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Volunteer blog: Hudsons return to Kathmandu

Anne and Andrew Hudson enjoyed the hospitality of Kathmandu Soroptimists.

Anne presenting an East Sussex trug and Pestalozzi Newsletters to Soroptimists.

Visiting Pestalozzi alumna Susmita and her family.

Andrew at Bloom Nepal School, founded by Pestalozzi alumnus Ram Rijal.

Enjoying a night out in Kathmandu.

The Hudsons were delighted to catch up with Pestalozzi alumni in Nepal.

14 July 2014

Host parents Anne and Andrew Hudson have supported several Nepali students from Pestalozzi over the past eight years. The Hudsons had such a good time during last year's trip to Kathmandu, they returned again in April 2014. Here's an extract from their diary.

Following a very enjoyable trip last year, we decided to visit Kathmandu again. We wanted to catch up with members of our Pestalozzi host families and also with Soroptimist International of Kathmandu, which has a friendship link with the Lewes Club (of which Anne and Pestalozzi CEO Sue Walton are founder members). Influenced by the availability of a house sitter, we decided to go one week earlier than last year. We assumed we'd avoid any pre-monsoon thunder storms... a false assumption!

Getting to Nepal

We obtained our visas in advance from the Nepalese Embassy in London and flew with Etihad. After leaving Heathrow and changing planes in Abu Dhabi, we arrived over Tribhuvan International Airport the next day on schedule. However, we were then "stacked" for about an hour and did not land until 5pm. As Anne had had a complete knee replacement in late November, we had requested disabled assistance. Everything went smoothly, though at one point Anne was pushed rapidly across the tarmac with Andrew struggling to keep up!

Meeting Kathmandu Soroptimists and Pestalozzi alumni

We stayed at the Yak and Yeti Hotel and spent the next three days being looked after by the Soroptimists. On Wednesday we went to Boudanath and the Buddhist Stupa, one of the largest in the world, on Thursday we visited Bhaktapur Durbar Square and on Friday Anne presented a Sussex Trug and Pestalozzi magazines to the Kathmandu Club from SI Lewes and District.

On Saturday morning, we were picked up by Pestalozzi alumna Susmita Ghimire (2011-2013) and her father, who drove us to their home in Lalitpur for a traditional Nepalese meal. After lunch they took us to see the Chobar Gorge and Taudaha Lake. At this point a violent thunderstorm started and we were forced to return, somewhat wet, to the hotel. It was unfortunate as we had hoped to see the smallholding near the lake where Susmita’s parents grow vegetables.

Bloom Nepal School

The next day, we were collected by Pestalozzi alumnus Ram Rijal (2006-2008) and taken to Bloom Nepal School. The new school year had just started with 60 pupils, compared with just 18 last year, and Ram has hired a second building. Unfortunately a thunderstorm erupted as we arrived, so plans for us to be entertained in the playground had to be abandoned. However, all the children managed to cram into one classroom where we told them a little about the UK and answered questions. When asked the question, "Have you met any English people before?" one little boy answered, "Yes, you last year".

We presented Ram with funds from the Lewes Soroptimists, which will support one girl whose parents could not afford school fees. We also continue our own support for Deepika, who we first met last year. We were pleased to learn that a number of the Soroptimists had made several visits to Bloom Nepal. It was still raining heavily when we left but our taxi managed to get us back through flooded streets to the hotel.

Pestalozzi alumni and families

We were not able to see Pestalozzi alumna Laxmi Rajak (2009-2011) on this trip as she was still sitting exams at Duke. However, her family was keen to renew contact and Laxmi’s sister Mohana managed to find time between her own grade 12 exams to bring her mother, aunt and uncle and take us to a lunch of momos at the Royal Saino restaurant in Durbar Marg. It was good to see them all again. Their journey had involved a long bus journey and a half-hour walk to meet us. This summer, Laxmi is researching the educational experience of lower caste students in Nepal and is doing field work in three different districts: Nawalparasi, Sindhupalchok and Lalitpur.

On our final evening we took Pestalozzi alumni Ram, Susmita, Prity, Chandra and Jyoti to the Lal Durbar Restaurant, where we enjoyed a traditional six course meal along with a floor show. It was a wonderful end to our trip.

Read more news items and blog posts about Pestalozzi's connections with Nepal.

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