Nepal Community Service 2018

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Final Project Publication

Greetings!

Thank you to all of our students who put so much time and effort into their independent projects! We hope that these projects created an effective platform for each student to explore a topic in Nepal that interested them. It was our intention that this provided an opportunity for students to engage more deeply with this incredible country, its history, and its people. The culmination of your writing and photography from Nepal can all be found in this mock Nat Geo publication NatGeo – Group B.

We hope that you will look back on this trip recognizing both the challenges and the beauty, the hard moments and the easy moments, the delicious food and the hospitable people. We are confident that it is through the challenges that we face in life, that we have the largest opportunities for growth! Reflecting on this trip is no different. Despite the heat, bugs, language barrier, and at times feeling unwell, we were so impressed by the tough, resilient, and optimistic mind-set our students adopted as travelers. It was our absolute pleasure to get to know all of them better, to experience this special place for the very first time, and we are so excited to continue to follow their paths. There is no doubt they will do amazing things in their lives!

Alex and Kiki

NatGeo – Group B

Watching the World Cup Finale at the Monastery

This post features student writing.

post by Isabelle J.

photo by Kiki B.

We began the night with Kiki and Alex telling us we were doing an all night meditation. I’m sure you can imagine the excitement on our faces when we arrived at a projector screen with about 100 ecstatic monks sitting in front of it watching the World Cup! Every time the French team had the ball in front of the goal, you could hear their yells and excitement as they shot the ball, and their disappointed sighs if the ball went out of bounds. They would jump up and down and grab their friends by the hand as they screamed for their team. The atmosphere definitely felt unusual as we were in a monastery, but this feeling allowed us to connect more with the monks through our shared excitement for the game. What made it even more fun was the experience we had playing soccer with some of the boys before the the World Cup. We really got to see how much they love to play and the skill that they have developed for the sport. It was an amazing day that turned watching a sport that we already love so much into a truly unforgettable experience.

Namaste from Namo Buddha!

We had an amazing and emotional departure from Talamarang and TEAM Nepal. In just five short days, we developed strong relationships with the TEAM Nepal children and students at Shree Terse Secondary School in Talamarang and received more than we could ever return. Our service projects included developing sustainable fish ponds so the teachers could supplement the school’s income; painting, gardening and beautification projects on campus; and observing and teaching classes to 250 delightful and bright students!

On our final night in Talamarang, we all dressed up in our traditional Nepali outfits and were bid a warm farewell by the TEAM Nepal staff and children. We celebrated with singing, dancing, and sharing crafts and goodbye letters which we will all cherish for a long time. We already miss them dearly!

The National Geographic team was challenged as travelers as we embarked upon a 9.5 hour bus ride through the Kathmandu Valley through muddy conditions on windy roads. We all enjoyed a delicious Nepali lunch at the notable Dhulikel Lodge Resort along the way.

Namo Buddha is situated atop the Kathmandu Valley and is one of the most sacred Tibetan Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the world. It is home to 350 student monks – and us for the next few nights! – who study here full-time and we are so honored to spend this time living the life of a monk!

Following our stay here, we are looking forward to spending our last few days in Bhaktapur, exploring some of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, taking a pottery class, and presenting our individual projects.

Thanks for your patience in our update. We have certainly learned to be flexible and adaptable as travelers during monsoon season in Nepal. Electricity and wifi have been unreliable, but we have appreciated the time we have spent connecting with one another and being present in this beautiful community. It’s been an amazing week and a half and we can’t wait to share all of our stories when we get back!

All the best,

Kiki and Alex

Update from Talamarang

Friends and Family of students on Community Service Nepal B!

The group has been out of WiFi contact while they are with our service partners in Talamarang. We have been in touch and they are having a wonderful time. They just wrapped up their farewell party and are preparing for their stay at the Namo Buddha Monastery. They should have access to internet shortly and will post photos from their time in Talamarang and the group in traditional outfits at the farewell party.
Thank you,
Your National Geographic Student Expeditions Team

Welcome from Your Leaders!

Hello from your 2018 Community Service Nepal trip leaders, Kiki and Alex!

We’re just wrapping up our incredible orientation in beautiful Vermont before our grand adventure with you all on the other side of the world! We hope you’re as excited as we are for this once-in-a-lifetime experience!

In addition to bringing your adventurous spirits, positive energies, and comfortable walking shoes, you’ll definitely want to make sure to bring two water bottles! Please double-check your packing lists and pack your belongings in a sturdy bag (preferably one without wheels) that you’ll be able to travel around with easily. Alex will be meeting most of you at the hotel and airport before your group flight on July 5. Kiki and our amazing partners will be eagerly awaiting to greet you at the airport in Kathmandu!

We have a few prompt questions that we want you to start thinking about before our time together: 1) What do you hope to get out of this experience that we will all be sharing together? 2) What small steps can you take daily on our trip to make sure you are caring for yourself well? 3) What interests you about Nepal (e.g., the food, the diverse cultures, mountains) and what would you like to learn more about? We encourage you to digest as much as you can from the reading/watch list before getting to Nepal. The more you know, the more it will come alive for you when we arrive!

We know it’s a busy month in preparation for your trip, but rest assured that we’re here for you if you need anything. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions you may have or to introduce yourselves at kiki_baxter@icloud.com or abbasaraba@gmail.com.

We cannot wait to meet you!
Kiki & Alex

Welcome!

Welcome to National Geographic! This blog is where friends and family can follow along on the group’s adventures through periodic updates, photos, and stories from the field. While we hope for a blog update once or twice each week, internet access is often limited so posts may be less frequent.

We suggest that you subscribe to the blog. Once subscribed, you will receive an e-mail notification when the group posts an update. To subscribe to the blog, click on “Subscribe” at the top of the blog, and you’ll be provided with subscription instructions.

Have a fantastic summer!