): Forensic Accounting at Waynesbury U, PA
- Where are you from (city and country): Chesterfield, VA
1.1. - Why did you choose to volunteer in Nepal Kathmandu, what program(s) are you doing and why?
- Why Nepal: I choose Nepal Kathmandu because I wanted to volunteer outside of the U.S. to experience different types of lifestyle communities. Also to gain a new perspective on how fortunate my life is.
- What program: Monastery teaching English to nuns.
- Why this program: I chose to volunteer at the Monastery because I wanted to be able to experience the culture of Buddhist.
2. What was the most surprising thing you experienced while in the program?
- Program: 3 of 5 classes are in English. The most surprising thing at the Monastery was how well their English grammar was. There is one Nepali class and the rest are in English (and Math in English). I was prepared with lessons of all different levels of English skills.
- Host Family: Nothing really surprising with the host family. I thought it was interesting that the little boy knew a lot of English, better than his Nepali sometimes with # 5 and half at least.
- Country: I was surprised with the road infrastructure. The roads are mostly dirt and hole those cars and buses try to avoid. Drivers are impatient or determined to get to their destination. Feels like a roller coaster and most people ride motorcycles.
3. What was the most difficult thing you experienced while in the program?
- Program: The Monastery has no curriculum that they have to follow, so it was difficult to come up with new lessons and/or games after the 6th week teaching them. The family has a library that they allow me to use for new books to teach them.
- Host Family: No difficulties with the Host family because they all speak or understand English.
- Country: Finding the right bus to get to a destination. So many different ones going everywhere. Keep asking until you find the correct one.
4. Any tips for future volunteers….
- Clothing: 100% Polyester clothes are easier to wash, shorts for hot hot days. Durable water proof boots for moonson season.
- Sightseeing: The Monkey Temple for amazing views at the top and cool souvenirs to take home. Don’t be afraid to ask for directions.
- Boudha is another cool place to walk around.
- Laundry/internet: Buy soap for cheap at local store nearby; do own laundry. WIFI is perfect to connect with family back home.
5. Other things volunteers should know about:
- City/town: There is a nice open field to relax or play football near the home. Buses or taxis to almost anywhere you need to go.
The weather changes quite a lot throughout the Monsoon season.
Cool after it rains; really hot in early to mind June.
Bring raincoat and rain pants or a Umbrella where you go be it can rain when least expected.
- Local People: If you need help with getting around, people can help you point to where you need to go. The older people don’t really speak English but younger people sometime do more likely to speak English.
6. Personal paragraph (volunteer program testimonial), detail as possible:
I enjoyed my time in Nepal a lot. I connected with the host family and spent most of my days at the Monastery with the nuns (It’s an experience that I would always remember in my heart). Sudhir treated me like I was one of his own children with open arms. The teachers and nuns appreciate my help with teaching English to them even though I can’t speak Nepali. I had gone to two weddings, which I never been to one before. I’ve experienced local family community of Nepal and the experience to teach Buddhist nuns, which not many people can say. Something I couldn’t do in a normal life in America.
7. How would you describe you’re:
- Accommodation: Very comforting with having own floor just for volunteers with bathroom and sitting area and 3 large rooms.
- Meals (favorite): I love the Dal bhat, a traditional Nepali meal. My favorite is the fried rice with vegetables. Breakfast is omelet with two bread or pancakes.
- Security: I felt completely safe my entire stay. Closed gate to the side street and another locked door to the house at night.
- Host family: Welcoming family that helps you any way they can. The little boy loves to play with as the power rangers, police, airport, bus driver, dump trunk.
8. What was your memory of this trip?
- Whenever there was a birthday everyone would sing and get lots of candy.
- They would laugh at some of the new words they learn.
- I showed them have to play Frisbee and gave them a ball.
- Host Family: Host took me to two different weddings, are being on Sudhir my first day, also a trip to Boudha. Took lots of pic together, showed me how to play Bhagchal (Tiger Chase).
- Country: The view from the rooftops are amazing surrounded by mountains
9. How was the local ABV Coordinator, the staff and the support provided in-country? Be as detailed as possible.
- Airport: Really helpful that he had a huge sign outside of the airport doors for me to see. Helped me exchange money and got taxi for going home. Gave me a quick tour about the city and where they lived.
- Orientation day:
- Quick and efficient presentation on what to do and not do in Nepal. Told me how to get to Monastery, what to wear and what to expect from local people.
- Places to tour
- Rules at the home stay.
- Daily Support: Gave me toilet paper, a bath towel, sheets blanket and pillow, provided snacks, and answered all my questions or concerns. Always asked if I needed anything.
10. How was the information you received from ABV prior to traveling?
Everything was given to me that I needed to know for the trip well in advance.
11. Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers about your volunteer experience?
I can try. I didn’t do a lot of sightseeing or tours, but can always give advice and share my experience.