School and Market Garden/Reforestation Placement

Rampur, Nepal - January 2014

Richard, Fiona and their son Ronan volunteered to work at RCDP's market garden/reforestation project and the local school in Rampur, Nepal. Richard was doing the bulk of the outdoor work whilst Fiona got to grips with the Nepalese curriculum before joining him in the afternoon.

Ronan got the best of both worlds by helping out on each placement as he saw fit!

This was the first time we'd placed a family in Nepal but it looks as if they had a great time and so I'm sure it won't be the last!

Here's what they experienced in Fiona's own words:

"We, as a family had a great time volunteering in Nepal.

My husband (52) and son (5 and a half) spent their time working in the market garden / nursery while I taught English to 3rd, 4th and 5th class in the local government primary school in the morning and joined them in the garden for the afternoon. We stayed with a family of five, near enough for us to be able to walk to work every day.

Teaching was certainly a challenge. I greeted my pupils the first morning with "good morning" and they replied "good morning", but when I added "sit down, please", they all in unison said "sit down, please" too. I repeated myself with hand signals and 15 smiling, delighted little girls shouted "sit down, please"  back at me. It was time to come up with a new lesson plan.

A few days later though we had reached a compromise between them repeating everything back to me and my desire for pair work and communicative activities, (which simply never worked) and we started to make some progress on the texts in their books. I was thrilled when they answered, instead of just repeating my questions, and they were delighted with the stars I drew in their copies.

Meanwhile Richard and Ronan were hard at working gardening, hoeing, weeding, planting and sowing, very similar to gardening at home except the plants included pineapples, aubergines, lemons and corn and this was January and not June or July.

There were always a few other volunteers at work too. They were  a very international bunch, from New Zealand, Quebec, Finland and the Netherlands. But to our surprise they were all between 18 and 24, so we were definitely the dinosaurs on the project. They were great at keeping Ronan entertained with wheelbarrow rides and helping him with his own building projects. The head gardener set up a hammock especially for him in the first week, so that he could take an afternoon nap! But he was too busy digging and "working" to ever use it.

The family we stayed with have three grown-up children, 20, 22 and 24, who are all studying at a local college. This meant the standard of English in the family was quite good and we could communicate pretty well. It was also interesting to see the difference between the more conservative ideas of the parents and how modern the children, mobile phones, active on Facebook are. The house was very basic, we had one very small room for ourselves. Electricity is only haphazardly available. So we spent many evenings in the tiny room, sitting on the bed playing cards by torchlight. The host family were all in bed by 8 at the latest, so we had plenty time as a family to talk about the day or relax.

Our host mother cooked us all a warm meal twice a day, around 9 and 6. It was always the same; rice, lentil soup and vegetable curry and if we were lucky, a tomato and coriander chutney. And every time it was delicious. The food all comes from their own land and was often picked just before it was cooked.

The website Aidcamps set up to support our fundraising generated more money than we expected. With the help of the local coordinator we were able to identify how best this money should be spent.

During our time there we bought school jumpers for all 80 pupils, gardening tools and manure for the garden and made a contribution to the school fees for the orphans. This was a very satisfying feeling indeed and will outlast our stay in the country.

We will never forget our time in Nepal."


© Copyright 2009 - 2017 AidCamps International - 483 Green Lanes, London, N13 4BS - Registered Charity 1101059 - Website by White Cobalt Ltd