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Tour, Trekking and Teaching English at Buddhist Monks experience in Nepal

With our plane leaving the 23th of March one of the best experiences of my life had started. I’ll never forget how we arrived, a little nervous, at our new host family and them welcoming us in such a warm and loving way that we immediately felt at home. In those introduction days we have been stuffed with the best food, most loving support and lots of laughter. We came as strangers but parted as family.

VSN didn’t just leave us at this sweet family but took us out on a lot of excursions, the first one being a 2 minute bike ride to The Hut. A cute place, live music, a couple of drinks, the most friendly fellow volunteers: what else can you wish for? Other than that we’ve also been to the Monkey Temple, Thamel, Bhaktapur, Boudhanath and have been taught some Nepali. Even though I can only remember 5 sentences, the locals love it and it has started many interesting conversations.

After these great first few days the real journey could start. A dusty, bumpy, narrow road filled with trucks, buses, bikes, locals, maintenance workers and cows took us to our first stop: Chitwan. I can happily confirm we are still alive even after seeing so many crocodiles, rhinos, monkeys, boars, footprints of the tiger and of course Ronaldo the Elephant. We were also lucky enough to practice our Nepali with the hotel workers, sing songs with the guides and meet up with another volunteer.

The next morning our journey continued to Pokhara over a road even more dusty, bumpy and narrow than the previous one. In Pokhara however we could enjoy the fresh(er) air at the peaceful lakeside. We didn’t stay too long in this paradise because we were most eager to climb the thousands of steps of the Poonhill Trek in the burning sun. That we managed to do this is mainly due to our amazing tour guide who kept feeding us power food. But rewarded we were: a most beautiful sunrise and stunning mountain range.

After this our journey continued again over the already well known road, this time filled with too many trucks, buses, bikes, locals and cows so we got stuck in one of Nepal’s lovely traffic jams. Now the holiday and fun stuff was over: the real work started. Back in Kathmandu we started teaching in a monastery and helping in an orphanage.

That has been an experience which is indescribable: the happiness, appreciation, interest and gratitude of the children can’t be put in words. It’s something very special and rewarding to do and makes you never want to leave. I have fallen in love with every single one of them and I will cherish them forever.

Now that we’re staying in one place for the rest of our time here, in Boudhanath to be exact, we’re also able to meet up with the other volunteers. This meant a lot of yoga classes, movies, nights out, dinners (finally no rice!!), lovely bike rides, the weekly meet ups at The Hut and salsa nights. All these lovelies have become friends, wonderful memories have been made and tons of brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles have been added to my family. As the movie we’re watching with the orphanage children is ending I fear I will soon have no time to write anymore. Thank you so much VSN for making all of this possible! ??

Marleen Boersma

From the Netherlands