How would you describe/rate your experience working with the ABV staff in the USA?
Working with the ABV staff in the States was great, anytime I had a question I always got a quick, friendly and helpful response.
How was the local ABV Director and the support provided in-country?
Local ABV director in Kathmandu was good, very knowledgeable and spent a fair amount of time with the volunteers helping us to understand the current political social economic issues in Kathmandu. The support in the country was also helpful, not overly smothering so a volunteer still has to flounder a bit, but never to the point of being concerned about their own well being. Everyone was very kind and always cheerful.
What was your favorite memory of this trip?
Favorite memory from my time in Kathmandu was being at the Center for one of the festivals. Getting to witness another cultures religious celebrations is truly a wondrous thing and getting to see the excitement, the dancing, all the beautiful colors while the children danced and sang was just amazing. Helping the children everyday with their school work was very fulfilling, but seeing them get to be free and have fun was even more gratifying, especially knowing that the Center may be the only place they would get to have so much fun. I was glad to be a part of it.
What was the most difficult thing you experienced?
I didn’t really ever feel that anything was too difficult. I would say the amount of pollution in Kathmandu was something I wasn’t prepared for. I really couldn’t fathom the poor quality of the air. A face mask was always necessary when walking outside. My eyes watered, my skin was always dirty with dirt, and I still have a cough from being there. I got accustomed to it, but it was pretty horrifying that such a huge population is subjected to such poor air quality. Everyone is constantly coughing, spitting and has runny noses. Very upsetting.
Any tips for future volunteers… (clothing, travel, personal items, donations, sightseeing etc)
I had seen on the ABV website that another volunteer had recommended bring a sleep sack and I purchased one and I am very glad I did. Having your own blanket is really a comfort I recommend. I brought too many layers, it wasn’t nearly as cold as I thought it would be and everything is so inexpensive that if I had packed less I could have purchased whatever I lacked. Public travel is worth the experience and I highly recommend a long bus ride. I went to Pokhara and loved it. Beautiful and much better quality of air.
Personal Paragraph (ABV Program Testimonial):
I chose to volunteer for a multitude of reasons, the main being to give back in a bigger way than I was doing in my life in the States as well as to experience another culture. Volunteering in Kathmandu really took me out of my world. The sights I took in changed me for the better. I felt so greedy for all that I have in the States and how it still never feels like enough. The children and teachers at the Center were so welcoming and open. Knowing that the children come from circumstances they cannot change, but yet are such avid learners and happy at school really has made me appreciate all that I have. I also want to continuing helping them into their futures. I hope to remain in contact with the school. I know it will grow and expand with all the work Bina , teachers and volunteers do.
Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?
Lauren Volunteer Abroad in Kathmandu, Nepal