Travelogue: Anisha Maharjan

Fun As Gaunley

1st Day (Saturday)

It was exciting as ever to come out of the valley without family that too for a social cause. My happiness knew no bounds when I got to know my school friend was joining the trip too.I was amazed to know the fact that my buddy had joined as a professional photographer.So,we finally departed at 11 am from Machhapokhari receiving the remaining friends on the way.The road journey until the destination is always full of noise and fun.Singing and shouting all the way, we stopped at one point to enjoy alongside the river Trishuli.The second time we rested for lunch.Though I disliked the food I had to have it to kill my hunger.
The micro was to leave us only half the way and we were to walk with our bags for next one and half hour. Just thinking about the graveled road and my bag I felt exhausted.Thank god for Prasanna Dai,he said he would take care of the bags. I was jumping with relief.But the excitement lasted only unilt I got tired of the walk. It had been almost 2 hours and I couldn’t go any further.It was when Prasanna Dai showed up in a local bus with all our bags.I must say he is our savior.Well, some of us climbed up the roof.It was my first time and I had mixed feelings of both excitement and scariness . I just thought to myself that there’s going to be a lots of first time for me in this trip.
Finally we reached our destination,Bhalayadada,at 5:30.It was already cold and dark by then. The principal of the community school we were to serve, welcomed us with a heartening speech.We received tika and khada from him.It was very overwhelming to receive such respect .I was amazed to see that we fellows meant a lot to all the villagers. They had a great expectation from us. I could see a light of hope in all of them.Thats when I realized I am here not for a holiday but an ultimate mission to bring a change .
It was getting late.So,we 12 fellows were actually handed over to the local 12 students. I loathed the idea of having to live alone in a stranger’s house but it was a mandatory policy of GFN.I landed up in Srijana Syangtang;s house.I am very lucky because her family was very welcoming.They were frequently visiting me. They offered me food and it was yummy.
I tried to sleep hard from when it was 9 but I couldn’t until 11 :30.Unfortunately,I couldn’t sleep for long and I woke up at 3.With such a long, tiring trip I never thought I would have a sleepless night.

2nd Day(Sunday)

I wanted to sleep.In fact I needed a sleep.But I was lying at bed,eyes wide open and tuning to my cell’s music player. I couldn’t do nothing for long so I literally woke up early at 5 to finish my morning chores.Much time was left so I decided to make srijana’s hair.It turned out looking quite better than expected.
The day started with a healthy workout. It was fruitful.It helped us being energetic the whole day.The workout session was followed by introduction of all GFN members.The community fellows were sent to their homes to be ready and return back again.Until then,we utilized the time by getting to know each members of GFN. The session helped me better understand the people with whom I am to spend the entire week and perhaps hoping to stay connected all my life.
The lunch we had in the canteen was amazing except for the daal which was not salted at all.But everybody enjoyed the saltless daal without complaining. The next task was predecided.We had to teach the grade 9 students in their leisure period.I was pretty excited.But after Pradeep dai and Manish finished their part I got nervous because they were simply amazing.I gave a small lecture how to tackle with English passage reading.Ahh! It went from bad to worse.
It was my first time eating the typical nepali lunch,makkai (corn) complimented by tea. It was not hunger relieving but the moment with all the members was such that if given only tea to drink,we would feel full enough.But, I would definitely not say yes if I was offered the same menu for a second time as well.
We got home early today. I thought I would have nothing to do but what I did today was simply host aunt taught me milking the buffalos. I followed her footsteps and worked as an obedient student because I had no intentions of getting a super kick from Kali, the buffalo. I was calling her name repeatedly to make the situation more friendlier. Once I started milking , I found it easier and fun to do. My aunt praised about me doing it like a pro.What more could I wish for??
I was tired to the extent that I could sleep anywhere possible.But dinner was yet to be prepared.i was helping with the chores just when the GFN team visited my home. Their stay was not for long.They returned back immediately after we shared few thoughts and smiles.
I was covering myself with shawls and blankets. I had planned to teach Srijana about leaderahip.I did the same but I didn’t realize when I got asleep and how much had I explained to her.I felt a little disappointed for not being able to give her enough time.But I promised to myself that I would definitely give a lesson of her life before leaving.

3rd Day (Monday)

This was the first night that I had slept soundly since I arrived at Rasuwa.The first task for me today was to learn to make mahi(drink made of curd). My host aunt was very supportive in terms of making me try any new experience.I had told her that learning the traditional way of their lifestyle was one of our missions.So,she never hesitated in teaching me and in fact she ordered me around as well.This act of hers always made me feel at home.
Before going to school , we batch fellows were together enjoying games. Games, as in, educational ones like parachute debate and mafia which definitely helped develop our interpersonal skills.We were having fun and at the same time we were learning about critical thinking and creativity.It was a mixture of education and fun.
The organizers wanted the students to attend school today and not be disturbed during class hours. Therefore,we utilized the time in doing something productive. Biplav dai organized a public speaking contest.I knew i would tremble and shake if I was to speak on any given topic.On the contrary, I registered my name as a speaker. I could also imagine myself regretting the moment raising my hand as the first speaker.And that’s what happened.I got nervous and froze in front of everybody. It was an embarrassing moment. The five minutes seemed to me like hours.By hook or crook , I finished my speech.
I was awestruck by the performance of other two speakers. I was feeling guilty for not being able to speak in spite of a little orientation given by one of my competitor friends. I knew I wouldnt win and that doesn’t matter at all. What really matters is i chose to speak.Thats all.My decision was fruitful because I was praised for participating.Now what I think is it was wise of me to participate because I experienced how it feels like to speak being watched by so many eyes and my each mistakes being noted down.Above all, I know my mistakes and will always try not to repeat them now onwards.
The session ended at around 4 pm.We headed towards school. All the teams were given time to discuss about the cultural program to be held on the last day.Our team was very clear about what we had to do.So , it wasn’t such a difficult task for us.
I hadn’t carried my jacket today.Unfortunately, the weather turned out to be awful.It was drizzling and hard wind was blowing , almost like a hurricane . We hurried back home. I thought I would eat something warm and jump to bed but my host aunt hadn’t returned yet. So , there was no dinner. She showed up carrying tons of grasses on her back. It was already dark by then Watching her work from dawn to dusk without even complaining I forgot about my hunger. She is independent although married and takes good care of the entire family.She definitely is an inspiration.

4th Day (Tuesday)

We spent the whole day indoors today.The weather was not supportive at all.The night was not different as well.I spent the night by listening to the thundering. I was feeling lonely. I so wished my friends would walk down to my house.But I could understand that it was impossible for them to walk in the bad weather.
The bad weather was followed by power cut in the morning . There was no slightest bit of improvement in the weather. There was a forecast that it would remain the same way for the next few days. It was not a good news for anyone especially for our team who had such limited time and unlimited tasks to complete.
Pradeep dai took full advantage and didn’t let the day go wasted. He took opportunity to teach the students about the parliament debate.He was on itfor almost all day long. There was no complaining because he ended up opening a debate club in the school . What more could stop him if the students themselves were keen to learn anything. Their response was so motivating that we felt our teachings were not enough at all. Hadnt the students shown any interest , nothing could have been possible.
The next interesting task we did was teaching them to wash hands and brush teeth. It was an amazing experience to teach them about brushing teeth.While I taught them about effectively brushing teeth , I thought to myself that when we impart knowledge we get immense satisfaction.I received such good feedback , I got encouraged to work even more harder
I never thought I could teach something like maths that too for grade 10.The interesting fact is the three students we taught were the toppers.I was discovering new things about myself in this trip. Nevertheless, Asis was helping me teach the kids.
Teaching is the form of self learning.Thus, in the process, I was learning from my folks as well. Everything I did, I was gaining something from it . The project made me a student and I was there ready to endeavor anything that comes my way. There was a dual process of both learning what I don’t know and teaching them what I’ve got.

5th Day (Wednesday)

It was a chilly morning although the thundering and raining had stopped.We were waiting for the sun to rise sooner. Today’s sunrise was long awaited. The bright sun brought a bright smile in all of our faces and a light of hope in everybody’s eyes of wanting to learn new things.
I was invited at Sheshman’s house for the morning meal . His mother was a cheerful character. She had prepared Dhido and sisnoo. I tried it for the very first time and honestly I better prefer rice and daal. But I had it all without complaining.
All the students including us were busy practicing for the final program . We were guiding the students for their act.All the teams had to present at least two acts out of which one had to be a song prepared by themselves . I was finding that difficult because to compose a song in a day or two is not an easy task. But, I was awestruck by their talent.the students instantly produced lyrics and composed songs and they were pretty amazing to listen to.
The practice session continued until lunch. The organizers gave the batch fellows an opportunity to organize a leadership hiking for the grade nine students. We allocated the students some tasks and the hiking commenced. Today’s hiking was the most unforgettable moment until now. I had an amazing feeling climbing the mountains. After reaching to the top I literally felt like I was in the top of the world.The panorama was simply spellbounding.If I was to stay there the whole day I would have no problem at all.Except for the fact that I would need my mp3. We climbed down in no time because the sun was setting and it was getting cold. Also, we still had to conclude the leadership hiking.At one point we prepared a setting to finish the programme. It ended with fruitful results producing some deserving winners.
Climbing down the mountain was much more difficult than I imagined. The darkness added the difficulty level even more. As a result my leg got twisted and continuing further seemed to me like a nightmare.Thats when two of my friends gave me company and dropped me to my house safely.They left immediately after taking some sips of water.
We had only two rotis in lunch. I couldn’t wait to eat after I got home.i wanted to help aunt to prepare dinner but I was really exhausted after an adventurous day. My aunt didn’t need my help at all because she had finished prepairing the dinner and was waiting for me to arrive.She made kheer today.I was so excited and my mouth was watering.
I wanted my host aunt and her mother in law to solve the issues between them.So, I always tried to make them work together.Therefore,I urged to eat dinner together as well.They seemed to be fine when I was present there.But,I hope they live helping eachother during my absence as well.

6Th day (Thursday)

The effect of yesterday’s hiking could still be felt in my body.It was aching all over.In spite of the fact, me and my student were the early birds to reach where the organizers called us. They had organized a rally around the village to spread the message about making the village plastic free.I could go until the first half and didn’t follow them uphill. However, we were overwhelmed by the energy and dedication shown by the students in the rally.
I dropped the idea of going to house for meal because my leg was still in a little pain.So, I had it with the organizers. It was pretty fun as I got to know what really happens in the mysterious headquarters where every other fellows were eager to spend a night.
Everybody was busy preparing for a short demo debate to be shown to an authorized person of the district management. We were waiting for the person to arrive.Until then, we were engaged in practicing session. Many of them were busy practicing for tomorrows program me while Pradeep dai gave me an opportunity to become a mentor for the debaters. I grabbed it although I am an amateur in it. I thought I could still learn something from this experience.
The pogramme was awesome. The students made all of us proud and our teachings valuable. I must say the authorized person was not disappointed at all. In fact , after the debate ended, there was a decision to establish a debate club in the school.That would definitely enhance the capabilities of the students and provide a platform to those talented and deserving students. We were all very happy with the outcome of our efforts.
The weather today was perfect for inviting everybody for milking the cows. My host aunt also agreed to teach all of us . One by one we all stated milking. I had already done it before so I let others do it first.Everybody had a smiling face of happiness for trying something unsual. The second thing we did was making mahi . It was interesting for the unique traditional way it had to be done. Aunt offered everybody the mahi we had made.
Except some of us,other fellows decided to spend the night at the headquarters. I had my reasons for not agreeing to their terms.I had been invited to Sangeeta d’s house for dinner. So, I decided to spend the night in hers. It was a never ending road towards her house.She lived the farthest. Adding to that,It was dark and nothing could be seen.We were supporting eachother holding hands so that we don’t trip and fall. When we reached her house on the top of the hill, my tiring face vanished and a wide smile appeared looking at the view from the house. My god it was exceptional ! I wished I had chosen a student having a house in a place like this.
After a long time I was with someone with whom I could share my thoughts.I needed a friend who would listen to me and she felt the same as well. We had a long chit-chat about the trip before falling asleep.

Final Day (Friday)

Today was the day to showcase what we had learnt and taught for the whole week. The hardwork of both the organizers and the students could finally be seen in todays programme.Today was also the day of departure for us.I was extremely happy that I was returning home today but sadness overshadowed my happiness because I was more disappointed than happy for having to leave this beautiful place filled with these wonderful hearts.
The programme kicked off after lunch.There was so much of hustling and bustling during the programme. In spite of that fact,the students performed extremely well and made us proud.All the villagers had gathered around the school to watch the show.There was a feeling of satisfaction in our faces and a wide smile in every other people’s. Some of us couldn’t control the happiness within us that it poured down in the form of tears.Watching us cry, the students couldn’t control their emotions.Everybody had teary eyes.It was not only because of the happiness but saddening moment of having to apart sooner.
The bonding we had developed with the kids within just a week was extraordinary.They loved and respected us as much as we loved them.The pain of detachment was unbearable.
It was high time we left before darkness. The students were still not able to let us go.In spite of the darkness , all of them came along with us to drop until the end of the village. I’d never thought they would do something like that. Their love for us was unimaginable. Finally after all crying and hugging,we bid final goodbye to the kids.
We were suppose to reach to Shailesh dai;s house before darkness but we never regretted about being late. The two hour long trip was filled with so much of fun.Walking through the jungle in darkness with the fear of leopards was an epic moment which will definitely be remembered throughtout my life.
I had expected a lot from this trip and somehow my expectations were met.To be honest, I joined this trip for a new learning experience and to find out what exactly I wanted in life.This trip provided a proper path of my life.Although I wasn’t able to understand what I wanted ,this trip showed me the path of happiness. Now I have figured out what really makes me happy and I guess I’ll be leading my life in a new perspective.
New surrounding, new people and their way of living , experiencing their struggle and adventures. Studying these aspects and experirncing it myself excited me. Above all, being able to fit in was the best part.I always thought, it would be impossible for a person like me to compromise. But I was amazed to see myself how easily I could cope with the life of the villagers.I just wished the seven days trip extended for a little more time.
After I received a gold medal as “fellow of the batch”, it motivated me more to get engaged in these kind of activities.I worked with passion and sincerity and I was appreciated for my hardwork.The trip has totally changed the perspective towards my life and I don’t think anything can ever stop me from moving ahead.

Program: Go Gaunley

Date: Nov 2014

Traveled to: Rasuwa

Batch: Batch I