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Libby has an Adventure in Nepal

Libby Tiernan represented the County at Girlguiding North West England's International Adventure to Nepal with partner 'Classroom in the Clouds'.

Here's an extract from Libby's Blog:

"We spent the first day of our trip in Kathmandu, the capital city, and it was jam-packed with different sights. The culture shock was evident immediately, from the exposed electrical cables dangling centimetres above the heads of pedestrians to the popularity of chicken sausages. Kathmandu is a busy urban city, and its streets are barely wide enough to cope with an influx of migrants from different parts of the country and the recent vehicle developments that have happened in the last thirty years. Most of the roads have no markings or regulation, so driving and crossing the roads is as much of a gamble as crossing the motorway on foot.

The first stop on our sightseeing tour was the Temple of Shiva, the destroyer of evil. We weren’t allowed inside the temple because none of us are Hindu, but the outside was just as fascinating. Along the bank of the river were stone platforms to form the base of a funeral pyre, the process in which the bodies are wrapped in cloth, immersed in the river and then burnt atop a pyre. There were several funeral ceremonies taking place while we were visiting, and I found this the most unsettling sight of the trip due to the fact that it’s so different to the funeral customs we have here.

We then had an internal flight to Lukla to work with Classrooms in the Clouds. We stayed in a cosy wooden cabin that reminded us of a Brownie pack holiday hut, and it was much more basic than the hotels we had stayed in in Kathmandu. It was also home to a very small, very fluffy dog who quickly became best friends with all of us.

We visited the Himalayan English Boarding School for children who go to school in Lukla but whose parents do not live locally. The school was founded by Dawa, our contact from Classroom in the Clouds and the man who made sure our whole trip went without a hitch, in order to provide basic education for children under the age of 5 (the starting age for the school in Lukla). After this, we visited the Buddhist monastery, where we learnt the significance of the prayer flags which are strung up almost everywhere we had visited in Kathmandu and Lukla. The blue flags signify the sky, the white is for the air, red is for the sun or fire, green is for nature, and yellow represents the earth.

We were then to lead sessions at Shree Mahendra Jyoti Secondary School about menstruation. The first session consisted of explaining exactly what menstruation is and what causes it, and we demonstrated this by making a bracelet with different coloured Hama beads corresponding with the different stages of the menstrual cycle. The second session after lunch was when we handed out the menstrual kits, and the teachers explained in Nepali how the re-usable menstrual pads should be used and cleaned. Then the teachers ran a session on identifying the boundaries women in Nepal face, such as the lack of proper washing facilities or a bin in the bathroom for sanitary product disposal. Throughout the day, we interspersed the serious talk with some of our Girlguiding songs and games, such as Singing in the Rain, and Spot and Copy. In return, the girls taught us some of their own songs and games, but we were slower to learn their songs than they were ours.

For our final two days in Lukla, we trekked on the mountain trail that led up to the base of Everest. It was originally intended that we would trek as far as we could the first day, spend the night at a guest house in a different village, and trek back the next day. However, the weather conditions didn’t permit this, so instead we walked one way and back the first day, and then the other way and back the next day. The destination of our first trek was to a suspended bridge over Dudh Kosi, the Milk River, and as the bridge swung and shook with every step, we thought it would be a great idea to do the Macarena on it.

When we left the country that night, I felt privileged to have been given the opportunity to visit. We had seen so many sights, participated in so much, and met so many interesting and lovely people that we wouldn’t find anywhere else in the world. With period poverty being such a topical issue in the UK, I was happy that we were able to share our knowledge and resources and to have taken part in the push to end the problem. I truly believe that Girlguiding has left behind an educational legacy that will be passed down for generations to come."

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