My visit to Nepal, teaching with Mondo, was one of the most satisfying things I have done. I was met off the plane by the local manager, Ram, and spent a happy couple of days in Kathmandu seeing the sights and getting my bearings.  I was a mixture of nerves and excitement to get into the school where I was to spend the next two months. The manger soon took me off to Niketan Samata School just off the impressive Boudhanath temple in Kathmandu where there was quite a little welcome waiting!  Scarves were put round my neck and I was introduced to the headteacher and staff.  The kids were everywhere, running around to say ‘hello, good morning sir’ and then to drag me by the hand into the classroom, calling ‘teacher, teacher’!

Mondo had provided me with briefing material and I was fairly well prepared, although a bit nervous and wondering how I would cope in the classroom.  I need not have worried; these kids really wanted to learn.  They asked me questions, wanted to know if I had brothers and sisters, where I lived and so on.  I soon learnt that, rather than the content, it was the interaction in English that, we as native English volunteers, could add most value. Lessons included anything from teaching songs, reading stories and even a bit of Japanese! After school, there were games to play; they love football and badminton. What always amazed me was the enthusiasm they would pour into any activity and lesson we organised.

My placement was in the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu where I was quickly introduced into the ongoing of my host family and really felt integrated into ‘local’ life. Riding on handing out of the side of a crammed tuk tuk to school every day was some experience! It also helped that I was the only volunteer at the school and not having the ‘comfort’ of a fellow volunteer made the experience more worthwhile and a real personal experience. During my time there, I also had an opportunity to go to Pokhara and embark on the Annapurna trek. Words or photos really can’t do justice to the views you see in the mountains; simply breath taking.

When I left, there were a few tears shed for sure; the generosity of these lovely people, who took me into their homes and made me feel so welcome, is something I will never forget and always cherish. My placement was all the way back in 2006. Ten years on, and with the advent of social media, I was amazed that many of the students have contacted me to let me know how they are getting on. Some have even become teachers at the school I taught! I am so grateful to Mondo Challenge for providing me with a unique experience that has enriched my life in so many ways.