As Toni Morrison once said, “At some point in life the world’s beauty becomes enough. You don’t need to photograph, paint, or even remember it. It is enough”. For three weeks, the beauty of Nepal certainly was enough for the students and staff who were fortunate enough to go on this Service Learning tour. Digital screens were replaced by scenes of beauty that took our breath away; social media was replaced by social interactions and connections with the local Nepalese people, and with each other. Our busy lives receded, and the urban noises eventually died away, leaving space for peace, serenity and wonder. Life became very simple as life in Nepal is very simple. This enabled us all to reflect and appreciate just how rich our own lives are, with all the community and opportunity that awaited us on our return.
During our tour we were fortunate to engage in two different communities. The first was the village of Jubing, located in the Solukhumbu District, where we worked on landscaping the surrounding area of a medical centre, as well as visit the local school and learn about the lives of Nepalese students. The second was the SOS School in Kathmandu, where we connected with the local school students, coming together in a competitive game of football. We also participated in the ’10 Pieces Litter Collection’ initiative, collecting rubbish along the trails as we trekked, contributing to a cleaner Nepal.
In three weeks, we made a difference: to the Nepalese community, to each other and to ourselves. There is something magical about this extraordinary country, and something tells me it will stay with us forever. Here’s what some of the boys and teachers had to say about their experiences in Nepal:
‘It was a truly humbling experience to go on the Nepal trip and see how different our lifestyles are, yet see common passions such as football are shared’. Sam Bencsik (12/PR)
‘My largest reflection on my time in Nepal was how privileged we are. Not just Newington students, but Australians as a whole. I realised that we are very fortunate to have so many things we take for granted’. Jessie Goh (12/KL)
‘Mine would definitely be that clear day we first saw Everest. The day after we’d arrived in Namche in the snow. Waking up to pull back the tent and see the mountains bathed in sunshine was pretty awesome.’ Mr Justin Verco
‘My favourite moment during the tour was watching Alistair give a man from Jubing his work gloves. He was so happy to receive something that we took for granted, and it was a very humbling experience.’ Bailey Kang (12/ME)
‘My favourite moment of the trip was playing soccer with the boys from the local school at Jubing’. Dylan Howard (11/KL)
‘I found the views of the mountain vistas and the starry night to be the most breath-taking and most memorable part of my trip. Nothing will ever make me forget walking out of my tent in the morning to see the sun shining over a snowy mountain peak, or at night when the mountainside village huts turned on their bright lights and the stars filled the sky and they blended so much that you couldn’t tell where the land ended and the horizon began’. John Entwisle (12/KL)
You learn a lot about not just the culture of Nepal but yourself as well. Lachlan Sheehy (12/JN)
‘Seeing Mount Everest for the first time was unreal. At first I couldn’t believe it and then looking at the surrounding mountains it became real. Also, visiting the school and talking to all the students about their culture and exchanging our facts about Australia’. Finn Hawkins (11/LE)
‘Snowball fights at Namche was really fun.’ Oscar Hogg (11/JN)
‘My favourite memory of the Nepal was the walk up to the summit we reached. It was a sunny day, there was little to no wind, there had been large snowfall the previous day and night. On the way up we walked through the most amazing trail. The little shrubs that lined the trail were all covered in snow and the snowy trails were untouched by anyone else. We got to a point around one of the guest houses and there was Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world just sitting there behind Nuptse and Lhotse. The air was so fresh’. Jordan Stojcevski (12/PR)
‘Meeting the sherpas and getting to know their backgrounds and stories was extremely interesting’. Tom Marchese (12/LE)
Head of Learning Enhancement