I was sat at the Hostel bar, illuminated behind my computer going over the Project, when I first met Yannick, a young German traveller. The first thing that I noticed was his energy. He started bouncing off my words as I began describing what I was doing. He was listening passionately, I could tell from the types of questions he was throwing at me, full of curiosity and a growing excitement for the project which I felt with every passing moment. It was so easy and stimulating to talk with someone that has the same lust for life. His mind was sharp and open. His English was fluent. I decided that we should go to the bar and get a couple of cold beers from the fridge, to continue our dreaming of the future of this project together. The Donations are still a long way from the target, but when you meet someone for the first time with such an honest belief in what you are doing it is encouraging, it is motivating and it pushes you forwards. It wasn’t long before Yannick put the first donation in the Hostel One96’s donation box, decided he loved the T-shirts that I was not satisfied with from the printers and was soon wearing one around Kathmandu. He just never ceases to amaze.
After such a short amount of time, the next thing Yannick was telling me was that he’s thinking to take on a volunteering role while travelling in Nepal, and wanted to do it within our new Building Budland program. I was amazed. Yannick said he would go for a couple of days to see the village and if it feels right and the project is how its been presented to him he would start to work there. Its been a while since I’ve seen him now, as I have had to leave the country due to my Visa, but we have been in good contact online and he has been a Godsend from everything I am hearing from him, and about him. His drive and passion are a force and took me by surprise, as I was literally just launching the project when our first volunteer is already on his way to the village to help the school, and now he is talking about raising money in Germany on his return home. Incredible.
I asked Yannick to please get some photos and give me an account of his time in Baluwapati at Budland School to share with the people interested in what we are doing. Here is his account of his time helping at the school, in his own words:
“While on my 103 day trip to Nepal, I felt that I wanted to further connect with this country and do something different than the lazy everyday backpacker life. When you Start to get around in this touching friendly little country, with the highest mountain in the world and an equal hospitality to everyone who treats them with honest respect, you realise that there is also some room for improvement, which these people deserve in my opinion.
So it was obvious to me that I wanted to do something for them in the volunteer manner. Now its not easy to find a project that is convincing in purpose and useful enough to spend my precious time in Nepal. When I met David within the first day I knew I had found what I was looking for. So a couple of days later I came to Baluwapati and once again the natural kindness of the inhabitants from the roof of the world was stunning. Same like the view, because the village is located at a hill at the foot of the Shiivapuri NP you can See from Nagarkot to Chisapani the whole range of the wooded slope in between. On the other side there is the magnificient Himal massive including the Langtang range and even Everest, at least on clear days, is in sight. I stayed as the first volunteer with Ramesh and his Family and was treated like one of them. I ate their delicious Dahl Bhat twice a day and they showed me how to eat with your hands (technique matters ;-)). I had the chance to improve my Nepali, and soon felt actually like one of the villagers.
In the temporary school building (which to be honest is in a devastating state to be a place of successful studying), I was helping teach the classes. Whilst there everyone was really happy with me and I noticed that this place and the kids there are in need for the benefits of this project. The very small building, made of corrugated Iron, reminded me a little of some hut in one of the slums in outer Kathmandu. The heat at noon was too much especially for my German cold blooded body! So I was sitting there, sweating my ass off, on the soily floor with a little whiteboard I should write on. I felt at first a little bit gloomy, when I remembered how I hated sitting in my climate controlled classroom, with running water (which they don’t have, it needs to be carried there from the next water pump, 1km away), and other facilities like decent desks or books. I felt pretty guilty, even more so when I saw the toddlers of the pre-school crawling around on some thin dirty blankets covering the dirty floor in their ‘classroom’.
The teachers where surprisingly dedicated but I recognized a growing dissatisfaction about the conditions. Even though I was there for a quite short time they honoured me with a touching little ceremony at the end and said I should come back as soon as i can. For everyone who wants to contribute something and who wants to come in touch with a side of Nepal beyond the touristic mentality in Thamel, Kathmandu and Lakeside Pokhara, you should join us on this project in some way.”
Since Yannick has finished we have had a great debriefing. This is always important as to improve both the experience for everyone at the school and the volunteers, but also improve the efficiency of what we are doing. Due to Yannick being the first volunteer and him having a very different experience with the school to mine, he has been able to give me much food for thought, with such constructive, positive words that I am now working on creating a much better structure for the teaching volunteers with the school. Yannick has been amazing and still amazes me constantly, I love how he fits into this project and makes it his own too. I am extremely happy that everything has gone well during his time, and that all parties have enjoyed the experience. I look forward to welcoming new volunteers to this project very soon!
Feel free to browse this website and get in touch with us if you too would like to volunteer like Yannick did, making a difference in the world, whilst at the same time, having an unforgettably great experience