Saturday 25/11/17: To mark my first full week in Nepal, I take a spectacular dive on the earthquake-damaged pavements. I hit the ground so hard that I wind myself and crash land on my hip, pinky finger, ankle, knee and most devastatingly, my phone. It hurts and I’m pretty sure I’ve dented the pavement, not that you’d notice. There’s evidence of the 2015 earthquake everywhere. I’m with my friend and fellow volunteer, Amy. She’s really sweet and tries to treat me for my obvious shock but I demand that we stumble along to the yoga class that we were heading to anyway. It’s been one of those sort of weeks.
I’ve had a few days off from blogging since leaving Africa. I found changing continents quite disorientating. There were two nights’ of rest at my mom’s near Edinburgh before I jumped on another plane to come to Nepal. The last couple of months have been a bit of a whirlwind and I’ve needed some time to digest what’s been going on and where the hell I am!
So I’ve now been in Kathmandu for 1 week and falling over aside, it’s been marvellous! We’ve been training in a little uninspiring office about 20 minutes walk from our guest house but we’ve also had lots of time for acclimatisation. There’s five other team leaders in this guest house with me, waiting for our placements to start. We’ve practiced yoga, visited temples, browsed markets, eaten mysterious food in local cafes, sat around campfires, I’ve even been to an art class.
Kathmandu is a vibrant and noisy city with lots going on. Dogs wander everywhere and bark constantly through the night. Cows wander along the roads. The traffic is heavy with cars, trucks, motorbikes and scooters and the pollution and dust is so bad that we’ve all bought face masks like locals. I might not know exactly what catalytic converters are but Nepal definitely needs a lot of them.
The weather is bewildering – it’s suntan lotion hot during the day but then woolly hat cold at night and in the mornings. It’s all beautiful though. After falling even more in love with Africa than I’d expected, Nepal has some pretty big shoes to fill but it’s doing well so far. I’m looking forward to going to my placement now and settling in to the community.
My fellow team leaders and I are on slightly different schedules – some are away visiting host homes this weekend and others are preparing for their volunteers’ arrival next week. I’ve got another week or so before my volunteers land and we move to our placement so by then I’ll be ready for them… and will hopefully have found a new phone to replace the one I’ve left spread across the pavement!