Annie was our first volunteer and arrived in Nepal in September 2016 and left in November. She went to Shree Jana Jagriti Primary School in Gorkha. Annie is a 'mature' volunteer and we think she is an inspiration not only to aspiring volunteers in general but especially to those who may think they are too old to try something new. See what she has to say.
Volunteering with IYH by Annie McGrath
If you're healthy, fit, adventurous and happy to camp in a great resort then,regardless of age,volunteering for In Your Hands for Nepal is a fantastic opportunity.
For me the opportunity came along out of the blue when a friend told me about it, and it was the right time for me.
As a retired teacher, with more than 30 years of experience, who took early retirement to travel and explore the world, when I learned of the work of In Your Hands, I was delighted that I could be a part of it.
Of course the long flight and maybe the heat can be a challenge , as can communication and organisation but I think they were teething problems ,as I was the first volunteer to arrive and with the help of further volunteers (Sarah and Naiara ), and the appointment of Dinesh, and identifying what needs to be in place we have already made improvements to be helpful to volunteers and teachers .
I've been home in England for a month and very much miss the friends I made back in Nepal. The organisers Mahendra, Shanta, and all the office staff . The Nepalese teachers. The children and their parents. The guides at the camp. The local people who popped down from the village to camp to have a chat ( even though we often had no idea what each other was saying). All of these looked after us in different ways. And it was a pleasure to see how our relationships developed over the two and a half months I was there into true friendships.
I love the confidence they all got as they watched us work and got to know us.
How the teachers would watch what we did and then would have a go.
The enthusiasm and enjoyment the children got as they succeeded more and more and became familiar with how we worked.
How they loved to teach us Nepalese words, and the hilarity at our attempts.
The enjoyment and conversations in the playground with the new outdoor play resources.
The friendships that grew and the generosity of how they made me feel special and important to them.
It was great to bring resources to the classrooms ,which they can continue to use with the help of Dinesh after we have gone, and to know they'll make a difference.
Nepal has many religious festivals which means school is closed for holidays, and so I was able to take local transport (bumpy ,dusty and far away) and visit many of the countries beautiful places .
Pokhara, Bandipur, Gorkha, Nagarkot and Kathmandhu visiting historic and beautiful sites and temples.
Jungle trekking, paragliding, rafting, and a "stroll" to caves and mountains. So much to do.
As the date of my home flight approached I wished I had more time. I felt we were achieving something and I wasn't ready to leave. Like so many visitors to Nepal.
Maybe I'll have the opportunity to return. I would certainly feel welcome.
And I keep in touch.
I miss Nepal.
Thank you In Your Hands for the amazing opportunity and experience of volunteering in Nepal .
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