Last Day in Nepal
This post is from Noah:
Our last full day in Nepal certainly was an interesting one!
We started out the day by eating breakfast at the Holy Himalaya hotel and from there we took a bus to Patan, an ancient city, which is now part of Kathmandu along with 2 other ancient cities.
While in Patan. We went to the former kings palace which has now been turned into a museum. The likes of which holds many old Buddhist statues and relics from when Nepal consisted of many separate kingdoms.
Our groups last full day in Nepal didn’t disappoint and while we are all sad to leave after 3 whole weeks, we are also eager to see our families after a long time.
The Long Drive
This post is from Miles:
Today we said our goodbyes to our wonderful caretaker, Sushila, and equally wonderful dog, Bruno. Today was the day that we would be driven by bus from our hotel in Pokhara to Kathmandu. We hopped on the bus which we then spent 8 hours on, stopping occasionally for cold beverages. We also had some good dal bhat for lunch about half way through. The trip was full of great views as well as extensive Avatar: the Last Airbender watching among other shows that we had downloaded over the past week in preparation. Once we got to our hotel in Kathmandu (about 4:00-4:30) Ellie and Josh ordered us to rest for a few hours before we went out to dinner which was also a good meal.
Last Day on Project and in Pokhara
This post is from Georgia:
Today we finished painting the school and started painting the building right next to it. The principal of the school thanked us by giving us scarves and flowers. We then went back and packed our things for the trip to Kathmandu tomorrow and then had time to go shopping for the last time in Pokhara. To end the day we went and had curry for dinner with some of our trekking guides, our language instructor, and other people we have met in Nepal.
Another Project Day
This post is from Emily:
Wednesday morning began at 8:30, as all project days have so far. We started painting around 10 and finished at 2:30. It is very close to being done, just one more day until the school will be fully painted. It was a warm, sunny day which made for perfect painting weather.
After the project we had some downtime in Pokhara, our last afternoon of free time here. We spent our time either shopping or reading in a coffee shop. For dinner tonight we walked down the street for our choice of curry and naan, delicious. Josh and Ellie (our wonderful GVI guides) planned a game for us after dinner, part two of the Battle of Knowledge (part one was played on the 4th of July). We were split into Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, or Ravenclaw and answered trivia questions about Harry Potter, music, Nepal, GVI, Australia, etc.
Another lovely day in Nepal!
Another Work Day
This post is from Sarah:
Tuesday, another work day! We started the day with breakfast at 8:30 and we were on the bus by 9:30 headed back to the school to continue on our painting project. The school is being painting red; it’s coming along very nicely! Lunch was around 12:30 we had chow mein, fried rice, steamed momos: super yummy. We wrapped up our painting around 2:30 and headed back. Once we all washed off the excessive amount of paint, we went to walk around the lakeside shops here in Pokhara. A group of us went to a German bakery and sat and read in the garden, ordering a lot of delicious cake. At 6:30 it was time for dinner and we all walked to a restaurant and ate a traditional Nepalese dinner of dal bhat with our hands in place of silverware. We ended the night with some games on the lawn. And now off to bed!
Sunday: A culture day
This post is from Kaitlyn:
Today we get to sleep in. We start the day off with a culture presentation from a GVI volunteer. We learn about the caste system, dowries and marriages.
Then we take a bus to SASANE. There we are greeted and given gold scarves. We also take our shoes off before entering the building. Inside we start by making momos. We are all assigned different prep jobs: shredding carrots, mincing onions, making the dough ( a simple oil flour water mixture) etc. Once this is done, everything is mixed together, the juice squeezed out, and spices added. Next we watch as a tomatoey sauce is made. Cubed tomatoes are sautéed with oil and spices. Finally, we get to the assembling step. We each have small wooden boards and a piece of dough. We roll it, cut a circle out, and put a small bit of veggies in. To seal it, we pinched the dough together and then twisted it. Very fun but tricky. Then they were steamed. Next we eat lunch- dal bhat. We are taught how to eat with our hands ( though many of us have tried before) It’s the best dal bhat we’ve had so far! Most go back for seconds. We all drink masala tea and then watch a presentation about the organization and human trafficking. The stats are very sad- but Sasane is doing a lot to help survivors. Afterwards we get to try the momos we made- delicious! Although a bit oddly shaped.
After lunch we head to the mountain museum. The museum was pretty big, covering different ethnic groups, geology of the Himalayas, tallest mountains, climate changes, rocks and fossils, and animals and plants. It was really interesting to learn about (and sad to see what the clouds are covering since we haven’t had a clear day yet).
For dinner we head back to Godfathers for some pizza and pasta in the rain.
Overall a very interesting and fun day!
A Day Off for Sightseeing
This just in from Martha:
A day off of work so a full day of sightseeing. First, off to the Peace Pagoda which was originally built by a Japanese Buddhist monk but the government didn’t approve of it, so they tore it down. In 2012 it was rebuilt by the community of Pokhara.
Next we were off to Devi’s Fall which is a very narrow chasm that is the only exit for Phew Tal. There are a bunch of tourist activities there including shopping and some gardens with some photo opportunities. The kids weren’t particularly into it, but they were good sports and indulged me.
I would have to say that the highlight of the sightseeing was walking across the suspension bridge!!! They thoroughly enjoyed the view overlooking the valley below, but what they really liked was just being on the bridge. So we gave them as much time as they wanted to hang out on the bridge. Your kids are getting along so well that is has been my pleasure to be accompanying of this adventure.
This post is from Martha:
Today was hot! Today was humid! But they still kept working! Our assignment was to finish priming the back wall, continue to the side wall and begin painting the front wall. Despite the heat, they have stayed working from 10:00 to about 3:00ish and are further ahead on the project than expected.
On the project site is another GVI group of Brits and one American. They are all about 23 years old, are encouraging & pleasant, and play good music while we work! They have been painting the interior of one of the classrooms.
Two curiosities: the Nepalese government has the schools built, but not painted. They rely on foreign volunteers to do that, as they consider their people too busy with their day to day living to be able to paint. Every school in Nepal must be painted the same reddish/pinkish color of their Hindi religion.
The team is not starving… they are feed three meals a day and of course they have found their favorite snacks. Each morning at our hotel we are served muesli with banana, fried potatoes with vegetables, hard boiled eggs, a sweet bakery treat, and tea. For lunch, we are served fried rice with vegetables, wide noodles with vegetables, thin noodles with vegetables, a kind of popover with fried rice and vegetables and a drink of choice — water, Fanta, or Sprite. For dinner we always go to a different restaurant within walking distance from our hotel. Since most restaurants are not equipped to serve large groups we call ahead with our order. Even then, we are usually served one person at a time–sometimes the last person is getting their meal, as the first person is finishing their meal–they kids don’t mind one bit and recognize that this is the Nepalese way! Dal Bhat*, Dal Bhat, Dal Bhat is the overwhelming choice for dinner each evening. A few are eating it with their hand, as the way it is eaten by the Nepalis. I predict by next week they all will be.
Please know that the kids are all well, happy and thriving !
*Dal Bhat is a staple dish in Nepal. It is everywhere and the Nepalese people eat it all the time. Like kimchi in Korea, there are a lot of subtle variations but it is essentially a large plate with a pile of steamed rice in the middle. Around the edge are 5 or more different beans and vegetables (sometimes meat but our crew avoids most meats) typically including a lentil soup, curry potatoes, maybe some yogurt, and usually something pickled. The locals eat it with their fingers using a technique that can be difficult to master resulting in the newbie wearing some of their meal.
The saying is “Dal Bhat power, 24 hour. No toilet. No shower!”