2 Weeks to go...
This is the first blog post for my forthcoming trip to Nepal. Today it is 2 weeks exactly until I fly out there and I am getting excited! A bit about me:
This is me. My name is Jane Southward and I live and work in the UK. I am a primary school teacher and enjoy musical activities in my spare time.
I first travelled to Nepal in 1996 during a year out from university studying Social Anthropology at St Andrews. It was an adventure trip to see how adventure travel could be adapted for people of differing abilities and ages. We were a diverse bunch of 18 ranging from 18 to 70s and in a variety of states of fitness.
While in Nepal we travelled to the remote west to raft down the Bheri and Karnali rivers. We had a GP with us and took medical help - albeit basic - to the local villages on the route, many of which could only be accessed by river. We camped on the beaches at night and rafted down rapids by day.
At the end of the rafting we spent time in the Royal Bardia National Park on elephant safaris and drinking cocktails before flying to Pokhara for a 4 day "Royal" trek. This was fully portered and we walked up into the Himalayan foothills camping in style. We were lucky enough to stumble upon a village festival where we were invited to join in the celebrations, although I did pass on seeing the goat sacrificed.
On returning to Kathmandu two of us stayed out in Nepal for a further week. We spent the time in the Kathmandu Valley visiting Patan, Bhaktapur, Kathmandu Durbar Square and lots of other places. While visiting Patan we went to the Kumbeshwar Technical School and were shown round by the head teacher.
On returning to the UK I brought back a deep love of Nepal, a resolution to make some sort of difference and a dose of a mild form of typhoid! When choosing a topic for my dissertation once back at St Andrews I realised I loved reading travel writing and thus my research into the uses of travel writing as a form of ethnography (focusing on the Himalayan region) was born. The more I read about Nepal the more fascinated I became.
I also joined the Kids of Kumbeshwar program which, for a monthly donation, kept me in touch with the school through their annual reports, newsletters and Christmas calendars.
In 2012 I read in the annual report that the school had a volunteer program. I asked for the details then sat on them for about 18 months considering. Eventually I decided to bite the bullet and to apply. Back came the response that they would love to have me and so the adventure began back in November 2013.
I am currently sitting in my study typing this surrounded by travel paraphernalia that I have been amassing. I am starting to think about packing and suddenly 14 days doesn't seem a very long time!
I just hope my suitcase will shut...