Katherine Jenkins's blog
After more than 24 hours of flying, I returned to Guelph on Sunday around 6 p.m. While I'm happy to be back home, sleeping in my own bed and eating familiar food again, I feel like time passed almost too quickly. I've spent some time the last two days reflecting on my experience and thinking about how to talk about my time in Nepal when I do my presentation. L4C alumni: Any tips on creating L4C presentations?
Jet lag has not been nearly as bad as when I arrived in Nepal and I've been making it through my work days pretty well. That being said, I just got home from work and I feel my eyes getting heavy, so I'm going to publish this blog post and have a snooze.
I feel like I blinked and now I'm at the end of my Leave for Change mandate. I had a wonderful last day filled with many memorable moments with the HICAST team, including a wonderful farewell lunch. I will continue working with them after returning to Canada, but it's still difficult to leave. I hope they feel my contribution has been worthwhile. I feel so indebted to HICAST and CECI for making this exprerience so wonderful.
*This is a joint blog post by Veronica Ward and Kate Jenkins
Our experience over the past two weeks in Kathmandu has been quite the adventure. After three earthquakes, two demonstrations and other day-to-day challenges, we decided to explore Nepal’s second-largest city, Pokhara (highly recommended).
Our taxi arrived on Saturday at 7 a.m. at CECI House for a domestic flight to the picturesque lakeside city, only to find out that Pokhara’s airport was closed and our flight was delayed. It was only after takeoff that we were told that Nepal’s vice-president was on board with us. This explained the delay.
When we arrived, we travelled to our hotel, wandered around the main street, enjoyed a delicious lunch and walked down to Phewa Lake. In the evening, we stumbled upon a quaint lakeside restaurant where we enjoyed a lively cultural performance while enjoying our dinner.
On Sunday, our taxi arrived at 4:20 a.m. to take us to Sarangkot, which is a hill that offers one of the best views of the Annapurna Himalayan mountain peaks, especially at sunrise and sunset. Although it was a bit overcast, we were still able to get some beautiful photos of Pokhara.
Sadly, my (Kate) plan to take an ultralight flight around the Himalayas was foiled by rain, but we enjoyed a beautiful flight back to Kathmandu that offered a nice view of the mountain peaks.
While this was a well-deserved break, we’re both well aware of the amount of work ahead of us this week as we wrap up our time in Nepal before coming home. Check out photos of Pokhara on Our Nepal Love (Veronica) and Kate-in-Kathmandu.
My intention to write more blog posts this week failed, so here’s a quick summary of week two. It was extremely busy, but good busy. I’m very lucky to be working with such a great organization and counterpart – Bimal. He’s very knowledgeable in communications and a great person to be collaborating with throughout my mandate.
This week’s highlights include:
Visiting HICAST’s campus in Kalanki: Kalanki is one of the busiest areas in Kathmandu because it’s an exit and entry point from/to Kathmandu valley. While there, Bimal and I administered a student survey and took some photos for the brochure I’m developing on the college. The students are very enthusiastic and it was a wonderful experience to spend a morning there.
Welcome lunch: Today (Friday) I was surprised with a welcome lunch at HICAST’s administrative office. It was the best food I’ve had in Nepal so far. We dined on chicken curry, rice (I love rice!), organic veggies and fried potatoes. Needless to say, I had soup for dinner.
Visiting HICAST’s experimental farm: I’ve never felt more at home in Kathmandu than I did visiting the experimental farm on Friday. I got to see some goats and chicks. They were all incredibly adorable. I even got to hold a kid (aka baby goat) and it was so cuddly. I think I have closer to 30 goat photos from today. I’ve included one (left) of me holding the goat alongside some of my HICAST colleagues, including chairperson Binayak P Rajbhandari.
Another earthquake: This was also a surprise, mainly because I slept through it. My colleagues asked if I felt the earthquake and I was completely stunned to hear that one had occurred. Maybe it’s a sign I’ve adjusted to life in Nepal.
I heard before leaving for Nepal that the people here are incredible generous, and I couldn’t agree more. Next Saturday will be bittersweet.
Remember to check out my Tumblr for more photos and updates on my time in Nepal.
I’ve been meaning to write a new blog post all week, but the days got away from me. I arrived safely in Kathmandu last Sunday evening and have spent the past week adjusting to a new time zone, food and culture. The time zone part of it has been the most challenging for me. I’ve been here almost a week and I still can’t seem to get my clock right. Knowing myself, I will probably adjust right before we’re scheduled to head back to Canada. Anyone else taken this long to beat jet lag?
The past week has been filled with great moments, including meeting my partner organization (HICAST), exploring Kathmandu and getting to know some new friends. This week I had the chance to attend HICAST’s 15th anniversary and they invited me to attend a cultural program where their students performed traditional dances. I started working with HICAST a bit late because of a planned protest on Thursday, but my first day with them on Friday was productive and I learned more about what they need me to do while I’m here. I don’t think I’ll have a dull moment until I head to the airport in two weeks.
Today, Veronica and I went on a great city tour of Kathmandu and saw some temples and markets. Kathmandu feels like such a maze to me and the traffic is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. Tonight we took a tuk tuk to Thamel – KTM’s tourist district – to have pizza. Don’t get me wrong, the food here is great, I just needed something familiar for one meal. I am proud that we were able to navigate our way through KTM, and although we missed our original tuk tuk stop, we found our restaurant and spent some time wandering through Thamel afterwards. Now that I've had this experience I feel much more comfortable travelling through some parts of the city using transit.
I hope this provides a good update for anyone reading this and that it makes up for the week of silence. Remember to check out my Tumblr for more photos and updates.
Before I sign off, here’s some more info on the photos I’ve included above.
Left: A view of some of the striking temples in Lalitpur. The photo really doesn’t capture the fine details of these impressive structures.
Centre: HICAST students celebrating their heritage at the college’s 15th anniversary. Sorry the photo is blurry.
Right: UNESCO World Heritage Site Boudhanath Stupa. It is currently under construction to repair damage from the earthquakes last year. It's very impressive to see in real life.
In about two hours from now, Red Car will be picking me up to take me and Veronica to the airport. It’s difficult to describe how I feel right now. Part of me is scared and apprehensive, but I’m also excited to get to Kathmandu and start my mandate. I’m not going to lie - I really wish Scotty from Star Trek could just use his transporter to get me there. It’s a long journey to the other side of the world.