30 April 2018

A life-changing experience in Nepal

​​ During the April school holidays, eleven Year 10 girls and two teachers travelled to Nepal for a life-changing trip. We arrived at the airport early Saturday morning, eager to start our trip. After an overnight stay in Bangkok followed by a three-hour flight the next day, we arrived in Kathmandu.

As soon as we stepped out of the airport our senses were overwhelmed by the new sights, smells and sounds. Our first week was to be spent trekking in the Himalayas so the next morning we boarded a tiny plane and arrived in the mountains at Lukla just after 7am. We trekked about 15km each day through towns including Phakding and Monjo and arrived at Namche, our final destination. We climbed up to 3,900m and were lucky enough to glimpse Mt Everest, one of the many highlights of the trip. We met some amazing people including our Sherpa guide Kami and also Tenzing, a two-year-old village boy who loved to play with us. 

In the villages along the 100km trek, there were prayer flags lining the streets creating a welcoming, familiar environment. It was amazing to wake up some mornings and go outside to stand in the clouds, an experience which can never be had in Australia. On our last night in the mountains, we had a trivia quiz, where we surprised ourselves with how much we had learnt about another culture in such a short amount of time, simply by being immersed in it.

During the second week, we stayed in Thamel at the Kathmandu Guest House. We went to Asha Nepal on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday as part of the service component of the trip. Asha Nepal is a UK-run charity which rescues girls around our age who have been victims of human trafficking. While there, we taught the girls some different positive psychology methods and ways to cope with their feelings and how to look forward to the future. We spent one of the days playing soccer with them where everyone surprised us with their skills, including the teachers. On our final day at Asha, we played games, had our hair braided by our new friends and bought items they had made including jewellery and cookbooks. Going to Asha Nepal not only provided the girls with a new perspective on things but also ourselves. We were able to see how resilient the girls are, considering all the atrocities they have been through, and how happy and grateful they are now. 

On Wednesday, we met with some children from the Down Syndrome Society of Nepal, where we danced together non-stop for two hours with smiling faces everywhere! It was so rewarding to see how a small action was able to have such a positive impact. Afterwards, we went to visit the Boudhanath, the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal, which was a unique cultural experience. In Kathmandu we went shopping in the busy and noisy streets, taking in the fascinating new culture and enjoyed going out to dinner each night, where either Sarah Bartram or Mrs Charles knew the owners. As we left our mobiles at home, the end of most days was spent playing 500, writing in our journals and reading.

After two weeks of new experiences, we sadly boarded our flight back to Australia, having run across Bangkok airport to make our flight, safely returning home with amazing memories.

A big thank you to everyone who made this trip so incredible, Mr Compton, Kami, Sarah Bartram and especially Mrs Charles, who ensured that nothing was overlooked and everything ran smoothly.

Tara Hercz, Year 10