This year I embarked on one of the biggest adventures of my life through the student society Edinburgh Global Partnerships. As part of a team of six we fundraised over £10,000 to help rebuild a school destroyed by the 2015 earthquake. I had never been further than the EU when travelling so was truly excited and nervous about what lay ahead of me.
The first thing that made me realise I wasn’t at home had to be the traffic, Asian roads are chaotic yet by the end of the journey, it was nothing more than the roads we have here. The damage of the earthquake was still visible and was hard hitting as what we choose to believe at home is one thing, yet what we see and know is real is hard to ignore. There was no way of blocking out the images. Once settled, we went out to the rural parts of Nepal to a village called Asrang – where we were building the school.
When we arrived I couldn’t believe my eyes. We were staying in a house made of manure for five consecutive weeks. It was and still is hard to wrap our heads round the idea that this was the richest woman in the village yet to us, she wasn’t. Although saying that, the family we stayed with were the happiest people I have ever met in my life, I definitely learnt a lesson or two from them. They make the most of what they have and not once did we hear them complain.
We started on the school and it was so much hard work. The heat made it sometimes unbearable but the language barrier and the fact we weren’t skilled labourers was what made it the hardest. However; with some hand gestures and limited phrase words – learnt from a Nepali to English book – we soon worked out a way of communicating with the builders and the people in the village making our time there more enjoyable. Although it was frustrating at times not being able to understand, we all did get some laughs along the way at the mistakes and the way people were using expressions to get what they were trying to say across.
Overall, my experience abroad is something that truly cannot be defined nor written down. There were the good and the bad times but nevertheless things always turned out for the best and it is amazing to hear that when you get back people can see that you’ve changed due to the impact of going away. I know I certainly am for one more patient and I am trying to be more appreciative. Definitely an experience I will be sure never to forget.