Exploring the beauty of Nepal : Do-gooders call it Voluntourism
“What makes you come here?”
entertained a surprising question while trying to justify my wanderlust for
Nepal. The man asking this question was a retired army officer, looking at me
through his black bordered big spectacles, trying to get hold of a young girl’s
motive in an estranged yet beautiful country! My companion, a Spanish expert
high school drop-out long term friend Robina had been snoring till then in the
bus we boarded to reach our destination.
I said as a
matter of fact there is a book in which Jeff Rasley quoted "You have to
get lost before you can be found" in the thrill and awe of the high
mountains which awaited exploration. Sure, one can have a fascination for the
location especially for mountaineering or to volunteer depending upon
seemed a bit unconvinced. I still continued 'I’m here to witness a landlocked
country in South Asia, comprising of eight of the World's highest
peaks, Everest being the most prominent. Located in the heart of
the Himalayas, it attracts many monks and tourists in search of peace
& beauty.' He smiled and said ‘if you might have a look at Kathmandu, you’ll
like it’. I nodded.
We finally reached eastern Nepal, Khartuwa Village which overlooks a
range of green hills and plantations. Robina wanted to read the newspaper in
hand, somehow twisted and turned with the wind’s subtle blow. I was walking all
the way up to the cliff to grab a photograph when a group of cowherds caught my
attention. Robina immediately set the newspaper aside and started asking them
in local language ‘hello, do you know where we can find a restaurant?’ A boy
clad in ripped brown dress replied ‘nothing here’ and walked off. Robina frowned
and said ‘Damn! he was so rude ’. I smirked.
Apparently,Nepal has a
population of only 15% having electricity in their households and is often
termed as the least developed countries in the World. Bridging the thin line
between poverty and tourism, Nepal desperately needs volunteers
as many thousands of children live on the streets and are engaged in physical
work. We were very excited about incorporating ‘mission health habits’
among Nepalese children. Over the years, ‘Voluntourism’ was an alien word
until some great adventurers from “ethical volunteering” team described it to the
World in which people like us join in forces to make use of our free time. Our Camp was set in Marshyandi Valley which had breath taking glacier flows. We were scheduled to start off in a few days from the village.
Robina quenched her thirst of water after we reached a no-star
fine-to-be-in hotel. Over the curtains, Bal Balika Primary school could be
seen, the only school which was accessible in a 500-people village. Getting
there was difficult as proper transportation was not available. Most of the
villagers lived on agriculture and young women fetched water. I glanced through
the window and noticed a beautiful child standing across the steel fence with
red cheeks and sweet smile waving her hands towards me as a gesture to come up
there and join her friends.
She looked timeless and she looked
perfectly happy. If only I could clean her mud ridden face ….I sighed. A hand
stretched out to my shoulder while I looked back, it was Robina, smiling. The
journey to Nepal ensured that the kids were taught the right mode of conduct.
We were extremely satisfied and thankful to the Nepalese teachers and children
for their warm co-operation and love.