The third Lancing College Nepal Expedition was the now familiar mixture of fun, learning and sensory stimulation. The friendliest people on earth were pleased to show us all that Nepal had to offer: the busy, dirty and chaotic urban sprawl of Kathmandu with its occasional oasis of calm in Buddhist temples (where we were blessed for our project work and forthcoming trek); Stupas, the tourist hotspot of Pokhara, with its serene lake and the towering Annapurna mountains behind; the ‘tea houses’ perched on the edge of the hillside to maximise the early morning views across to the high snow-capped peaks; the monkeys feeding above the pathway or visible from the window of the lecture room where we were supposed to be focusing on the management on the Annapurna Region Conservation Zone; the hospitality of the Tibetans as they opened their doors to us and allowed us to experience their refugee camp and to fully appreciate what it means to be stateless.
As usual the pupils rose to the challenges, being inspired by the Gurkha Welfare Trust, the stimulating environment and the endless energy of the Tibetan children. The pupils dug a huge hole deep into the ground to create a safe water supply for the local school, and discovered what can be achieved by sweat and team work. They trekked with smiles on their faces and endured the cold showers with a minimum of fuss. Food was a major topic of conversation but they kept healthy by eating the plain and simple local fare with good grace.
We all returned knowing a lot more about how the other half lives and a little bit more about ourselves.
Chris Foster, Trip Leader