Volunteer Nepal – Simon's Photo Diary

Volunteer Nepal – Simon's Photo Diary

7 min read

Simon Walsh, a photo-journalist from Dublin recently spent 2 weeks in Nepal on our Volunteer programme.  Lucky for us he brought his camera with him and it’s fair to say that these amazing photos sum up his experience nicely! Here is Simon’s Nepal trip, told through photos.

I was greeted with this beautiful sunset as soon as I arrived at the volunteer house.
I was greeted with this beautiful sunset as soon as I arrived at the volunteer house.
The staff gave me a local welcome by placing some Tika on my forehead.
The staff gave me a local welcome by placing some Tika on my forehead.

 

Our Cultural week started off with a Nepali language lesson.
Our Cultural week started off with a Nepali language lesson.

 

The girls enjoyed getting their Henna Tattoos!
The girls enjoyed getting their Henna Tattoos!

 

Breakfast time!
Breakfast time!

 

A few of us braved a 6am start for a yoga class.
A few of us braved a 6am start for a yoga class.

 

The girls during a tradition Nepalese dance class. Considering I have two left feet, I sat most of this out! Still, the embarrassment was part of the fun!
The girls during a tradition Nepalese dance class. Considering I have two left feet, I sat most of this out! Still, the embarrassment was part of the fun!

 

I was assigned to a project in the local Government school. Myself and two other volunteers were to paint a classroom with whatever we wanted. I decided to paint a Buddha.
I was assigned to a project in the local Government school. Myself and two other volunteers were to paint a classroom with whatever we wanted. I decided to paint a Buddha.

 

A schoolgirl stands in front of my Budda-in-progress.
A schoolgirl stands in front of my Budda-in-progress.

 

My compadres!
My compadres!

 

My painting of Budda was coming together. I decided to paint the Himalayas too to give it the context of Nepal.
My painting of Budda was coming together. I decided to paint the Himalayas to give it the context of Nepal.

 

A quick visit to the local paint shop when we ran out!
A quick visit to the local paint shop when we ran out!

 

An absolutely beautiful Buddhist place of prayer, ‘Monkey Temple’ lives up to its name.
An absolutely beautiful Buddhist place of prayer, ‘Monkey Temple’ lives up to its name.

 

Monkey Temple overlooks Kathmandu at the top of a tall hill.
Monkey Temple overlooks Kathmandu at the top of a tall hill.

 

A local monkey scavenges for food.
A local monkey scavenges for food.

 

Me sitting at the top of the steep stairs that leads to the temple. Tough stuff in the monsoon season humidity.
Me sitting at the top of the steep stairs that leads to the temple. Tough stuff in the monsoon season humidity.

 

Our small 800cc Suzuki Taxi was enough to cause a traffic jam near our house in Chuchepati!
Our small 800cc Suzuki Taxi was enough to cause a traffic jam near our house in Chuchepati!

 

I tried to visit as many projects as I could while I was there. Here, two volunteers are teaching English to a group of small children.
I tried to visit as many projects as I could while I was there. Here, two volunteers are teaching English to a group of small children.

 

A fantastic project, Women Empowerment seeks to help women gain confidence and self-belief.
A fantastic project, Women Empowerment seeks to help women gain confidence and self-belief.

 

Patan was one of my favourite places in Kathmandu.  This is a photo of some friends and I,  in front of Durbar Square.
Patan was one of my favourite places in Kathmandu. This is a photo of some friends and I, in front of Durbar Square.

 

This is a Tibetan healing bowl, and was handmade by this man. It works by sending vibrations through the body.
This is a Tibetan healing bowl, and was handmade by this man. It works by sending vibrations through the body.

 

Schoolgirls take a break on one of the many temples in Durbar Square.
Schoolgirls take a break on one of the many temples in Durbar Square.

 

Durbar Square.
Durbar Square.

 

A man selling spices.
A man selling spices.

 

Sights like this are common in Nepal. In there’s a will there’s a way!
Sights like this are common in Nepal. In there’s a will there’s a way!

 

In the afternoons, we volunteered at various orphanages. I was really surprised by how focused the kids were and looked forward to going back each day!
In the afternoons, we volunteered at various orphanages. I was really surprised by how focused the kids were and looked forward to going back each day!

 

We sat while the children sang for the adults.
We sat while the children sang for the adults.

 

We sat while the children sang for the adults.
We sat while the children sang for the adults.

 

Seeing Mount Everest had been on my bucket list for years…scratch!
Seeing Mount Everest had been on my bucket list for years…scratch!

 

I was invited to photograph a party at the local Women’s Empowerment group. It was celebrating the Hindu festival of Teej. It was things like this that I would not have gotten to be part of if I wasn’t volunteering!
I was invited to photograph a party at the local Women’s Empowerment group. It was celebrating the Hindu festival of Teej. It was things like this that I would not have gotten to be part of if I wasn’t volunteering!

 

A little girl celebrating Teej.
A little girl celebrating Teej.

 

Teej Festival
Teej Festival

 

Teej Festival
Teej Festival

 

Teej Festival
Teej Festival

 

A local holy man near the Hindu temple of Pashupati.
A local holy man near the Hindu temple of Pashupati.

 

The Boudha Stupa was only 5 mins from our house. Here, two Monks walk clockwise around the temple.
The Boudha Stupa was only 5 mins from our house. Here, two Monks walk clockwise around the temple.

 

In monsoon season, when it rains – it pours!
In monsoon season, when it rains – it pours!

 

All aboard! Free time at the weekend led us to getting the plane to Pokhara for some outdoor fun!
All aboard! Free time at the weekend led us to getting the plane to Pokhara for some outdoor fun!

 

Never in a million years did I think I’d be running off mountains in Nepal!
Never in a million years did I think I’d be running off mountains in Nepal!

 

While in Pokhara, we took a trip to a Tibetan refugee camp. A beautiful place.
While in Pokhara, we took a trip to a Tibetan refugee camp. A beautiful place.

 

Hanging over the edge of the White River, which flows straight from the Himalayas.
Hanging over the edge of the White River, which flows straight from the Himalayas.

 

Possibly the most random day of my life, we were asked to be actors in a national advertising campaign for third level education!
Possibly the most random day of my life, we were asked to be actors in a national advertising campaign for third level education!

 

A couple of students coming by to check on our work.
A couple of students coming by to check on our work.

 

On my last day, saying goodbye to the students of the Government School!
On my last day, saying goodbye to the students of the Government School!

 

As if by divine intervention, on my last morning we could see the Himalayas towering over the Kathmandu Valley – the first time in 3 months. A sight that only seeing with your eyes can do justice! What an amazing time!!!!
As if by divine intervention, on my last morning we could see the Himalayas towering over the Kathmandu Valley – the first time in 3 months. A sight that only seeing with your eyes can do justice! What an amazing time!!!!

 

If you’re interested in one of our Nepal Volunteer projects, call or email James on 01 6021680/volunteer@usit.ie

**All photos by Simon Walsh – http://simon-walsh-blog.tumblr.com/**