Final Weeks Of The Les Elfes Volunteer Trip with Andrew and Emma
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Second half of the trip
The second half of our trip to Nepal has been just as exciting and fulfilling as the first. We have shared many great memories with the children of Association Annapurna Nepal (AAN) and have experienced so much more of what this amazing country has to offer. Unfortunately the devastation caused by the earthquakes was still evident in every way, as the country continued to be battered by the resulting aftershocks and the extent of the damage grew as each day passed. Emma and I had become part of the AAN family during our time with them as the children now referred to us as their brother or sister. It was also clear that they had all come out of their shells, as they took every opportunity to impress us with their signing and dancing or engaging in a friendly wrestling match with us as soon as the ‘adults’ weren’t watching.
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Bicycles challenges and guitar lessons
Our days were still filled with exciting games and outdoor activities around the house. The children had all become extremely proficient on the bicycles with many of them challenging us for a race at every opportunity. We found an old guitar in the house which we had fixed up and restrung, this meant we were able to give a few guitar lessons in the evenings to some of the children who showed a great interest in music. Apart from all the fun and games, there were still the daily chores and homework to attend to which were always undertaken diligently and with little fuss.
Second major earthquake
In the aftermath of the second major earthquake, on Tuesday the 12 of May, the government decided to call off school for the rest of the week to allow for the buildings to be inspected once again. This gave us three extra days at home with the children and an opportunity to plan some longer activities for them. We spent one of the days at home working with paper mâché and balloons to create piñatas. This was done by covering the balloons in paper mâché and leaving a hole around the top of the balloon where the knot is tied. The balloons were hung to dry for a few days before being popped to leave a hollow paper mâché container. These containers were then filled with sweets and so became piñatas which were smashed by the children on our last day as a farewell present.
A highlight of the trip at the swimming pool
A highlight of the trip was a day spent at the local swimming pool. We hired a bus to take us all to the public pools which were just a few kilometers away. The children were extremely excited as they arrived at the pools with their swimming costumes on, towels in hand and plenty of sunscreen on their faces. We spent the whole day playing around in the swimming pools and on the swings in the playground near by. Some swimming lessons were given to the younger children while the elder kids spent their time speeding down the water slide and practicing their dives in the deep end of the pool. After a long day spent in the water we settled in the playground for a well deserved picnic with all the children. They were exhausted from all the swimming but had clearly had a fantastic day out.
Earthquake relief effort
A major portion of our time during the final weeks was focused on the earthquake relief effort. We had received a massive amount of support from people across the globe, all of whom made donations which would be used to provide aid to villages which were devastated by the natural disaster. We focussed our attention on the village of Warpak in the Gorkha Distract of Nepal. This village consisted of around 1 400 houses but after the earthquake this number was reduced to just 20 houses. This resulted in thousands of people being left homeless and lacking basic needs such as food, water, clothing etc. With the use of the donations received we were able to purchase various things such as food, soap, gloves, boots, medicine, hammers, face masks, rain coats, equipment for building shelters and many other essential items which could be used to help the people of Warpak. We then hired a vehicle and transported all of these items to the village and distributed them amongst the villagers. The following video will give you an idea of the damage which was caused by the earthquake in the Warpak area:
Sad to say that our trip to Nepal has final come to an end
It is sad to say that our trip to Nepal has final come to an end. We have had an amazing time with the children of AAN and were able to learn so much from them. It’s is difficult at times to think of these boys and girls as children due to the maturity and confidence they all posses. It is also hard to imagine that many of these children have experienced extremely difficult upbringings as they always managed to fill the room with their contagious laughter and enduring personalities. We traveled to Nepal to help the children of AAN and to experience what the country had to offer but I don’t think either of us could have expected to take as much away from the trip as we did. After spending time with these children you realize that there is more to life then what we tend to get caught up in everyday. As long as these children have each other they are happy and they will work together to get through any challenges that may come their way. That is what Association Annapurna Nepal is all about. After seeing the spirit of the Nepali people who had lost everything during the earthquake and were still trying to help those around them with smiles on their faces, it became clear that this is also what Nepal and its people are all about.
Emma and I would like to thank Dhan and Milan for their assistance throughout our trip. They taught us so much during our time with them and our trip would definitely not have been the same without them. We would also like to thank everyone who assisted with, and made a contribution towards, the earthquake relief effort.
We were able to have a positive impact on so many lives thanks to your help and support. Finally, we would like to Les Elfes, and Philippe in particular, for making this entire trip possible for us. It really has been a once in a lifetime opportunity and it would not have been possible without their support.