Newbury Young Farmer Jess Elliman shares the story of her Volunteer Farming Projects Abroad trip to Nepal with The National Federation of Young Farmer’s in August 2018
I decided to apply for this trip to Nepal with Projects Abroad as I’ve always wanted to travel and see and experience a third world country with my own eyes. This was mainly to help me appreciate the country we live in and this was the perfect opportunity to achieve this.
It was a tough application process as Young Farmers from all over the country were competing to get a place on the trip. So I was so thrilled to be accepted especially as it was my first international trip and only my second ever flight on a plane.
Travelling with a group of Young Farmers members made it so much easier. We all met at the airport, which was at first was rather daunting, but we soon got to know each other.
Nepal is in South Asia it is a landlocked country bordering China and India. Kathmandu is the capital city, and it is situated in the Kathmandu Valley of the Himalyan region. The city has grown to incorporate an area of 96 sq miles and population of 5 million.
Eight of the world’s ten tallest mountains are in Nepal, including Mt Everest, the highest point of the earth. The two main religions are Buddhism and Hinduism, which are practised in Temples, Shrines and Stupa’s.
The Projects We Worked On
1. Community gardening at Suryodaya English Secondary School –regenerating their school garden.
2. Planting fruit trees, digging and planting vegetable patches and paddy field cultivating at the new Edu Farm.
This farm is for children from urban areas to escape the city and learn where their food comes from. We planted mango, guava, cinnamon, almond and lemon plants to keep the banks stable. We also dug and planted vegetable patches, and had the experience of planting rice in a paddy field.
Weekend trip to Pokhara
We were lucky to have a weekend sightseeing trip to Pokhara to see significant cultural sights of Temples, Shrines, Stupa’s and historical locations.
We travelled there by bus which took 7 hours, the roads were full of potholes, narrow and along the side of a mountain with a river on one side. Nepali driving is an experience not to be forgotten.
Tourist attractions we went to were the Annapurna mountain view point, Bindabashani Hindu Temple, Seti River Gorge, Davis Falls and the World Peace Pagoda, 315 steps to get to the amazing view looking down to Pokara and Fewa Lake.
Culture and Infrastructure
Nepal is a third world country, therefore their culture might be a shock to viewers from a developed western country.
The ancient city of Kathmandu is scattered with scared Temples, Stupa’s, Shrines and historical buildings. We went to the Monkey Temple, The Great Boudha Stupa, Dubar Square World Heritage Monument Site dating from the 12th century, we were also very lucky to see the living goddess Kumari, who only shows her face a few seconds every day.
In Nepal their two main traditional dishes are Momo’s mashed vegetables or sometimes meat and spices all wrapped in a pasta-like outing then steamed. We even had a go at making them, which was definitely harder than it looked. Another dish was Dal bhat, a spiced lentil soup with rice.
Local butchers shops in Kathmandu, looked like a festival of e.coli and flies, which didn’t make meat look very appetizing, so we all avoided eating meat even though we are Young Farmers….!
As this trip was my first international travel experience, it was a life changing opportunity giving me confidence in myself. I really hope that other members can see what an amazing trip this was and are inspired to apply for future travel with The National Federation of Young Farmer’s.
I’d like to say thank you to my sponsors family and friends who help me achieve so much. I definitely recommend anyone between 10 and 24 years becomes a member of Berkshire Young Farmers!