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What it’s like to volunteer in Nepal

Want to know what it’s like to build a house in Nepal? Past volunteer, Sue, tells us about her experience in Nepal.

Volunteering on a Global Village build this year with Habitat was not something I planned, especially as I was leaving for an 11 week overseas holiday in April 2015. However, when I saw the opportunity to be part of a team for Nepal in January this year, I jumped at it.
My daughter, Pip and her partner have friends living in Kathmandu and they hoped one day to visit them. I had been looking for an opportunity to be involved with Pip on a worthwhile project. I had volunteered on a build in Thailand previously and loved it, and knew this build was the one. So at the beginning of January this year my daughter, her partner and 3 other friends who also volunteered for the build travelled to Kathmandu.

Our friends, Pip and I flew with Jo, the team leader from Habitat and six other volunteers from Kathmandu to Biratnagar near the Indian border where we checked into the hotel that became our home for the build week. Each day we were taken by bus an hour away to the build site and brought back each evening.

It’s hard to pick the “best part” of the build. Despite a wide range of ages and mix of males and females, the team was very cohesive. Each team member gave 110%. At times the work was tiring but there was always lots of laughs and we enjoyed each others’ friendship over the week. I was also grateful to share this magical experience with my daughter and friends, which has given us many stories and memories.

Being able to work on the build with women and children from the village who offered their help was truly memorable. Although we couldn’t verbally communicate we shared many fun times as we worked side by side on the house. This relationship we forged with the women culminated in a special lunch they put on for our last day.

I loved being part of village life even though it was for such a short time. Watching how people went about their everyday life was something I would never have experienced without volunteering through Habitat.
friends-on-the-build Last but not least, seeing how our short time on the build had such an impact on the wellbeing of the home owner was something very special I will always remember.

Being part of a team that helped build a safe home alongside our partner family was humbling. For her, a home meant security. It meant she was part of a community and on the road towards financial stability. With such empowerment she probably had for the first time in her life, control and the ability to make her own choices for her family.

For budding volunteers my advice is to embrace the local community, be flexible team player, be fully committed to the project and enjoy every moment because it all goes too quickly.

By Sue Davis, volunteer, Ain’t No Mountain High Enough Build, January 2015

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