Letter from Jesus from Kathmandu airport
|Jesus with some of the boys and girls of the nepalese project.|
How many times have you heard that "time flies by"? I am writing this from the waiting room of the Kathmandu airport and I honestly do not know where the last 24 days that I have lived have been. This experience has been like a flash: fleeting, yes, but also very intense. I have been blinded by the friendliness of the people, with the splendor of the innumerable number of temples, with the -why not say it- bustling and stressful city and with its opposite contrast of the nature of the rest of the country; but, above all, I have been totally obsessed with the way of being, happiness, camaraderie, sincerity and the purest goodness of boys and girls of the nepalese project that I have been able to know thanks to the collaboration and help offered by Tumaini. Values that have made me experience their total essence and nature, highly coveted in the West, but not so easily discernible.
I remember the moment when I first set foot on Nepalese soil: I was amazed by the Buddha statue that I saw as soon as I got off the plane, without knowing that, surely, tomorrow when I arrive in Spain I will feel strange when I walk down the street and I don't see any. I was afraid to be the first time I left Europe, traveling alone and volunteering, but at the same time full of desire to learn and help. The truth is that I came to this project by rebound Tumaini, without having heard of it and after having chosen it a bit blindly, but now I couldn't be happier with what chance has given me.
|One of the children of project. In the background, they play basketball.|
"You will never be alone"
I will make a turning point that I think is necessary, since I know first-hand that there are many people in this situation. «I would love to do a project like this, but I don't have anyone to do it with»; "If I go without anyone, I'm going to feel very lonely and depressed"; «I will not know how to function in such a different life and culture”; "My English is not good and therefore I cannot travel alone"; and an endless number of excuses.
Well, after participating alone in this project, without practically coinciding with any other volunteer, I have to say that this fact has been very lucky and I cannot recommend living this experience alone more highly. A project of this style imbues you with the local culture and allows you to open up more than what we are used to in the social sphere, leaving fears aside and turning them into desire and energy. If you travel with someone you know, you will always be more aware of that person and you will not have such a sociable attitude because you already have someone with you and "you don't need it". On the other hand, traveling alone on this project means the opposite and, honestly, the evolution and change that you notice as a person is brutal.
Besides, you will never be alone. The project coordinator in Kathmandu is charming and will always make sure you feel at home; both Monica and the rest of the coordinators of Tumaini They will be at your disposal 24 hours a day for any questions, concerns, comments... that you want to make, worrying about your situation almost daily; the children are incredible and they treat you like one of the others and try to welcome you from the first moment; you will always meet other ex-volunteers of the project who will be around Kathmandu; and, furthermore, via social networks you will be able to contact groups or pages of Spaniards who are, in this case, in Nepal, and who are in the same situation as you and are willing to meet up to see the city together, have a coffee or simply , chat.
Honestly, I have to tell you that I have met more people here than I could have met by staying in Spain, and I know that in some cases I take very good friends with me. I was lucky enough to be able to make a short trip to Pokhara (totally recommend) and, In the hostel, I met about 20-25 Spaniards, plus friends I made from all over the world. Really, trust me: you will never be alone, and when you start traveling on your own, you will realize that there are many more people in the same situation as you thought.
|youth of the project next to Jesus.|
100% Cultural immersion
Returning to the project itself, I have nothing but praise. The way that Tumaini has organized this experience is simply incredible. You live in the same building as the children and the coordinator, which means that you are in continuous contact with them and with the local culture. You learn first-hand how they live here, and it makes you feel like one of them. You see the children get ready to go to school, do their homework (which you can help them with, especially the odd one that is more difficult for them, and they will thank you with an infinite smile), you play with them, you understand their way of being and its concerns... In short, I can't think of a better way to get to know such a different culture to ours. like i said i chose Tumaini a little blindly, but it has been an absolute success, both from the point of view of organizing the project and from the point of view of his work. Honestly, now I can't be happier with the way everything has flowed.
|Collective hug with the little ones of the Nepali NGO.|
Smiles despite the distance
If I start talking about children, it is directly because I cannot find words to express what I feel for them and how they have made me feel. Kindness, fellowship, solidarity, work, happiness, affection, responsibility... These are just some of the values that they give off daily and that they do not hesitate to share with you, inviting you to be like them at all times. I honestly admire them.
They can't see their families, they can't even talk to them, and yet they manage to overcome the situation and always be able to give you a huge smile disinterestedly. Here you realize everything we complain about for no reason in the West and the amounts of material goods we need to be happy, when they are not necessary at all. They make you realize many things, they make you learn from their attitude and, ultimately, they inevitably make you the first to benefit from the experience, despite the fact that you are the one who is initially going to offer your help.
|Recreational and sports activities were part of the day-to-day life of the project.|
a nepali family
I have to say that I came looking to help the people who needed it the most, to feel useful to the world and, furthermore, to live an experience that would make me grow as a person. And, of course, I have achieved all of this, and by far. However, and I mean this completely sincerely, I take with me something that I could never have imagined that it would bring me back: a family. They have made me feel at home, they could not have treated me better and the affection they have shown towards me is priceless. I know that from now on I have a big Nepali family, and to be able to say this is… Just indescribable.
Of course, when you immerse yourself in a culture so thoroughly, when you have so much fun and laugh so much, when you notice yourself growing as a person every day, when you meet so many people who are different from you, when you notice how your mind is opening little by little to the unknown, when you leave so many prejudices behind; when you experience all these sensations, at the same time and with the intensity that this project allows you… Yes, definitely, time flies by.
|Goodbye hug, just before going to the airport and writing this letter.|