Almost two weeks have passed since I left Saping Village in the Karve District, I’m struggling to put into words my experience as a volunteer at Madeka Family School. I also don’t have many pictures to post, most of the time I was in shock of how people on remote hilltop villages live. I was processing what I was seeing and didn’t think about taking pictures.
I went to Saping with grand plans on how I was going to encourage these children to learn, study and eventually make it to college/university. What I discovered is these children barely have their basic needs met, the parents are struggling to survive and education is low priority, no healthcare is available for even basic medical needs. I’ve travelled to remote villages in Cambodia, India and South Africa but I haven’t seen poverty, hardship and the struggles I’ve seen in Nepal.
Am I glad I went to Saping Village to volunteer? Yes! Did I make a positive impact on the village or school? Probably not! For myself, what I did was fulfill a westerner’s dream to struggle in village life for a short period of time. This is not true for all volunteers, I was fortunate to work with Chris and Rachel from the U.K. who are actual teachers and came with a more organized plan for the school. Chris and Rachel definitely made a positive and lasting impact in Saping. What I did show the young girls was that a woman who looked similar to their mother can be educated, travel around the world and be independent.
Here’s a link to Chris and Rachel’s blog which helps paint a picture of the village: http://rachrisworldtravels.blogspot.com/2016_04_01_archive.html
In my usual happy and optimistic world, for the first time I’m left with no optimism for several of the children in Saping. I’ve seen things I can’t unsee and I know things which I wish I didn’t. Whoever said ignorance is a bliss was correct. I often struggle at night to sleep as I recall all the hardships of village life and I can’t come up with a solution to make the villagers life easier.
I sensed a helplessness that I've never felt before, the poverty I saw in Saping village made me uncomfortable to the point where I was physically sick and depressed. I have the American mentality of 'if you work hard you can achieve greatness' but I saw the women of Nepal work relentlessly but there was no payoff - a child could die of diarrhea, there are some nights where no food was put on the table, you could go without water for 48 hours.
Water shortage, hard labor, limited food supply, no access to basic medical, three hour walk to the nearest town, no roads, dangerous transportation systems and no government assistance to rebuild homes after the 2015 earthquake. I met a few women who were either my age or younger but looked older than my mom, these hardships age individuals quickly.
Nepalese are resilient, they continue to smile and show their generosity despite natural disasters, government shortfalls, and a neighbor who bullies them constantly. I learned that I'm not as strong as most Nepali.