10 things I learned from my Peace Corps service

Fresh off the plane in Kathmandu, Sept. 2012

Fresh off the plane in Kathmandu, Sept. 2012

As my Peace Corps service is coming to an end, I thought it would be fitting to reflect on the past 27 months. Twenty-seven months of living and working in a completely unfamiliar land, witnessing and participating in events and ceremonies completely foreign and at times enigmatic. After 27 months, I have acquired a new home, a second family, and memories and experiences to last a lifetime. Here are ten things I learned during my Peace Corps service.

  1. Two years really isn’t that long, kind of

When deciding to apply to become a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV), one of the most daunting facts – aside from the isolation, learning a new language and not really understanding what you will be doing – is the two-year commitment. I remember thinking to myself, two years? That is half of my undergraduate career, I could obtain my masters in that amount of time – I could do many things in that amount of time. But when it comes down to it, two years really isn’t that long, especially in grassroots development.

Peace Corps is a time warp – days may drag on but weeks and months fly by with lighting speed. When completing large or even minuscule tasks, arranging meetings, obtaining supplies and actually implementing project can take weeks if not months. Yes, time did drag on at some points; however, at the end of service I found myself asking “where did all the time go.” Two years really isn’t as long as it may seem.

  1. No matter where you go, you will always meet amazing people
First host family I had during Pre-Service Training

First host family I had during Pre-Service Training

When transplanted to an unfamiliar territory where English is the foreign language and rudimentary tasks such as using the toilet are seen as complicated, it may appear that loneliness is inevitable. While I did have bouts of feeling alone and desolate, I spent more time meeting some of the most amazing people on planet earth. Whether it was my host mom of two-years who provided me with laughter, a full heart and always ensured I was fed or whether it was the village president who spent endless energy to help ensure a project came to fruition, I can honestly say I have met some of the most kindhearted people during my time in Nepal.

And it is not just the locals. The 19 fellow volunteers who started this journey with me soon became family. I can say that it is unlikely any of us would have befriended one another in the U.S., but I would not trade a single one of them for the world. Without them, this experience would have been close to impossible.

  1. You really can live without wifi, a refrigerator, and running water

The luxuries of America are what many believe will be the hardest to let go of when embarking on an experience such as Peace Corps. When toilet paper becomes a thing of the past and boiled goat blood is the hot dish at the neighborhood cookout, one quickly realizes living without first-world amenities – or the lack-there-of – are one of the easiest things to grow accustom to. Being able to check e-mail once a week, if that, was invigorating. The act of fetching water provided me with a sense of what many people around the world go through in order to survive on a daily basis, but also made me realize how grateful I am for proper sewage and pipelines in the United States.

Not having a refrigerator may have resulted in more gastrointestinal problems as whole, but also allowed me to learn that the majority of items Americans place in the refrigerator can almost always be left out in the open. Bottom line: it can be rejuvenating and informative to let go of some of those amenities we think are essential for survival.

  1. How to fail, and fail miserably, but pick back up and go at it again

    Me with the girls from my village that attended Camp GLOW

    Me with the girls from my village that attended Camp GLOW

If there is one thing that grassroots community-led development does well, it is to show how to fail, but pick back up and go at it again. I cannot count the number of times a project did not come to fruition or a program transpired but in a way that was unexpected or unfitting. Before coming to Peace Corps, I thought I had failed at several stages in life. But Peace Corps demonstrates firsthand the true definition of failure and makes sure you understand it over and over again. Failure only made those small – and large – victories that much more meaningful.

  1. The meaning of friends and family

    Some of the group during Pre-Service Training

    Some of the group during Pre-Service Training

Leaving behind practically everything and moving halfway around the world, with only a few suitcases in tow, one quickly realizes the meaning of family and friends. I can honestly say this experience could not have been accomplished without support and encouragement from those back home. Whether it was texts, e-mails, care packages, or thoughtful donations for projects – or a combination of all – you have no idea how much it meant.

Distance only makes friendships that much closer, and I can honestly say that being gone for so long, I truly value and honor those that kept in touch and support me along the way. This experience has shown me how important my family and friends mean to me and that I could not have done it without them.

  1. The importance of culture, traditions and language

Never will I travel to a foreign destination again without learning at least a smidgen of culture and language prior to arrival. Being immersed in a new culture and seeing the impacts – both positive and negative – it has on villages, towns, and the country as a whole, has given me a sense of how important it is to learn and respect cultures around the globe. Nepal is one of the most culturally vibrant countries I have experienced. Almost everything and anything someone does is ingrained in cultural values and traditions. While some customs cannot be explained and are simply repeated based upon past generations, I have found it fascinating and enlightening to see and experience this culturally rich country.

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Receiving tika during Dashain, Nepal’s biggest and longest festival

Learning a language, even if it is only a few words, gains the respect of the locals almost as quickly as wearing their traditional clothing. Being that this is the first foreign language I have become conversational in and must utilize on a daily basis, I have seen the happiness it brings to the locals when they see a foreigner speak to them in their own dialect. Learning a new language has been exciting and daunting, but it has encouraged me to learn more languages and taught me how a little bit of language can go a long way.

  1. My love and admiration for the United States

Before I left the U.S. to embark on this adventure of a lifetime, I considered myself patriotic and proud to be an American. However, spending over two years in a different country, far removed from American values, traditions and customs, I developed a true sense of nationalism that can only be acquired from time spent outside the United States of America. I think it is safe to say that my love and admiration for the U.S. grew exponentially with time served in the Peace Corps. While I do love a good adventure, I will always find my way back home to the United States.

  1. Small changes can make large impacts

    Donating water filters to the primary school

    Donating water filters to the primary school

Though I did not directly save lives or pull a village out of poverty, I did initiate small meaningful projects that have potential to make large impacts over time. Being in a rural village with limited resources taught me how important it is to keep sight of the larger problem while implementing small doable actions that can sustainably tackle the overarching goal. Almost nothing can be done overnight to solve a complex issue – especially in grassroots development. Once I learned that, it made the implementation of the smaller, more doable projects that much more meaningful.

  1. “Sanitary” has a new definition
Prepping the goat after sacrifice, in the shower area outside

Prepping the goat after sacrifice, in the shower area outside

Showering bi-monthly and gorging off of the same plates as goats and chickens, and being okay with it, truly redefines the definition of “sanitary.” With each passing day, my tolerance of disgusting and repulsive situations steadily rose. Finding a hair in my food is a daily occurrence and wearing the same clothes for a week straight is anything but unusual. Not only can I eat any food prepared void of utensils, I can also use the bathroom without the use of toilet paper – using different hands for each act, of course. Having the shower and the designated area for animal sacrifice and dissection occupy the same space took time to grow accustom to. In the end, my definition of sanitary, cleanliness, and repulsive have been altered.

10. Explore, and live outside your comfort zone???????????????????????????????

One re-occurring theme throughout my 27 months was experiencing the thrill of exploring new and unfamiliar land. Whether it was exploring my village and finding various temples and vantage points or trying buffalo brain for the first time – and last – or standing in front of an entire primary school and giving a speech in Nepali, I learned and grew from each experience.  Being outside of my comfort zone for the past two-years has been both exciting and terrifying, thrilling and dull. But no matter how low the lows go, the highs always prevail. One of the many take away messages from this experience is to explore, and do so often. Pushing myself out of my comfort zone and living life on the edge has opened new and exciting opportunities and perspectives that would not have been known if I had not explored.

My Peace Corps experience has been everything but what I thought it would have been. I have learned more than I have taught, I have grown more than I have given, and I have changed more than I have been able to influence healthy behavior changes in others. I would not trade this experience for anything and am excited to see where the next adventure will take me.

The remaining weeks in village

With about a month remaining at site, I have been reflecting on things that I will miss once leaving and certain things I will not miss so much at all.

Top 5 things I will miss about village:

  1. My host family, more specifically, my host mom. If you are an avid reader, you know that my host mom – Mommy – has been my saving grace during my time at site. She is one of the nicest, most caring and nurturing people I have met and has made this experience that much better. If she had grown up in a more developed setting where she could have access to proper education, I have no doubt that she would have been a trailblazer of some kind.
Host mom with 10 month old nephew

Host mom with 10 month old nephew

  1. The beauty that is Nepal. Nepal really is a beautiful country. With the hills, the Himalayas, the rice patties, the culture and the people, Nepal really does have a lot going for it. Currently, as monsoon is winding down, everything is lush and green. It is the prettiest time of the year and the last time I will see Nepal at this picturesque state. While I am anxious to get back to Texas and be able to see for miles and miles, being in the hills has been a great contrast to west Texas.
  1. The peacefulness. The first things I notice every time I come back to village is the tranquility of rural Nepal. There is no traffic seeing how there is only one bus that passes through the only dirt road in the village. My village is also a bird sanctuary where many different types of birds chirp and fly about. Currently, since monsoon has brought heaps of rain, I can hear the roaring rivers and streams in the distance. It really is a peaceful place to chill out.
  1. The food. While I do eat the same thing every day, twice a day, I am going to miss dal bhat – the rice and lentil mixture that is the staple of Nepal. My host family grows diverse vegetables and we rarely eat the same vegetable two days in a row. Therefore, there is some variety in my diet. I am also going to miss the chutney that is served with dal bhat that adds some much needed flavor. I can see myself craving some dal bhat once I leave.
  1. The simplicity that is village life. This has been something I have complained about along the way, but I have become accustom to the simple life in village. It gives me time to read books, reflect on the past and present and enjoy life in the moment. I really do not think I will have this much time on my hands until I retire late in life. Once I get back into the hustle bustle in the US, I am going to wish I could crack open a book and spend the day reading.

While there are a great number of things I will miss about Nepal, there are also many things I will not miss about Nepal and village life.

Top 5 things I will not miss about village:

  1. The rats, cockroaches, leeches, snakes, and other creatures that co-habit my room. I like to tell myself I have been camping for two years – which is pretty accurate. My room is the size of a jail cell, there is no running water, and my toilet is outside down a treacherous staircase. Every time I come back to my site after a retreat in Pokhara, I have to clean up the rat droppings and shake the sheets to make sure they aren’t infested with one of Mother Nature’s death defying creatures. I also have to shield myself from the rats at night so they do not try and penetrate my sleeping bubble. I won’t start in on how they wake me up every night with their squeaks and squeals. Let’s just say I am ready to occupy a space where it is void of any creatures, large or small. Oh, and the snake came back into the house, too.
  1. The food. I know I am contradicting myself here, but there are certain foods that I simply will not miss. One being puja When someone in the family leaves for an extended period of time and attends a wedding or goes to a temple during their trip outside of village, they often bring back pieces of bread and other mystery food that was worshipped at the event they attended. The puja mystery food is usually days old once it makes it back to village and no telling where it has been before it is shoved in your mouth. This I will not miss. I will also not miss the weird blends of food such as fruit with sugar, salt, chili powder and milk mixed together to form a very foul taste.
  1. Monsoon, and the things that come with it, i.e., mold. Though monsoon turns everything green, it also brings with it copious amounts of mold. Items that have fallen victim from monsoon include: my MacBook Pro; three pillows; many articles of clothing; my entire bedding inclusive of my mattress, comforter and sheets; and dare I even mention what the mold does to my allergies. Let’s just say I will never miss monsoon season.
  1. The transportation to and from village. I have complained about the transportation in this country many times, more specifically my journey to village. I cannot tell you how excited I am that I only have to get on that bus one more time and that is to leave village. Just the other day, the bus got stuck in the mud for four hours right outside my house. Thankfully I was not an occupant on that particular bus ride. This time I got to be one of the spectators who passively sat there and watched the four hour event unfold of trying to push the bus out of the.
Village bus stuck in the mud

Village bus stuck in the mud

  1. The language barrier, read: not having meaningful conversation. In village, where no one speaks decent English – or any English at all – conversations are limited to “where are you going,” “did you eat,” or may favorite, “can you take me to America?” I will not miss this simplistic conversation without depth and meaning. Rarely do I get into a semi-meaningful conversation that has some vigor to it. It will be very nice to be able to speak in my native tongue and have enlightening conversation with people.

Regardless of all of these nuances, I will miss village and the obstacles that come with it. Dashain, the largest festival in Nepal, has just started and will occupy the majority of my time left in village. I will try and post one more time before leaving village at the end of October.

A snake in the house

It started out as a normal Wednesday in the village. Dal bhat had been consumed, teeth had been brushed, water filter had been filled. I was tending to my own business in my makeshift confines that is dubbed a room by Peace Corps Nepal standards when the unexpected news was delivered via my host mom. She shrills that a snake has entered our house. I jump up in trepidation, not knowing where this slimy creature is exactly and to see if I heard her correctly. Unfortunately, I heard her loud and clear: A SNAKE IN THE HOUSE. My worst fear had come true.

If you have yet to see my YouTube video that gives a tour of my house, I encourage you to do so. In it you will witness a full tour of my home, toilet and all. My house is a very traditional mud home that has a slate roof and small holes in the ceiling and walls that enable easy access from one room or floor to the next for small creatures. Essentially it is a Chucky Cheese size playpen for snakes and other small creatures to take advantage of, free of charge. When I fully understood what was transpiring, all I would think about was how were we going to prevent the snake from entering my room.

My host mom and I quickly spotted the six foot long snake in the charcoal rafters in the interior of our house – an ideal location for such creature to shield itself from mankind. All we could do was watch as it slithered across the beams and made its way further inside the house. I quickly made sure my host mom was well aware that I am not a fan of snakes and would be of no further assistance in trying to escort said snake outside the house. She then quickly made sure I was well aware that she was also not a fan of snakes but had a little more courage and would obtain a large stick to try and guide it to go back outside. Before we knew it, Mr. Snake was out of site, but not out of mind.

My host mom grabbed the flashlight and the hunt was on. We were looking high and low, trying to find our six foot long friend. Thankfully, with the aid of the flashlight, we were able to spot him, meandering his way through the pots and pans placed on the top shelf within the house. My host mom tried to yell at it, instructing it to find itself out. Surprisingly, this attempt of expulsion was not successful and before we knew it, Mr. Snake found its way through a hole and was upstairs. There is only one way to the attic for humans and that is via a staircase that is very steep and hazardous. Also, it is dark up there with little room for quick movement when dodging large human eating snakes; therefore, I kindly suggested that my host mom should go up and seek it out while I stayed downstairs to man the first floor. She reluctantly agreed as I charmed her with my western ways.

She slowly makes the ascent to the pitch black attic with flashlight and elongated stick in tow. She quickly makes visual with the snake and says it is wandering about, trying to find its way out. I am skeptical of such intentions but acknowledge her speculation of the snake’s intent. After about five minutes of watching the snake travel about, uninterrupted, she yells out that it is making its way outside, via another gaping hole in the attic. She instructs me to go outside to ensure its exit from the attic and I willingly do so. However, I never see our six foot long friend make his exit. I run back into the house and make it known that the snake is still within the confines of the home and my host mom quickly looks around in the attic until she gains visual again, confirming it did not make its way outside.

Next thing I know, the six month old baby awakes from his mid-day slumber and I am the only one to greet him and calm his nerves, if only he knew what was going on he would have a reason to cry. I put my parenting skills to the test but they only prevailed for about 50 seconds before he realized I was not his Mom or Grandmother, thus going back into hysteria. My host mom soon heard him crying and made the executive decision that he was more important than removing a six foot long, potentially man eating snake, from the house. I tried to use my western powers to veto her decision but this time, my western ways did not persuade her that the eviction of the snake was more important than tending to a baby.

All three of us find our way outside where we felt safe, trying to avoid the thought that there was a python loose inside our house. Soon Babu’s (the six month old) mom arrives home from work and I quickly fill her in on today’s breaking story. She was in disbelief and equally revolted as I was; however, she too is not a fan of snakes and quickly made it known she is not going upstairs to seek Mr. Snake out. Soon I realize nothing is going to be done and we are just going to make ourselves think he left the attic via one of the multiple holes in the wall or roof. I retreat back to my room, looking around to ensure he has not made himself inside via one of the gaps in the ceiling connecting to the main house. I tell myself that he could not make his way through because the holes are not large enough. This suffices me until I hear loud commotion outside, scurrying out to see if the python has eaten the six month old and quickly learning that is not the case. But the snake has made himself downstairs and into the kitchen portion of the house, which connects via gaps and holes right into my room.

I try to not think of the possibilities of the snake gaining entry into my room and the endless options of hiding spaces he could find himself. Before I know it though, he has found himself into my room and is slithering-a-mock around the perimeter of the ceiling! Seeing that my room is very narrow and contains only one shared entry and exit point, I am not about to co-habit my room with a snake. Thankfully my host mom has more courage than myself and takes one for the team – again – and goes inside with her stick, determined to show him out. Once he makes a lap around the room, scoping everything out, he decides he is done and thankfully makes his way out via another hole, this time exiting the house altogether.

I quickly gain visual of him in the garden that is situated directly to the side of my room. I try and take a quick poll to see if we can kill this thing before it goes back inside my room. Not surprisingly, we cannot kill it because snakes are worshiped and we cannot kill something that we worship. My host mom then goes on to explain that a lady down the road killed a snake a while back and worshiped it after killing it and she quickly became ill, obviously due to the fact that she killed a snake. Therefore, if we were to kill the snake we too would become ill. Thankfully I understand Nepali logic and quickly agreed that we definitely could not kill the snake. Therefore, we simply watched it make its way down into the garden, back to its real home, until it returns again for round two.

Peace Corps Nepal’s first Camp GLOW

Camp GLOW was a success! Huge thank you to all that helped make this fun, impactful and empowering camp come to fruition. In total, we had 45 young girls from nine different villages attend the five-day camp. Each volunteer also brought an adult female chaperone to help us facilitate sessions and aid the girls in implementing things they learned at the camp, back into their village.

The camp focused on confidence building, gender based violence prevention, sexual health, and budgeting and life skills. Witnessing the girls openly discuss issues surrounding gender discrimination and inequality was both challenging and rewarding. Some of the girls are very well aware of what is happening around them and know that it is not right, but have no idea how to break the vicious cycle that is gender discrimination. For others, this was their first exposure of such concept. The camp effectively taught the girls about opportunities and resources that exist both inside and outside their villages.

Conducting a camp of this magnitude in Nepal was new to both us and the girls. We held the camp in a large city that was equidistant for most volunteers. For some of the girls, this was their first time out of their village or their first time in a larger city. We held the camp at a fairly nice hotel for Nepal standards. This resulted in some very interesting and funny cross cultural happenings throughout the week. In the village, the only toilets are squat toilets – which I have come to prefer over western toilets. Toilet paper is also nonexistent and to most people, completely foreign. Well, at the camp venue, the only toilets were western toilets and the only way to properly clean yourself was with toilet paper – not water, which is the way to do so in village. Needless to say, we had to teach many girls how to properly use a western toilet and what toilet paper was used for. Many of the girls were also confused with how to use the showers, not knowing one knob is hot water while the other is cold. Thankfully no one was badly burned, but there were complaints of only hot water available while showering.

Minus a few hiccups from the fact this was the inaugural Peace Corps Nepal Camp GLOW, the week went off exquisitely. I genuinely hope that Camp GLOW will continue on within Peace Corps Nepal and one day, guys will be able to be incorporated into the conversation. While I think it is important to incorporate both sexes into the conversation, I do not think Nepal is ready to do so. It was great to be able to watch young girls be young girls instead of mature servants. At the end of the week, all of the girls had met new friends and gained valuable knowledge to start the conversation back in their village. I can honestly say this was one of the best projects during my Peace Corps service.

Group photo at the end of camp

Group photo at the end of camp

Water, sanitation and hygiene project

For the past few months I have been working with the school to help them acquire water filters for each of their classrooms. The conversation began when I was approached by the headmaster of the local primary school I often visit. He explained to me that there is a lot of stomach and intestinal sickness seen in many of the students, presumably due to dirty water they consume. They have been trying to save enough money to purchase eleven water filters, one for each classroom. Low and behold, around the same time he approached me, I was looking for projects the community needed, finding ways to spend the left over money I had raised from my mushroom cultivation training (the money most of you donated 🙂 ). I have wanted to do some sort of hygiene and sanitation lesson with the school and this provided the perfect opportunity.

I talked with the headmaster, teachers and some of the school board members to discuss possible options of which filters would work best and how the school could play a part of obtaining the filters. I was blown away with how invested the entire school was on trying to attain filters for each classroom. It really showed there was a need here and they truly cared about the wellbeing of the students. There is no doubt that the water the students drink while at school is contaminated with fecal matter, bacteria and who knows what else. The school sits at the bottom of a slope with a small community above them; therefore, all of the sewage seeps into the ground and contaminates the water source at the school. I could see from the get go that this was a priority of the school and something that I could easily help with.

After a month of talks, pricing and scouting out filters, I, along with the school came up with a plan. The school said they would pay for 25% of the filters and I would fund the remaining amount. They would send a representative to the bazaar to help me purchase, transport and lug the filters to the school. Once we had the filters, I, along with a community health expert, would facilitate hygiene and sanitation lessons to each classroom. Afterwards, we would set the water filter up in the classroom and explain the importance of clean drinking water. It was a perfect plan and a project that I have wanted to implement.

After some searching and negotiating – my new favorite hobby – we found eleven copper water filters in Pokhara, all within our budget. I placed the order and the shop keeper said they would be ready for pick-up the following day. I, alongside one of the teachers from the school, picked them up the following morning and loaded them onto my bus back to my village. The staff was thrilled that they finally were able to obtain the filters.

The school held a program a few days after all of the water filters arrived at the school. I was told to come to the school at 10:00 am, when school commences for the day. At the start of each school day, all of the students line up in front of the school, segregated in boy and girl lines, and lined up from the youngest to oldest classes. A teacher then blows a whistle and the students move their arms, legs or whole body. I am guessing they are trying to get all the excess energy out of the students before they march single file into their respective classrooms. It appears from an outsider’s point of view to resemble a military exercise. Regardless, after they wiggle and waggle, everyone sings the national anthem and school starts for the day.

The program they held for me was attached to their military exercises. It was typical Nepali fashion: tikka, speeches from the most prestigious, and an outdated, busted speaker system. I was very grateful for the program where I was tikkaed, given a gift and made an impromptu speech in front of the entire student body, full of giggles from all the little girls. It was very nice of the school to hold such ceremony. The students seemed very grateful for the new filters and the faculty was equally thrilled.

School has let out for the planting/monsoon season, but when the students come back in early August, I am going to hold hygiene and sanitation lessons with each class – explaining the importance of water treatment and hand washing, among other important topics.

Thanks again to everyone who graciously donated, allowing this and my mushroom project to happen! Without your support and enthusiasm, this project would not have been possible. I will be sure to give an update in August. Below is a picture with a student from each grade, alongside teachers, school board members and the headmaster. Pictured is one out of the eleven water filters purchased. Thanks again for all of y’all’s support – your donation was put to use and is much appreciated!

Thanks to all that donated!

Thanks to all that donated!

Langtang trek

A few fellow volunteers and I went on a trek this past week, a nice vacation away from village life and the hustle bustle of Nepal. We decided on the Langtang trek, a five day trek about 80 miles north of Kathmandu. The trek exceeded my expectations and the views were unbelievable. We started out around 7,000 ft. in Syabru Besi and reached Kyanjin Ri at 15,649ft. If you are ever in Nepal and have a week to spare, I highly recommend the Langtang trek over the other popular treks such as Annapurna Base Camp. Check out the pictures below to see some of the highlights of the trip.

The gang at the start of our trek

The gang at the start of our trek

With one of the Tibetan didis, she was grand

With one of the Tibetan didis, she was grand

The whole gang on one of the many suspension bridges

The whole gang on one of the many suspension bridges

A yak!

A yak!

Made it to our destination: Kyanjin Gompa, 12,467 ft

Made it to our destination: Kyanjin Gompa, 12,467 ft

At Kyanjin Gompa

At Kyanjin Gompa

Our guest house at Kyanjin Gompa

Our guest house at Kyanjin Gompa

The view from Kyanjin Ri, 15,649 ft

The view from Kyanjin Ri, 15,649 ft

Getting rowdy at 15,000 ft

Getting rowdy at 15,000 ft, mid-drift and all

On our decent

On our decent

Followed the river all the way up and down

Followed the river all the way up and down

Celebratory beers at the end of the trek

Celebratory beers at the end of the trek

Get involved! Help empower the girls of Nepal

Over the past year and a half living and working in Nepal, I have noticed one thing – the key to Nepal’s future lies in the hands of the youth, and most significantly its girls. After seeing gender discrimination on a daily basis, I – along with other volunteers – have decided to make girl’s empowerment one of our number one priorities.

These past few months myself and 8 other volunteers have been working hard to create Peace Corps Nepal’s first ever girl’s empowerment camp – GLOW (Girls Leading Our World). GLOW is a girl’s empowerment camp that almost every Peace Corps country worldwide facilitates; we are working hard to start Nepal’s very own GLOW camp. Our GLOW camp will be a 5-day camp in Pokhara, a larger city in close proximity to all of our villages. Participants are selectively-chosen highly motivated girls – ages 13-17 – from rural villages in mid-western Nepal. This eye-opening experience will be packed with practical, informative trainings on health, gender roles, business, budgeting, empowerment and life skills. The camp will be filled with fun, high impact activities to inspire creative and critical thinking. Our camp will consist of 36 adolescent girls – four from each volunteer’s villages – along with one chaperone from each of our villages. These girls, along with their chaperone, will return to their villages equipped with the knowledge and skills to lead youth groups and inform their peers about current and relevant issues affecting women in Nepal.

In order to make this camp happen, we need support to fund the entire five-day camp. We have set up a donation page through Peace Corps’ website to solicit donations from friends and family. We need a total of $4,120 in order for Peace Corps Nepal’s GLOW camp to take place. A donation of any amount would be greatly appreciated.

Our GLOW camp is scheduled for mid July and therefore we only have 2 weeks to meet our funding goal and receive the funds to ensure the camp can take place in July. Any support, monetary or simply spreading the word and forwarding this blog is deeply appreciated!

Please follow the link to make a donation, also please ensure that you are donating to the correct GLOW project.

https://donate.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=donate.contribute.projDetail&projdesc=14-367-002   

If you have any questions or want to learn more about our project, please do get in touch!

Thank you for any donation or help spreading the word to help empower the youth of Nepal.