Departure for Nepal

When I got there, it was a bit of a shock. I left one world to discover another so different. Cars drive on the right; there are many people and noise in the streets—a constant mixture of dust and pollution. During the day, we can meet many dogs sleeping on the road, but they give us a happy concerto in a gang in the evening. I had read in books that once there, the smells of spices and incense misted the streets, and it’s true that wherever you go, you can smell them, it’s so pleasant.. It was a chance to leave with this combination as I wouldn’t have learned so much going alone, I think. Indeed, this association managed construction sites in 4 different villages more or less far from the capital. It allowed me to discover different ways of living depending on the ethnicities. And above all, meet extraordinary people throughout the trip. The vast majority of Nepalese have their hearts set on their hands. No matter what path I take, I have constantly bumped into lovely people. You take the bus in one direction, and then finally you get lost a bit on the way, but there, a Nepali sees that you are having a hard time and starts to help you, then invites you to drink tea with his family. I learned so much from the locals there. No matter how much you read books, look on the internet or watch reports, there is nothing like going there and being immersed.
When we decide to leave France for Nepal, we give up a certain comfort. Indeed, there are often water problems no matter where you are. Sometimes you can have water, but it will be cold even in winter, or you may not have water. But ultimately, we adapt since we have no choice. In the villages, the volunteers and I washed either with basins of water or showers, created by some volunteers, fitted with resistance to heat the water. Then if not, in winter, if you don’t wash every day, you tell yourself it’s okay, it’s the same for everyone, and we all laugh about it. We also face the problems of power cuts that are very common, not very surprising given the cable nodes everywhere in town. Sometimes it could be restrictive since I was working on a computer with part of my work team.

Christmas with volunteers in the village of Gairimudi
We have different means of transportation to get from one point to another. So, to get around the most touristic cities like Pokhara, Kathmandu or even Chitwan, there are tourist buses, the most comfortable, easy to find either in the capital or once there. You still have to manage to find your way around the city. The beginnings can be a little difficult because of the streets, which are all alike, with the similar stores that can be found side by side. When it comes to transport, you have to know how to negotiate well, because as French people or as “white” people, of course, we do not have the same prices as locals. It takes between 600 and 700 Nepalese rupees to get to these almost equal-distance cities. The roads aren’t great, but I assure you that when you’ve been to more remote villages and taken local buses, these are the best roads you’ll take on your trip. Local buses are more minor, much narrower, and as long as they can fit people into them, whether standing or sitting, they will. It is all the more difficult to make trips of 7 hours or more on these buses, especially if you are tall. I am 1m64, and given the state of the roads, when I was standing, I could bang my head against the ceiling several times or even while sitting; I had my knees touching the seat opposite. On local buses, the Nepalese can also give you their baby or child on their knees if they do not have a seat, and you do. Besides, once again, I was surprised because the Nepalese are more likely to give you their seat on a local bus and yet when you have several hours of road to do already sitting down, it is tiring, so standing up, I let you imagine.
There are also taxis used a lot there and which are very practical since they are present everywhere. Again, you have to successfully negotiate for each location, especially if you choose to go to touristy places. They will not hesitate to inflate their price. Then, with the other volunteers, we used apps like “Tootle” and “Pathao”. It’s a bit like the principle we have in France with “Uber” style taxis except that they are motorcycles or scooters. We choose a starting point and an ending point. The driver calls us to confirm and very quickly, we find ourselves strolling through the streets of Kathmandu. It is much faster than a taxi, depending on the traffic, but maybe a little more dangerous because they do not offer us a helmet, so you might as well invest in a helmet once there if you stay for a while—long duration.
I think staying and living for so long in Nepal. A developing country has given me a much more extensive view of the world. We see tough things there, and it makes us want to be better. I learned to live in simplicity, with simple people filled with love. I understood the importance of giving without counting and without waiting in return. I had never met so many people in my whole life than during those eight months, endowed with so much kindness.

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