Namaste! My name is Claudia Reid and this summer I was given the life-changing opportunity to travel to Nepal with National Geographic Student Expeditions. I spent 18 days in this beautiful country learning the history of Kathmandu, serving in a children’s home in the Talamarang village and seeing firsthand the damages from the 2015 earthquake. I even had the chance to ride an elephant through the jungle in Chitwan! Through it all, I was given an incredible new perspective on a country 8,000 miles away from my own, and a newfound respect and admiration for its people.
The trip began with 2 days in Kathmandu, where we visited museums, met the “Living Goddess” Kumari, and spent time exploring the holy Monkey Temple. We then made our way to a Children’s Home in Talamarang to engage in our community service projects, which included building irrigation systems and a meditation sanctuary, cementing a goat pen, clearing gardens, teaching English to the children and educating them on the importance of hygiene. Spending time with these children and working with this community was one of the highlights of my trip, enabling me to answer the calling I have long felt to serve others. While I felt I could have stayed forever, we were quickly off on our next adventure... the Namo-Buddha Monastery in the Kavrepalanchok District.
While visiting the Namo-Buddha Monastery we were given the opportunity to dine with monks and nuns and even engage them in a game of soccer. We participated in a traditional Buddhist ceremony where we observed the religious practices of the people and learned the rich roots of Buddhism. After a 7-hour bus ride through the “humpy bumpy roads” as Kollyan, our guider from Nepal would say, we finally arrived at our next destination of Chitwan National Park.