Leah and Roisin’s trip to Nepal with Indreni

After travelling to Nepal with Indreni in October 2019, I knew I wanted to go back as soon as I could. I had an incredible time with my Mum, Ian, a group of Irish young adults and parents. We spent the week getting to know the Indreni team and children, visiting the houses, schools, and learning about all of the incredible work Indreni does to provide the best possible lives and futures for all of the children. A week in Nepal was not nearly long enough for me, and I was determined to go back as soon as I could.

ARRIVING IN NEPAL

My friend Roisin and I both managed to get time off work and booked a trip to Nepal for the month of January. On Thursday January 2nd, 2020, we flew from Dublin to Kathmandu. Roisin had never been before, so I showed her photographs and videos of the children, but I knew she would understand the magic of Nepal as soon as she got there!

When we arrived, we moved into lovely accommodation in Sundarijal that we would be staying in for four weeks. We were a ten-minute walk from the Indreni home and also from the children’s school Shwet Barahi. There was a lovely restaurant called the ‘Friendz Café’ on our doorstep that did the best Momo’s and egg fried rice around, and we had some gorgeous fruit and vegetable stalls nearby!

The first morning myself and Roisin went to the Indreni home, we were in awe of the gorgeous welcome we got from the children. I was delighted that so many of them remembered me, and Roisin grew very special bonds with each and every one of the children very quickly.

SCHOOL AND ACTIVITIES

Our daily routine varied, but generally we would get up in the morning, go to the Indreni home and have breakfast with the children. We would help them with their homework, play games with them and help them get ready for school. We would usually get the bus to school with the children, or walk, depending on the weather. Roisin and I loved the school assembly in the morning where the children would sing and pray, it was a lovely start to the day. We spent the mornings in whichever class needed extra help; usually maths, English, or science! We were hugely impressed by the hard work and determination of the children and teachers in school, and also by the fact that every class is taught through English. In each class, the children worked really hard and had huge hopes and dreams of becoming accountants, engineers and doctors and it was clear that they were working towards those dreams.

In the afternoon, we would either stay at school with the older classes and provide extra help to the teachers, or we would bring the young children home when their classes were over. On these afternoons, we would teach the younger children how to play music on recorders and xylophones, we would also teach them to sing and dance, and had a lot of fun doing so! We taught them some sign language, and we also taught them a few Irish games! Of course, we learnt a lot from them too as they knew lots of Nepalese songs and games of their own!

We spent as much time as we could reading with the children and letting them read to us. This was one of our favourite activities as we were so impressed by the standard of reading, and how they figure everything out phonetically. We tried to teach them new words by playing word association games, and by trying to increase the difficulty of books as we saw them progress. When the children had days off school, we would play sports, or go hiking up the mountains surrounding the home. Every day was more magical than the next. We developed amazing relationships with all of the children, and it was so wonderful to experience how they all look out for each other. They have all been brought up with such lovely mannerisms and with so much love and respect, and that is hugely down to the work of Ian, Ram Hari, Raj, Silius, and all of the women working in the home.

GETTING THE NEW HOUSE READY

In the second half of our trip, the new Indreni house was almost ready to move into! We did everything we could to help speed up this process; we cleaned, dusted, swept, scraped, and painted! The children helped us after school and worked alongside our amazing new Irish friends Rosemary and Brendan who had just arrived! Rosemary worked as a teacher in Shwet Barahi School for the duration of their stay in Nepal, and Brendan did the most amazing job gardening and rearranging the landscape beside the new house. The four of us worked closely with the Indreni team, and all of the children to make the new Indreni house a home!

By the time our trip was almost over, the house was pretty much ready to go! It was great to see the progress being made and we were determined to do as much as we could to help before we left. Ram Hari kindly let us all plant our own trees in the front garden, and I am excited to go back in the near future to see them grow!

Overall, we had the most incredible month in Nepal. It was a life changing experience for both me and Roisin to meet such positive, happy and loving people. The work Indreni does is indescribable, not only do they provide the children with a home, education, food, clothes and all necessities, but they also teach the children how to love and care for each other, how to grow up to be independent and how to give back to society in any way they can. I feel very lucky to have met everyone we did during our time there, and we are already looking forward to our return!