Nepal in Need has organised for a number of volunteers to teach English in local schools. Millie and Vicky had just finished sixth form and went on their gap year. Charlotte has just finished university and Ian took time out from computer programming. If you are interested in volunteering, please email us. Please remember that you have to walk up vertical mountains to reach these schools so must be physically fit.
This was written by Charlotte Breadley, a Cambridge geography graduate who went on her own to Gontala aged 21.
Visiting Gontala is a hugely unique experience that I felt very lucky to have. It really is back to basics so do be prepared! The trek up to the village lasted for three days and although tiring, it was also very rewarding. Furtemba is great at keeping you going and sticking to a sensible pace and you meet some very hospitable locals along the way. I went during monsoon and I would highly recommend buying some walking poles in Kathmandu before you leave – they were an absolute life saver. Gontala itself is a small village and I stayed with Furtemba’s family, who were lovely. They are smiley, welcoming and offer you a lot of tea – I don’t think I’ve ever drunk as much tea in all my life! You’ll find that the Sherpas living in Gontala are all very friendly and excited to have you there, which is great when you’re so far from home. I taught the children English for 2 hours every morning and they loved it!
They were so enthusiastic and happy to be learning that it made it feel really worthwhile. They kept asking me to stay longer so that they would be fluent so they are very eager to learn! Although the way of life is basic you soon get used to it. The toilet is a hole in the ground with a jug of water rather than toilet paper and the shower is an outside tap, but within a couple of days this seems the norm. The main food in the village is potatoes and they have potatoes for everything – breakfast, lunch, dinner and any snacks – rather than biscuits with tea I got boiled potatoes and chillies! It sounds repetitive but I didn’t get bored at all and found I quite missed potatoes when I came down from the mountains!
All in all, it was an incredible experience – it’s not an easy holiday, but for me it was well worth it.