By Ngan Ha, Dinh (Oct 2011 team, Vietnamese, Barcalays Finance Product Control Group)
I really did not know what to expect from this trip in the beginning.
14/Oct/2011 Landed at Kathmandu international airport.
The terminal building was definitely older than me! Something I could understand (in English) was a trekking and travelling poster.
After marching up and down looking at all the pick up drivers, I was never happier to see my name in black and bold. The temperature felt like 40 degree (25, infact, as we were later told) and this was a free service offered by the hotel. The cars were even older than the terminal building and potentially the oldest cars I have been on. A bunch of guys jumped in from no where to help out with our luggages. “Poor facilities are generally made up by great services!” – I thought while getting settled in the car. Next thing I knew one of guys asked for tips for the luggages!!! I was stunned and about to take out some rupee notes.
– “No, not this one, don’t you have singapore dollar looking like this?” as he showed me a note, which I couldn’t really figure, out what country it belongs to.
Thanks to Tracy who knows really know how to deal with these situations; I did not have to pay anything.
15/Oct/2011 Made our way to Future village
With all the excitement I did not bother with the bumpy ride even though it could have been the most “bouncy” road I have ever been on…until our car broke down. If you ask me now it shouldn’t be a surprise given the road condition and amount of dust that the engine had taken in (my theory could be totally wrong though). So there we were, standing under 40-degree-feel-like temperature! We called some of our guys who were riding a bike at the back only to find that their bike also broke down! “Life is beautiful!” 🙂
…We finally got rescued by a truck (yes, literally).
Looks like we had a fun ride? 20 peoples with a lot of luggage on a truck on a super bumpy road? Think twice people!
16-19/Oct/2011 The kids running “in the mountain”
I was amazed by how some of they can speak really good English. I think I remember more or less all of them especially the younger class (names are a different matter all together though). I hope they had fun just like we did and took away something. I personally learned a lot: the correct way to brush your teeth, 7/10 highest peaks in the world are in Nepal, “head/shoulders/knees & toes” game,…
Our typical day: waking up at 6am everyday for morning class; lunch at 10am; “semi-trekking” under the sun around the village during lunch and get ready for class again at 4pm; dinner at 6pm under the torches’ light and get together to discuss about the next day’s classes. An interesting fact was that showering in cold water actually turned out to be much more bearable than we expected.
We had a campfire on the second last day. We drank local wine and many local people sang and dance for us beautifully. I can only vaguely remember the song now but I can tell for sure that it was a great one and I just love the atmosphere of that evening.
…Seeing them off and saying goodbye after the last class was somehow such an unpleasant thing for me. Maybe I could do a bit more of “fire in the mountain” (thanks to Arti who introduced this show-stealing-game) even my throat hurt quite a bit.
I decided to go to Pokhara instead of coming back to Kathmandu and yes, still so glad that I did. A nice little pretty town with good restaurants and wifi 🙂
20/Oct/2011 Sunrise over Annapurna Himalayan mountain range
We had discovered the best way to greet a new day is to catch sunrise over this mountain range. GRAND!
It was a short day as I tried to catch the local flight at 1.25pm back to Kathmandu (by local I mean the 20-pax capacity type of airplane). It got delayed by 35mins. I was lucky enough to make it to my 4pm Kolkata flight as the last passenger at the very last minute with a little help from Bhavin – our chef of the trip. We called him “the moving supermarket” as you can never imagine the amount of food that he had keenly fed us throughout the trip 🙂
It was an amazing experience. We had a long discussion about the future of the village. Even though many ideas were suggested and weighed, it is not easy to reach the conclusion of how we can make the difference for the kids. We also found out through – our local contact that there are quite a number of people visiting the school every year. They will continue to contribute little by little and probably the same conversation among themselves. But one thing I know for sure this unique experience would make a difference to any of us like it did to me.
Thanks Jessie and the crew for a memorable trip. I am so glad that I was part of it.