Deciding to go to Nepal to become a volunteer was a well thought decision.
I didn’t take it lightly or without considering what it would imply. Long before setting a foot in the plane (and frankly, even before getting the tickets), I had pictured in my head what Nepal would be like. However, this didn’t make my arrival at Kathmandu any less shoking.
The airport, was unlike any other I had ever been to.
Not the big, bright, clean, brand-new Terminal 1 of Barcelona’s El Prat Airport, but instead, small old buildings made of bricks, very very simple. After picking up my backpack, I headed to the currency exchange counter where, to my surprise, I didn’t find any queue or any kind of organisation, but men pushing their way through to get their money. When travelling, you always have to adapt to the local ways, so that’s what I did without hesitation: push like a true-born Nepali, even though I was carrying a backpack that was taller than me. And I got my rupees sooner than I’d expected.
Getting a taxi was far easier than I anticipated (thanks, pre-paid service!). In the back seat, looking through the window, I couldn’t be more astonished looking at the streets of Kathmandu for the first time. The dust, the crazy driving, women dressing in colorful saris, some kids bare-footed, the street vendors, the abandoned dogs, the lack of traffic signs…
I have to admit that when I arrived to my hostel I felt a bit relieved…
As if I had found a bit of peace in the middle of Thamel’s chaos. But now, a week after my first encounter with the city that will be my home for the next few months, I have discovered that its beauty lies in the simpliest things. In the sincere smile of kids when they greet you in English and you reply something in Nepali, in the Tibetan prayer flags moving at the rythm of the wind in some temples, in the contagious laugh of people dancing traditional music, or in the evenings in the terrace with the staff of the hostel, drinking Nepali beers, which might be a bit too big. Or not.
*Article published on the website of Our Sansar, a british NGO helping street children in Nepal.