CESIE www.cesie.org is carrying out a Youth in Action, European Voluntary Service project
in Kathmandu, Nepal – hosted by
Laura and Serena, our Italian volunteers, are supporting the local staff in activities organized in schools and centres for disabled people. Here below their first impressions.
The first glance at Kathmandu was not one of the greatest. The first moments in Nepal were confusion and shock: strong smell of curry and onion, horn beeping everywhere, traffic and smog surrounded you. Many people, apparently on a rush, the terrible stink from Bagmati river, that despite its holiness, it is still really polluted. When you arrive, you realize that your own time is not the same time as this country, the time is different here, is more relaxed and different from the hectic cultural habits European people are used to; here the time seems to be “slow” and in contradiction with the chaos of a city that usually wakes up at 5.30 in the morning, because laziness here is something to be ashamed of. Paradoxes are evident for occidental witnesses: eagles searching in the garbage, naked kids under the rain, people with mask because the air in the valley is unbreathable.
This was our first and shallow impression: be overwhelmed by the chaos of a city so different from the ones we normally are used to. After the first impact, thanks also to the work we did in schools, we started to discover step by step this “ diversity” and to get closer to it, getting more in touch with Kathmandu daily lifestyle. We have been welcomed in a really friendly and warm way in schools, our “colleagues” and directors have been really available and helpful at any moment. The best moments we lived were, for sure, the ones with the kids , always happy to join every activity we propose and always craving to learn something about our country and frequently fighting to catch our attention.
Those months represented for us a personal journey, plenty of surprises and new things, but also plenty of routines and acquired habits. Our expectation concerning our Evs project were and still are a lot, and the work we did during these first months enriched us both personally and professionally speaking, making us also feeling really positive for the following months. We have been able to go beyond the first shallow impression we had in the first moment and gradually to change our point of view, our own ideals and ideas and finally to understand the real beauty of this country.
Over the great confusion and the grey of the dirty city, we discovered another side of Nepal, realizing that it is also the country of butterflies, of the flashy sarees, of the spontaneous Namaste, of the women dancing for their husbands and sons. It is a country with amazing landscapes, with high majestic peaks, with lots of children walking in their proud uniform in the streets.
This country is plenty of history, religion and tradition, it will conquer you if you are able to open your mind and eyes and if you are willing to catch it. Nepal can hug you with its beauty and this is exactly what is happening to us: being surrounded by beauty.
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