Around the ACCF office, a large portion of us have been to Nepal. Our office is decorated out with pictures of our work in country and prayer flags from Kathmandu, the Annapurna trail and Nepal’s neighbour Bhutan.
As registrations for our next Adventure Challenge trip to Nepal open up, we’ve put together some of the top reasons why you’ll fall in love with Nepal, especially if you explore the country with ACCF.
- Dhal Bhat 24 hour Power
After a 5 day trek around the Annapurna circuit I found myself sitting in Pokhara airport for 3 hours waiting for a delayed flight back to Kathmandu. The veritable highs we’d all experienced trekking to the top of Poon Hill and gazing at the beautiful Annapurna ranges was quickly dissipating when a man walked past me wearing a shirt with the words “Dhal Bhat 24 hour Power” blazoned across it. A smile instantly washed over my face as I recalled the many filling and delicious dishes of Dhal Bhat Takari, Nepal’s national dish, I’d had in my past 10 days in Nepal. Lentils, Rice, Curry and a Poppadom may sound simple but it’s this rich simplicity that makes Nepali food so scrumptious. You’ll probably also fall in love with Momos and Yak cheese while in Nepal and you’ll have plenty of chances to fill up on trek or in town.
When was the last time you walked down your street and had more than one person say hello to you? When I came back from Nepal, I decided to say hello to people on my street as I walked by and responses were generally to ignore me, or look at me strangely. In Nepal, whether you’re walking through the crowded streets of Thamel in Kathmandu or trekking the worn trails in between teahouses you’ll always be greeted with a ‘Namaste’. The genuine warmth and friendliness from people in Nepal will leave you feeling fuller than a giant plate of Dhal Bhat.
- Literally breath-taking
While I sat in Pokhara airport fading away, my colleague Julie had found that on the roof of the Pokhara airport, you were offered a view of the Annapurna’s that can only be beaten by taking on a trek itself. And it’s not just airports where you can find these views; make the climb up to the top of Swayambhunath in Kathmandu and you’ll be offered a sweeping view of the sprawling city. Or take in the best view as you fly internally in Nepal you’re likely to see Everest itself.
- Vibrant Colours
One of the most memorable parts of Nepal is literally just walking down the street. Colour in Nepal is everywhere, and I’m not just talking about the rainbow of prayer flags strung everywhere. Women’s Saris, the overflowing bags of spices on the sidewalk, the chilli’s drying in the sun, the Buddhist paintings, the red ash on the Hindu shrines; everything just seems to shine brighter in Nepal.
While in Nepal with ACCF, Adventure Challenge groups always spend time at the Banepa Women’s Clinic, about 1.5hours out of Kathmandu. It’s there that ACCF’s operations in Nepal find their home and the clinic acts as a base for vaccinators and nurses to head out into regions and undertake cervical screening. It’s a humbling experience as you are welcomed by the staff and shown around the modest clinic. Sipping tea with Dr Surendra, the clinic director and head of the Nepal Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation, he explains in his soft voice about the screenings in the region. Many women walk for hours to attend the mobile screening camps where they not only receive cervical screening but are taught about cancer and self-breast examinations. I was shocked to learn about the prevalence of prolapsed uteruses as women have their first ever pelvic examination at an ACCF funded screening. The strength of the Nepali people, especially the women who are the backbone of the family, is made even more evident after the 2015 earthquake.
As life in Nepal gets back to normal after the earthquakes, cervical screening services are set to resume in regions all over Nepal. During our upcoming Heart for Health Nepal Challenge, you’ll work with locals to repair a piece of damaged infrastructure in the Tamang region helping to restore these vital services to the women of Nepal.
We know you’ll fall in love with Nepal, just as we have here in the ACCF office.
Download the trip notes and register to join our Heart For Health Nepal Challenge in March 2017.