CAS Week 2018

Renaissance College

Category: KATHMANDU BLOG 2018

Last Day: Home again with new perspectives.

Date: 18/11/18
“I don’t want to leave the van! Please tell me the Cathay Dragon plane failed to take off from Hong Kong”. That was me yesterday at the immigration, lamenting about how I wanted to stay longer in Nepal. Now I am 31,000 feet in the air watching ‘Hotel Transylvania 3’ with one eye, and coping with the nuisance of crying Nepalese kids that sat three rows in front of me.

Time flew past quickly on the plane, and soon I woke up from my string of nightmares as result of the big thud from the airplane wheels which contacted the tarmac. As usual, we got off the plane and grabbed our luggages, then headed to the Arrival hall. Our parents waited to pick us up (my parents were nowhere to be found), and as expected the parents asked for a group photo before we dispersed. I was about to head to the A41P bus stop when one friendly parent, who knew my mom and I, offered me a car ride back home.

There is not much to say today as we were all heading back from the short 9 day trip to Nepal, all tired and weary. Instead, I want to congratulate everyone for making this trip such an entertaining and meaningful experience for me. I would surely remember this trip, and all the discoveries and perspectives that have made me more open minded about cultural differences. The three most memorable things for me about this trip were the jokes we exchanged on the van, teaching Arts and Crafts and maps to the energetic kids at Deeya Shree School, and the animal sightseeing at Chitwan National Park.

Although the jokes we exchanged on the van were not all appropriate, both teachers and students laughed hard and collectively made the van ride more pleasant. Teaching the Nepalese kids were fun as many were very willing to learn, and demonstrated a high degree of creativity when folding paper boats during Arts and Crafts. The kids incorporated paper-made poles, flags, and surrounding waves with the paper boats, even though we did not give directions for them to do that. We also had time in one of our lessons to do this activity where the kids would draw how they feel Nepal would look like 100 years from now. This was a really interesting activity as their perspective of the future is so different from how HongKonger’s perceive the future – In which we envision flying cars, monorails, more skyscrapers. Their vision of the future would be more buildings, roads and cars – Not much difference from modern day Nepal. Lastly, the safari at Chitwan National Park was simply breathtaking. We were really fortunate to witness critically endangered birds, gharials, and one horned rhinoceroses whilst we sat atop asiatic elephants.

Overall, I had a really enjoyable CAS trip to Nepal, and want to thank everyone who had been a part of it.

Credits: Henry

Day 6: Into the wild.

Day 6: 15/11/2018
Today we did canoeing, elephant riding and we also went to the elephant breeding and training centre.

The day started off with a delicious breakfast at Chitwan Maruni Hotel, then we all went to a river canoeing activity. There were two canoes and there were around 7 people in each one. From what the guide told us, we should be able to see crocodiles in this activity. I immediately had a sense of excitement to see the ‘deadly crocodiles’ close up. The canoe glided slowly on the calm river, and everything was quiet. The sounds of the rustling leaves, birds chirping and the flow of the water were really relaxing. The canoe took a few turns, then the canoeist pointed at a crocodile bathing under the sun!

The crocodile was different from what I expected. I thought crocodiles were large and huge, but the crocodile we saw was long and small. It took a long time to spot the second crocodile. The canoe ride was relaxing that it felt non-existent, like a dream. It was quite disappointing because we couldn’t see more crocodiles, but the activity was eye opening.

The next activity we did was elephant riding. We went elephant riding in the afternoon because it is easier to see more animals. There’s a maximum of four people on each elephant. When I first rode on the elephant, it felt bumpy. It was also exciting because for most of the people, it was their first time riding an elephant. When the elephant walked through the jungle, it felt peaceful.

Later the elephant driver pointed a herd of deers hiding in the bushes. They’re fur were spotted and they looked very cute since I have never seen deers in Hong Kong before. The elephant then walked to a grass land, and there were two one-horned rhinos. It was magnificent to see the rhinos.

Rhinos are endangered, and being able to witness these endangered species is a once in a lifetime experience. The rhinos never attacked the elephant and they were not harmful at all. The new policy in China where rhino horns and tiger skin can be sold legally is not understandable at all. I don’t understand why people need animal horns or skin to make money. After this elephant riding activity, I feel that endangered species should be protected and we should also appreciate nature and the environment. We saw jeeps for safari in the jungle after elephant riding. Since the animals we saw were not afraid of the elephants. If we rode the jeep safari, the jungle would be polluted and we won’t be able to see animals closely. Overall, this was one of the best experiences I have had in Nepal.

The next place we went was the elephant breeding and training centre. There were lots of elephants in both large and small sizes. It was interesting to learn more about the elephants there.

Being able to experience, witness and take part in these activities are enlightening and eye-opening. They are honestly way different than watching videos on National Geographic or Animal Planet. I can’t wait for the activities planned for tomorrow!

Credits: Eunice

Day 5: Moving to the country.

Sounds of Kathmandu street hawkers awoke the sleeping city. Ah, another busy day. I opened the window curtains, the sun hasn’t fully risen, faint gleams of sunlight lit up the gloomy room. It showed 4:30 on the clock, pretty early in the morning.

Today, our group will be leaving Kathmandu, heading to Chitwan national park. It had been half way since the beginning of the trip, yet everyday had been a fascinating experience.

The bus left at 6:30 in the early morning. Everyone was dead tired, we all slept on the bus. The ride to Chitwan National Park was approximately 4 hours, so we decided to take a break half way through to enjoy breakfast and breeze in some natural fresh air.

Accompanied by delicious Chinese fried chicken purchased yesterday night, time flied and we arrived to the Chitwan National Park Maruni Sanctory Lodge at noon. We enjoyed the buffet lunch offered by the hotel, subsequently along with our guide we went on a jungle sightseeing walk.

Endless fields of green appeared before us, despite the fact that it’s almost winter, the trees were still green and lush. Sunlight streamed through the gaps between the leaves, illuminating the forest path. Along the way, we were introduced to different species of trees and plants.

The air was dry and smoky along with a scent of wood. This is because villagers burn dry grass in order for fresh new grass to grow for animals to eat.

We were also educated about how most animals are colour blind, and are only sensitive to red and white colours, hence red and white would not be suitable colours for a jungle visit. (However I wore red pants and I survived.) Additionally, animals are sensitive towards sounds and vibrations, so bringing a stick or any type of tool that can be used to make sounds would benefit your safety.

In a distance, I could faintly see few elephants. Along the way, we noticed many unnatural destructions made in the jungle. Soon we found out from villagers a male asiatic elephant was on its “testosterone trip”. Every six months, a male elephant would experience high levels of testosterone, leading to a strong desire to mate, to the point where they would be willing to destroy the environment to find a female to mate with.

Elephants were restricted in electric gates, however they are still allowed five hours of freedom around the jungle each day. They are dependent on food given by humans and therefore want to be permanently looked after. Moreover, they only accept food from their own caretaker as they don’t trust other people, hence, in comparison to other animals, elephants are very loyal and easy to be trained.

Fun fact: there are 48000 muscles in the elephant trunk alone. Asiatic elephant have 1 finger in the trunk, while African elephants have two fingers. If their finger gets destroyed, they slowly die as they are not able to eat food nor drink water.

On the bus, we watched the sun slowly set in the smoke filled sky. Before dinner, we were able to watch a Nepalese cultural dance performance offered by the hotel, and finished our day with an appetising and enjoyable buffet dinner.

Credits: Christina.

Day 4: Warm smiles and enthusiastic faces.

Day 4 (13/11/18)

Time flies. We have already been in Khatmandu for four days, and so far, it has been a very eye-opening experience. Day four of the trip was service-based as we invested most of the day at Deeya Shree English Boarding School (DSEBS) to share our knowledge with some of Nepal’s less-fortunate children.

We headed directly to DSEBS this morning and were greeted subsequently by the warm smiles of the teaching staff and the enthusiastic faces of the students. The school itself was modest, but the enthusiasm of the students and their keenness to learn turned the school into a lively place for learning.

Like the previous two days, we separated into five groups and taught our chosen topics to the six different classes. I, along with Chris and Terence, fostered the interest of students in mathematics through fun and interactions. Their textbooks and notebooks were in bad conditions as most of them come from humble family backgrounds, yet their passion to learn was no different from ours. This made me realise how fortunate I am to be born into a city where education is often taken for granted.

After several hours of sharing our knowledge, we participated in sports activities with the children. Football, basketball and badminton were some of the sports we played. The equipment was either second-hand or overly used, and this contrasts with our habit of owning and disposing things easily.

Finally, we bid farewell to DSEBS after spending three days with its students.

The last activity of the day was a visit to the renowned Boudhanath Stupa. The spectacular structure was constructed sometime after AD600 when then Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo converted to Buddhism. It shows that Nepal is a very religious country.

After an early dinner, we headed back to the Katmandu Guest House to pack and rest for our trip to Chitwan tomorrow.

Credits: Adrian

Day 3: A special birthday.

November 12, 2018

Today, some Nepalese women learned how to use Google. Some others learnt how to do arts and crafts, while others improved their public speaking skills. Similarly, some Nepalese children expanded their English vocabulary, while some others learnt math. These were some of the things that the Nepal CAS troop did to help the local community in Kathmandu today.

We started off our day with a nice buffet breakfast, with tasty potatoes and great Chinese chow mein. We then set off on our journey to the Seven Women Centre, where we spent time branding and promoting the Seven Women Centre, teaching them skills such as public speaking, arts and crafts, photography and technology. Some of us also helped out the women at the Centre to cook ourselves Nepalese noodles for lunch. We also celebrated the birthday of our fellow trooper, Chi Ching, with a huge chocolate cake.

Afterwards, we returned to Deeya Shree English Boarding School, where each group taught their specialities and strengths to three different classes. Some of us taught Math and English, while others taught subjects like Science, Creative Writing, and Public Speaking. My group also spent some time playing Hangman with Class 5!

After school ended at 4pm, we left straight to the ancient Newa city of Bhaktapur. In Bhaktapur, we enjoyed walking around and picking up souvenirs in shops around Durbar Square.

We also ate dinner there, on the roof of a building. As usual, most of us ordered Momo, which are traditional Nepalese dumplings. We also ate different types of cuisine, like Indian chicken butter masala and French fries.

Our fun day of traveling and service ended after dinner, where we got on the bus back to the hotel (we’re still halfway through our return trip right now). Even though Kieron said “Although no one can say any day was the best day” in his previous blog post, I would like to say that today has been the best day so far on this trip. I look forward to playing basketball and football with the schoolkids tomorrow.

Credits: Christopher

Day 2: Being a teacher and cooking your own food.

11/11/18

Today we went to the school to teach kids for the first time this trip. It was kind of early in the morning and we were all tired from a mediocre night’s sleep, and the long bus ride did nothing but add onto our lethargy.

As soon as we got to the school however, we were immediately thrown into the overwhelming task of teaching students. The kids were very energetic, and quite bright and eager to learn. It was difficult to manage at first, but slowly, we managed to fall into routine.

After an alright lunch of stale cheese sandwiches, a little bit of fruit and fried chicken, we set off toward the Seven Women center.

As soon as we got there, we were met by them all standing outside in the gate in a line. We exchanged hellos, or namastes, and then we proceeded to undergo a ceremony in which we all got red spots painted onto our foreheads, and yellow flower petals sprinkled onto our heads.

The place itself was very nice – we got a brief tour before the classes began. The primary aim of the center was to help any women in need of aid to get a job. This was done by providing them training in order to develop skills they would need in order to get a job, such as cooking, sewing or other services. Afterwards, the organisation would provide them with a job in order to earn money, which would be used to get a scholarship for their education so they can go to college, which I thought was very inspiring.

They provided us with a cooking lesson and a Nepali lesson. During the cooking lessons, we were assigned different tasks ranging from peeling potatoes to making soup. With the help of the women, we managed to help curate a dinner consisting of rice pudding, vegetable curry, tomato pickle, lentil soup and masala tea.

Dinner was finished at 4 pm, which was followed by a basic language lesson conducted in a pretty little room above the kitchen. We were taught basic words like welcome (swagatam), please (kripaya) and good (ramro), as well as vocabulary and sentences within categories like introduction, food & drink and numbers. I also learnt that yes is ho in Nepali, which means that technically my name is Carmen yes, which is fun.

The lesson went on for quite a while, and afterwards we bid the women farewell and headed back to our hotel just in time to watch the sunrise from the roof. That night, we raided the supermarket and played cards in our rooms and fell asleep exhausted, but content.

Credits: Carmen

Day 3 – first day in the classroom

year 12 students from #rchkdp are now in Nepal to help and teach students in a little school in #Kathmandu. #rchkcasweek18

Day 2 – learning to cook Nepali

All the ingredients are lined up and #rchkdp year 12 students are ready for Nepali cooking lesson at the @SevenWomenNGO in Kathmandu during
@RCHKschool #rchkcasweek18

Day 3 – birthday blessings!

One of our #rchkdp year 12 students
@RCHKschool had a very special birthday today at the @SevenWomenNGO in Kathmandu and got blessed in traditional Nepali way during #rchkcasweek18 #celebrations

Day 1: Temples, monkeys and history!

Saturday Nov, 10.


Temples, monkeys and history. If you were to ask any of us who went to Kathmandu about what they experienced on the 10th November, this is what you will get.

Walking through Kathmandu to Durbar Square, you could really see the daily lives of the local Nepalese. Butchers selling meat, people praying to holy figures and buildings being built. You could also see how this city is recovering from the Earthquake in 2015 and the scars it has left on the city. There are still rubble and bricks on the floor waiting to be put back.

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Teaching experience before the trip.

We’ve been getting teaching experience with RCHK primary students prior to our trip! It’s not as easy as it looks…

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