Volunteer Testimonials I

We completed a 4 week period of volunteer work in Nepal, with one week of training and sight-seeing with the Hope & Home staff, followed by just over three weeks at Kanti Children’s Hospital, Maharajgunj, Kathmandu. After completion of our time at the hospital we spent about two weeks sight-seeing in the Pokhara and Chitwan regions.

The time we spent at the hospital was both eye-opening and occasional remarkably familiar to our work as medical students at home. While the conditions, facilities and standard of care may not have been quite what we were used to, most of the problems and treatments were familiar, if not exacerbated by late presentation. We spent all our time with the paediatric surgical team, mainly in outpatient clinics plus two days a week of theatre time.

Samuel Dalton & JoAnne De Ruiter
Flat 9, 160 Rossall Street
Merivale, Christchurch, NEW ZEALAND


The first few days in Nepal were indeed very challenging. I arrived in Kathmandu on December 13, 2007, after thirty-three hours of flights and layovers, lost luggage, and immigration scares. Kathmandu is a feast for the senses: the air is thick with the smell of diesel generators and motorcycle exhaust, colorful Tibetan tapestries and rugs hang outside stores, cars clog the streets and deliver a relentless stream of horn-honking, and cows and chickens wander aimlessly and are seemingly as numerous as people. Unsurprisingly, leaving the airport to find my hotel was one of the most overwhelming and terrifying memories of the trip. The feeling did not abate the next morning when I met Rabyn, my supervisor, and after a disastrous day of exploring the touristy and chaotic Thamel district, I wasn’t so sure if I would make it for three months in Nepal.

However, Hope and Home provided me with a week of cultural orientation and language class that began two days after my arrival in Kathmandu. In this class, I learned that I would be living with a small family in a rural mountain village; as such, I also learned about cultural “dos and don’ts” that were appropriate for this living arrangement. Another Hope and Home supervisor, Bijen, introduced me to the city by taking me to the major religious sites of Swayambunath (affectionately known as Kathmandu’s “Monkey Temple”) and Boudnath (the largest Tibetan settlement in the Valley). I learned how to bargain with street vendors, find cheap restaurants, use the public transportation system, and get around the city without using a map. At the end of the week, I was feeling comfortable with the city and Nepali culture and decided that I was ready to move to live with my family.

Tyler J. Roth,
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH
USA


My experience in Nepal was one of the most amazing I have ever had, and it was all thanks to Hope and Home and Rabyn. I really grew to love the orphanage and all the people in it. Thanks for being so kind and helpful to Mary and me on this trip. It was so much appreciated. I won’t forget it. I’m sure this wasn’t my last visit to Nepal; hope to see you again on another trip!
Take care, and best wishes.

Samia Abbass
The Putney School
23 Pleasant st.
Brattleboro, VT 05301, USA


I had a great time in Nepal, thanks to Hope and Home! You helped me really a lot and i got to know the culture and the city very well. And also the language… You were always there when I needed you and organised everything for so little money (for example Chitwan!) ! Also thank you so very much for helping me with buying things for the donated money and for the help to get the children to Banubhakta school! I felt always so safe with you because you had so many tips and helped me in every situation!

I met a few volunteers from other organizations and when I told them how it was with Hope and Home they all said that you seemed to be the best organization in Kathmandu and i am really sure of that too.

Thanks a lot and i hope you are well!
Leweke von Hoff
Deutschland


  • Our Experiences as Medical Student
  • Hope and Home has been an excellent company from the first email I sent to our last day in Nepal I always thought organising volunteer work, especially medical volunteer work has very difficult: However using Hope and Home was very simple.

    Three friends and I volunteered at Kanti Children Hospital in Kathmandu for two weeks at the end of August. We had a magnificent time from being shown major sights in Kathmandu to meeting all the staff and patients at Kanti. Being 1st year medical students we did not expect to be able to do very much at the hospital but we were pleasantly surprised when we were able to do the medical elective course which final year students complete.

    This was an excellent opportunity to observe new medicine is approached in Nepal and the many tropical diseases which its people face. We were rotated around the hospital which enabled us to experience working in many different units; from Burns to Oncology. Only working half days also allowed us to explore the city.

    Hope and Home did not just organise our volunteer work but helped us organise many aspects of our stay in Nepal. We were able to organise Trekking, White water rafting , Safari and Bungee Jumping all at a very reasonable price!

    Our language lesson at the beginning of the trip were particularly useful, enabling us to communicate with the Nepalese throughout our trip as well as preventing us from ripped off when purchasing various goods.

    I would like to recommend to anybody HOPE and HOME. If you are looking to do any kind of volunteer work then Hope and Home will certainly look after you before during and after your stay in Nepal. all at a reasonable price, which is often unusual amongst similar companies.

    Thanks Hope & Home, Especially Rabyn!

    Rebecca Hall
    Peninsula Medical School, England.


    Three friends and i completed a medical placement in Kanti Children Hospital for two weeks, we shadowed both Doctors and nurses in all the wards for eg in oncology we observed lumbar chemotherapy injections being administered. in cardiology we experienced echo being performed on the patients. In the burns unit we had the opportunity to observe and take part in the redressing of the burns. These are just a few of the ward we participated in our time away from the hospital went to numerous sight-seeing attractions in and around Kathmandu including the many temples and stupas. As well as a cultural dinner and dance evening which was great fun.

    After our placement Rabyn really helped organise trekking around the Annapurna Mountain, white water Rafting on the Seti river, Safari in Chitwan and a 160m Bungee jump at the Last resort.

    We had a great time in Nepal and we learnt so much not just from our placement but from the culture and way of life here too. There’s so much to see and do in Nepal for everyone’s interests plus being a volunteer you get discount off loads of stuff.

    I recommend this placement to anyone who wants to learn lots, help others and have a great time in the process.

    Thanks to Hope and Home , especially Robyn.

    Jes Verwey
    Peninsula Medical School, England.


    I came to Nepal having only completed one year of medical training hence I was not expecting to get involved much. I was looking at this placement more as an opportunity to see how a third world hospitals works rather than to practice clinical skills. My placement begun on the 27th of August and finished on the 8th of September 2006. In this time I was able to observe different wards and clinics on a two or three day rotation. Initially I started in the neonatal intermediate care with my colleague.

    Here we were able to witness first hand the conditions that affect neonates such as jaundice and sepsis. Initially my knowledge of these conditions was very basic but now due to the research and talking with the doctors I know a lot more. It was a similar case with the other wards such as cardiology and oncology. The doctors would introduce us to the patients and their conditions, from there its up to us how much more we learn.

    After a morning session at the hospital we would regularly go to the hospital library or an internet café to deepen our understanding of what we saw in the morning. I also spent time in physiotherapy where I got involved with the physiotherapy of cerebral palsy (CP) children. I never knew much about CP let alone how to handle an affected child.

    2 Fed on Safari
    I probably enjoyed my time here more than in any of the wards. I learnt so much and performing physiotherapy on a CP affected child is really rewarding because by the end of the session they are less tense and more flexible. My experience in the burns unit was not very pleasant. I’m glad I attended because I got to observe redressing on burns victims. At times however it was very sad to see small children crying and being scarred for live from avoidable dangers.

    Overall I found my presence in the hospital to be an invaluable experience, which enabled me to learn a great deal. I’m glad I did it although if I were to do it again I would learn more Nepali in advance so I could communicate with patients.

    Frederick Campbell Jones
    2nd year medical student
    Peninsula Medical School, England.


    My volunteer experience through HOPE and HOME was truly amazing and very well organized. In the first week, the Nepali language training and sightseeing was very helpful, interesting and insightful. I then moved in with my homestay family and they truly made my Nepali experience wonderful. For 3 weeks, they were supportive and kind, explaining many different aspects of the Nepali culture to me, as well as giving me lots of advice about shopping, transport and daily life in Kathmandu. My volunteerism took place at the DRC and it has changed my life. The children were simply amazing as their strength, optimism, happiness and joy just overwhelmed me. My days were spent tutoring English, helping with homework, doing crafts, going for walks, playing sports, singing and just being with the children. I highly recommend this volunteer program to anyone who wants to learn more about Nepal, work with wonderful children and meet excellent people!

    Thanks for making my experience so wonderful and great! I saw the Buddha, the river and the DRC from the plane as we left Kathmandu and it made me cry. I miss Nepal very much.

    http://www.mariscoop.blogspot.com/

    Mari Hirabayashi
    Seattle, WA
    USA


    I have had great pleasure of being part of HOPE and HOME orphanage volunteer program for the two months in early 2007. I was living at an orphanage and home for 11 otherwise abandoned young boys aged 5-11 years in Budanilkantha- some 20 KM north of Kathmandu and just a short walk down from the picturesque forested hills of the Shivapuri National Park. Being involved in the day to day lives of the boys at the orphanage and the staff who worked there, I was soon welcomed an quietly fle and quietly felt as a part of their extended family. Being called “Mark sir” by the boys. I was really more like their new big brother-one who could play with them, show them new games (ten pin bowling with mineral water bottles was a favorite), help them with their homework and everyday english practice, take them out for walks, get involved in painting and art project or just be there together with them while they watched TV or did meditation. As advice to new volunteer, I found it great benefit in staying close to and respected by the boys as well as easing the situation for me, to be clear from early or with them about few behavour expectations-as young boy will play up wit each other otherwise! Mostly I used a time-out zone idea when they were begin to wild and heaped praise on others when they showed good behavour or good homework. Towards the end of my placement, the role of being big brother to them was complete; comforting them when they were sad, sharing jokes when they were happy, so it was sad for us all to know we wouldn’t be spending time together any more.

    I had also formed real friendship with chairman “Rabindra” during my time there sharing our free time away from orphanage and going to few outing together for example to his home in Bhaktapur and shopping in Kathmandu. The guys at the HOPE and HOME are friendly and knowledgeable and we had lots of fun together on our motorbike trips around the tourist sights of the Kathmandu during my orientation week. They were also there to help if needed, a phone call or e-mail away. Be sure to let the hope and home tem know if there are any festivals during your stay that you’d like to involve with.

    We shared fascinating day on “SHIVA RATRI” and a wild, colourful and merry one for the “HOLI” festival (not to be missed!) I would recommend, if you taking the opportunity before you leave Nepal to arrange a rafting experience, trekking, Chitwan Safari trip or paragliding flight with the people at HOLIDAY ADVENTURE NEPAL – www.holidaysadventure.com (contact through HOPE and HOME). These people are clear, helpful and friendly group who give you great value for hassle free adventure experience.

    I hope you will enjoy your Nepal experience as much as I have and I hope you will learn to love DAL-BHAT because there’s no escaping it-not that I’d want to; I’m taking the recipes home! My thanks go out to all at HOPE and HOME, the Support the Children Nepal Orphanage and the Holiday Adventure team for making my trip so personal, wonderful and unforgettable.

    Best wishes

    Mark Emmerson
    2 Meon Court, Harefield
    Southampton,  Hampshire SO18 5JG
    United Kingdom


    On the bright side of things i really have to pay compilments to Hope and Home for making my stay in Nepal possible, the experience of living in Kathmandu for three months has been amazing. There has been something new to see everyday. The best thing about staying at the orphanage has been having to rely on speaking nepalese everyday as no one there speaks english. Learning nepalese and having fun with it has enriched my time in Nepal so much more than it would have if I’d been with an english speaking family. I got to know nepalese friends that don’t speak any english and made friendships that will last beyond my stay in Nepal and have memories that will last beyond my stay in Nepal and have memories that will last a lifetime. I have you to thank for this, the language program in the first week was definitely worthwhile and now I’d like to learn to speak nepalese fluently and return to Nepal sometime in the future.

    Abbie Goodin
    Christchurch, NZ

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