27 May 2016

Nepal trip reflection

Nepal is a breathtaking travel destination, well known for containing Mount Everest and a whole host of immaculate scenery. Upon our arrival at Kathmandu, the St Catherine's girls were quickly confronted with a very dusty and bumpy car journey through the chaotic streets. The traffic in Kathmandu was a sight of its own, tuk-tuks, motorbikes and cars barrelling through traffic-jammed streets in simultaneously an amazing and terrifying experience. The girls were quickly immersed in the lively culture, streets lined with boundless shops selling colourful clothes, jewellery, bags, tapestries and pashmina scarves. We all marvelled at the soul of the city and their resilience after the earthquake last year.

In the Himalayas, the St Catherine's girl were greeted with unbelievable scenery and overwhelming kindness from the local Nepali people. Our guide through the mountains, Kami, shared a lot of wisdom regarding Buddhism and Nepalese culture. The St Cath's girls trekked for 6 days on an unforgettable journey through various villages in the mountains. While trekking, we were shown timeless cultural and artistic heritage such as money stones, prayer wheels, temples and prayer rooms covered in beautiful paintings. The 'Milk River,' or locally known as 'Dudh Kosi' is a stunning river with many large suspension bridges laden with Buddhist prayer flags. When trekking, we came across many dzos and porters, both which carried massive loads of luggage and supplies for our journey.

The sherpas and their families demonstrated amazing hospitality when taking care of us with the utmost geniality. Some sherpas introduced us to their children, who were very willing to play with us. The St Catherine's girls showed the children how to play games from their childhood, while the children quickly caught on. Games such as 'Yak, Yak, Donkey' and 'Captain Ball' brought so much happiness to the children, which was a very rewarding feeling. Some girls sat in a circle and taught the children some basic English words and their corresponding pictures. Students were very generous with their donations and offered clothes, toothbrushes, balls, colouring books and pencils to children that they encountered and befriended on the way up the mountain.

In the final week of Nepal, the St Cath's girls enjoyed spending time with Asha Nepal, a rehabilitation organisation for women and children trafficked into the sexual slavery industry. We taught the children important messages utilising positive psychology and how to identify strengths and goals. We also visited the Down Syndrome Society, where students met the inspirational founder who has dedicated her life to helping children. The St Cath's girls had a picnic with the children and played active games such as 'Handkerchief.' The children were extremely responsive to the games and thoroughly enjoyed all of the activities.  

All in all, our trip to Nepal is one that will not be forgotten. As a group, we all formed close friendships and share wonderful memories of our time in Nepal. Students took home a more cultured perspective of life, with a greater appreciation for the simpler things that are often taken for granted. We are all more grateful to be fully educated and for the opportunities that we have as women to dictate our careers. As young adults, we often forget how privileged we are to have social freedom and access to bountiful resources. All the St Cath's girls will remember the important lessons we learnt on our cherished trip to Nepal.

​Stephanie Cheung
Year 10