We lived the year 2014, January, to be exact. I was studying in a university in Scotland and I knew that by July this fun would be over and I would graduate with Bachelors. At this point I had no intention to do a Masters. I had gotten interested in filmmaking. I wanted to do something different after my studies, something new and exciting. I felt that this was one of the last times I could do something drastic. In December I had applied to go volunteer as a documentary filmmaker for an NGO in Nepal. In January we were just coming back from Iceland with my friend when at the Edinburgh airport I received an email saying “You have been accepted as a volunteer for Volunteer Aid Nepal”. I got excited and terrified. I would leave in August just after graduating and live in Nepal for bit over 2,5 months. I would be making short documentaries on various development topics in a village or town called Lahachowk.
Travelling alone to Nepal was interesting
During spring and summer I prepared for my travel. I got vaccinations, malaria medicines, hiking boots, tan lotion, mosquito spray and many others. In August I and my then flatmate packed our bags and said goodbye to our flat and I headed for the Edinburgh Airport from where I flew to Kathmandu. Instantly after landing I was conned 10 dollars for a taxi trip. When you travel alone I didnt know much about local prices but soon found out that 10 dollars would have covered 10 trips but it did not matter. I had prepared mentally that few things would go wrong in the beginning. During the trip we had to stop a few times for cows and my landing to a hindu culture began. For Hindu’s cow is sacred and in Kathmandu they roam around freely. This meant that during taxi and bus trips the car would either stop or move for the cow.
The electric cuts surprised me
The next two days I suffered from jetlag. In Nepal electric cuts are common so I got used to the fact that sometimes it was pitch black even in the capital. The dustiness of Kathmandu was a shock for me. The conditions of roads in Nepal is at times poor, so sandroads go through the city at places which makes this reddish dust float around. I remember thinking “how will I survive”. Nepal is also warm, around 30 degrees centigrade at all times. Which means that the meat vendors stalls spread the smell of raw, warm meat around the side streets which was something to get used to. But I knew that soon I would head to Pokhara.
On the third day I headed for the bus to Pokhara. From there I would travel to Lahachowk. Once I reached Pokhara a person from the NGO was there to reach me and help me into a jeep. In the jeep there was a happy smiling older lady who spoke very little English but pointed at me and then at her. I realised that this must be “Ama”, mother, whose house I would be living in for the next three months.
About the trip between Pokhara and Lahachowk I will tell later, when I also tell you more about Nepalese roads. Once we reached the village we sat in front of a local store. Once I sat appeared a nepalese lady sitting next to me who took my hand. Soon another appeared sitting on my other side who put her hand on my knee. Soon a third lady put her arm on my shoulder. There I, a small Finnish girl, who had never before experiencd this level of physical contact from strangers wondered how I would survive. This event began my three month adventure in Nepal. In the following posts I will be writing about the culture, places to visit, roads and people.
But for now you can check out a video I made when I lived in Nepal: