World Challenge 2014 – Nepal

DSC_0073 (Medium)World Challenge Nepal 2014

It was with excitement, but nervousness, that 20 students said goodbye to their parents at school on Sunday 2nd November. After a paparazzi-like group photo, the 15 year 9 and 5 year 10 students boarded the bus to the airport and began their 28 day World Challenge experience in Nepal.

After overcoming culture shock and jet lag upon arriving in Kathmandu, the students all settled in quickly to the Nepali way of doing things. The first few days were spent having meetings and organising transport and activities- with some time for sightseeing, shopping and eating many momos (dumplings). A highlight was a visit to the Swayambhunath, or Monkey Temple. Then it was time to travel to Pokhara, a lakeside town, before we started our 12 day trek.

DSC_0394 (Medium)The trek was an amazing experience and showcased some of the beauty of Nepal. Many steps were climbed up and down on the way to Annapurna Base Camp (4130 meters) and it was a huge achievement for all students to make it to the top. Most nights were spent camping and students became very adept at setting up and packing up their tents.

For most of the students this was the longest time they had spent without being connected to the outside world via a computer or their phone. What they discovered was conversation, games including cards, a journal or the simple joy of sending a postcard. A valuable lesson about the essential things in life.

From the trek we travelled to Chitwan National Park and spent 6 days helping out at nearby Mohana Higher Secondary College.  The goal was to build a front wall for the school. Thanks to our fundraising we were able to purchase lots of river rocks, sand, pebbles, cement and bricks, plus pay some labourers and finished with a four foot two inch wall on top of more than two feet of very sturdy foundations. It was very impressive to see the students work so cooperatively together and they should be very proud of the finished product. In addition, the students took turns visiting the school’s English classes, teaching the students and playing games at lunch and after school.  The welcome and farewell assemblies were amazing and the dance party at the end will live in all of our memories

On the way back to Kathmandu we were able to take part in an elephant safari (where some were lucky enough to see some rhinos) and had a fantastic day out white water rafting on the Trisuli river. Our final day was spent visiting Durbar Square and doing some last minute souvenir shopping. Then it was time to board the plane for home.

DSC_0251 (Medium)This was a wonderful opportunity for our 20 students to see a fantastic part of the world and to grow as people. They will remember their hard work, their personal and group achievements, the views and sights they saw, the silliness of the term ‘Nepali Flat’, how long 20 minutes can be, the people they met and travelled with during the month they spent in Nepal for the rest of their lives.

Congratulations to everyone on an amazing effort. You really were an outstanding group of people to travel with and share such incredible experiences. Finally Thankyou to Ms Hindle for all the organisation and positivity, you were in our thoughts on a daily basis.

Frank McNamara & Laura Ritchie