Starting Monday August 4th, the VSO Nepal ‘In Country Orientation’ week-long training begins in earnest…
#1 First of all it’s time to head to the VSO Nepal country office in the area of Sanepa, Lalitpur, the local HQ and meet the 20+ staff employed locally;
#2 Being shown to our personal post boxes where we can receive mail to the office (the surest way of getting something through the postal system apparently) and there’s already a surprise waiting for us; a beautiful local purse (complete with something small and tasty inside) and a handmade card signed by the local VSO office staff – the wonderfully warm welcome continues!
#3 Starting our formal volunteer placements with the partner organisations requires obtaining the correct visa – not a simple process in any country. But not to fear, in the meantime the team have lots to keep us busy; this week saw us getting to grips with the details of VSO Nepal’s country strategy, current programmes and lesson #1 of the Nepali language, Namaste (hello)!
#4 Luckily the office includes a handy library where we can study and try to get our heads around everything there is to learn about VSO Nepal, Nepal, Nepali etc etc etc…
#5 After each morning, encompassing several hours of discussion, debate and intense learning, I am very pleased that an excellent chef is on hand to create a masterpiece of the traditional local dish daal bhaat. Yum mmm mmm, she’s a star!;
Quoting Wikipedia; “Dal bhat (Nepali: दालभात) refers to a traditional meal which is popular in many areas of Nepal, Bangladesh and India . It consists of steamed rice and a cooked lentil soup called dal. It is a staple food in these countries.”
#6 There’s even a handy, shady outside area in which to enjoy the daal bhaat before the afternoon sessions begin – which from next week will also include Nepali language homework to be done; back to school we go!
#7 Then a slightly different Thursday afternoon; joined a wonderfully inspiring presentation and Q&A session with Hans Rosling organised by UNICEF in Kathmandu. Talking all about the last 60+ years of statistics for Nepal, some of the great achievements in development already attained and suggestions for the future;