I stayed with Bea for twelve days at Heaven Hills Academy in Gaunshahar. We did photography, cooked Nepali foods, taught with local teachers and learned to speak the Nepali language.
After our stay at Possible Nepal in Phutung, Kathmandu, we stayed a few days in Thamel to visit temples and had cultural day trips in the city. On the 2nd of June, we left our hotel and took a taxi at 05:30 AM to the Gongabu bus station. We bought a ticket that cost 900NPR for a seven-hour bus trip to Besishar. The micro-bus has space for up to fifteen travelers and once it was full at 06:15, we departed. Outside of Kathmandu, we had our first stop at a coffee shop for a breakfast and toilet break. Bea and I bought coffee and a few snacks. At 07:15 AM, the ride resumed. In Mugling, which was halfway to Besishar. The bus stopped for breakfast which was twenty minutes. Afterward, the bus drove to Besisahar city, where we arrived at 12:30 PM. We got off near the hotel “Tukuche,” and we waited at a small local restaurant where we ate lunch. I called Shamser, the next Worldpackers host and he told us that the bus would pick us up at 02:30 PM in front of the Tukuche hotel. This bus leaves daily at 02:30 PM and 05:00 PM from Bashisahar to Gaunshahar. When we got picked up, we sat on rice bags near the driver’s seat. At 03:30 PM, we eventually arrived at the Heaven Hill accommodation. It was a fun experience to drive uphill. Kalpana, our host, welcomed us at their homestay. One volunteer showed us where we could stay, put our things, and helped Kalpana clean and cut the potatoes. Around 8:00 PM, we ate dinner and talked to Shamser, the founder of Heaven Hill Academy. Late in the evening everyone went to sleep. It was an exhausting day, but it was fun and we were excited for the next day.
We always wake up around 05:30 AM to get ready, like taking a bath, grabbing coffee and cookies, meditating, or seeing the view. Around 08:30 AM, they will serve breakfast. By 9:30 AM, we get ready for school and hike for 15 minutes down the hill. Finally, at 10:00 AM, the class will start. You can ask the teachers which class you can teach or take photos for Heaven Hill’s Instagram account.
There are classes from Kindergarten up to grade six. Each class has a local teacher, and volunteers are welcome to aid them. At 11:00 AM, the kitchen needs assistance from a few volunteers to cook the food for up to two hundred children and all the teachers. At 01:20 PM, the food must be delivered to the kindergarten students; the rest will pick it up in the kitchen. Around 02:00 PM, the volunteers are free to leave and spend time on their own or support Heaven Hill with photography, videography and maintain their website. At 08:00 PM, the host will provide Nepali Dhal Bhat and welcome volunteers to cook the food with Kalpana.
Saturday and Sunday, volunteers can rest. During our stay at Heaven Hill, we did many activities during weekends. We hiked uphill to see cows and goats, met some locals and experienced fresh air. We also learned some Nepali words taught by Laksmi, who has a store where you can buy Nepali tea or eat some Mo-Mo, Chowmein, or biscuits. Some volunteers went to the river and enjoyed the bath; some were just at home doing their laundry, editing or relaxing. You can also go to Besishar by bus or hike to buy some fruits or personal needs. Same time Dal Bhat was served around 08:00 PM. After eating, everyone was relaxing and getting ready for Monday.
Overview of volunteering expenses from 2nd to 14th of June:
Being a volunteer at Heaven Hill Academy was excellent. Why? First, the host is very organized, committed to his projects, and open-minded. Second, you can do many things like helping with Dal Bhat, teaching kids at school, learning the Nepali language, meeting locals, hiking and exploring the place. Third, Dal Bhat every day is power. Lastly, the accommodation is cozy and has a nice morning view while having coffee.
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