After graduating in Geography from the university of Exeter, I was unsure of what direction to take, I felt I lacked clarity about what I wanted to do. I saw Raleigh online and thought it would be a great way to experience a country and culture, whilst also cementing my future plans.
I have been based in the community of Tori Suwara, where our team have been working to construct household taps, distribution lines, toilets and hand washing stations to serve the 79 households in the village. The electrical pump scheme that brings water from the valley to the community is currently not working, so we have been focusing on improving this as a priority.
We are a mixed team with both international and Nepali volunteers. This is important because the Nepali volunteers help you settle in. Darwin, my roommate, has been a huge help with explaining the Nepalese culture and helping me communicate with my host family.
So far, I have dug pipelines, directed by the Head of the Water Committee and cut and threaded pipes provided by our Project Partners that will be used to make the taps for the stands. Digging for the pipelines is an important first step because they are used for a gravity fed system, directing water to individual households. The community and Project Partners have helped by providing tools and materials and showing us how to use them.
I have faced challenges since I’ve been here. When I first arrived, I found it difficult to communicate with the community members as I don’t speak the local language. I found it challenging to be culturally aware and make sure I didn’t offend them by mistake.
I have learnt how to communicate and get along with people from totally different cultures, with different languages and backgrounds. I now better understand social dynamics within a group and can get the best work out of individuals in a team.
Before I came on Expedition my future was uncertain and I now feel I have a better direction and ideas of what I want to do. I was addicted to social media and didn’t focus on myself but other people. I feel a Raleigh Expedition is a detox for modern life. I now have a wider perspective and am much more grateful for what I’ve got. I feel I’m more relaxed and less anxious about the direction of my life. Coming on Raleigh Expedition has cemented my future plans, before I lacked clarity of what I wanted to do with my life.
Young people have the creativity to engage with people. We bring energy. We are the future and the best people to combat development issues around the world.
My advice for someone thinking of coming on a Raleigh expedition is to be aware that what you’ve embarked on will be a challenge, but it will be worth it.