Volunteering, though highly commendable and personally rewarding, can be incredibly expensive! I still vividly remember the intense shock I experienced when researching potential organizations for the first time. Some of them charged ridiculous amounts, with prices equaling (and many times exceeding!) my ENTIRE travel budget! Sure these companies came highly recommended and had excellent track records, nevertheless it would be simply impossible for the average student traveler like me to afford it!
Then by a miracle I found the “Nepali Host Family”. I recall my first read-through of their Facebook page leaving me in disbelief: “these guys are offering all the same experiences as the other firms but at a MUCH CHEAPER cost! This must be fake”
So I looked into it and in no time I found out that they were serious! Their difference, they insisted, was to focus on the betterment of Nepal, not on profit. It Sounds too good to be true right?
Nevertheless my girlfriend and I decided to throw caution aside and give this organization a shot, and boy are we glad we did! Here’s why:
- The volunteer accommodation was awesome! We were set up in a spacious 2 bedroom complex with a communal western washroom (shared with only two other volunteers). Included was a communal kitchen which brings me to my next point…
- The food was incredible! Breakfasts and dinners are made by a house keeping woman who was super nice and who understood the meaning of “big portions” haha!
- The volunteer Program was nice of course! As I am going to study medical studies, the organization arranged time for me to shadow doctors at the local hospital. I can’t explain how amazing this was, being able to see patients being treated for ailments I had never seen or even heard of before! It was all definitely an eye-opening experience!Being at the hospital as a Medical volunteer in Nepal was awesome! The doctors immediately took me under their wing, walking me through their methods and procedures. The patient flow was a little slow (which was off-putting in the beginning) but this soon proved to be a blessing since it allowed more explanation time and even enabled me to interact with the patients!But the highlight of it all was when I was invited into the O.R. by the chief of surgery to witness an operation! It was a pancreatic stone removal surgery which the chief was handling himself! The procedure lasted a little over two hours (since the patient had amassed over 10x the usual stone deposits) but the real showcase was the new technology which the surgeon used which was unique to only a handful of medical centers on the planet (I was informed that it was designed and produced in Beijing – which is also where the chief spent the time to study the skills required for this technique). All in all, my time at the hospital was definitely well spent thanks to the wonderful cast of doctors there as well as all the eye-opening cases I was able to be a part of (a majority of which I’d never see in my homeland of Canada).
- and finally the orphanage with the children eager to learn and full of enthusiasm for us western new comers! I honestly spent every afternoon there and I don’t regret a minute of it! These kids were awesome (to be honest they weren’t all young kids; some were in their teens so it was a great mix of ages). Jamming out on their guitar, singing songs, helping with homework and of course playing football are still some of the best memories I’ve had during ALL my travels! The orphanage is by the far the single more important reason why I will one day return to Nepal!
So in all I had a wonderful time volunteering in Nepal, all thanks to the “Nepali Host Family” organization. I highly recommend it to everyone.