During the Easter Holiday’s in April 2013 Cumbria Explorer Scouts made the trip of a lifetime visiting CAN projects, undertaking project work and trekking in the Himalaya.
The Scouts had spent more than 12 months preparing for the trip and organising fundraising events to finance the journey, which included packing shopping bags at Safeways, putting on gigs for local bands in Dalston Village Hall and holding a special Doug Scott lecture in Windermere.
On their trip the Scouts had to complete a number of tasks ranging from working on a CAN project to teaching Nepali children an English song!
Included in this post is a selection of photos from their time helping to build a new school building at Ghunsa and their visit to Bahrabise School for Deaf Children.
Thank you to Cumbria Explorer Scouts and all the CAN and CAT staff in Nepal who made this trip possible.
Tom Usher, one of the Scouts who visited, wrote the following report which featured in Cumbria County Scout Council Annual Review published at the end of 2013.
EXPLORER BELT – Himalayan Adventures
In January 2012, 10 excited Explorer Scouts were just meeting each other for the first time, unaware of the fact their next year and a half would be hectic with preparation, fundraising and organisation for their Explorer Belt: a unique opportunity in Scouting to visit a foreign country for 2 weeks; to embrace a foreign culture; make a difference in the local communities by taking part in various areas of project work, as well as completing several challenges along the way!
“Hello, can I speak to the manager?” became a common feature of phone calls over these next few months, with everyone pulling together to arrange everything from supermarket bag-packs, to cake sales and gigs. Even Doug Scott, the charity’s founder helped out with the challenge by doing a thought- provoking talk on his experiences of mountaineering. The prospect of having to raise nearly £2000 each seemed very daunting at first, but little by little, all these efforts pushed the team that bit closer to their March departure date!
The expedition itself started on Thursday 28th March 2013 when they left on an early morning flight to the hectic city of Kathmandu. After spending a couple of days exploring the city, learning more about the Nepalese culture, and even meeting some Nepalese Scouts, the team set off on a treacherous Jeep journey to the remote village of Ghunsa, in the Himalayas.
In Ghunsa, the group spent the next week working with Cumbrian charity Community Action Nepal, helping out with construction at the local school. The heat and difficult terrain made this all the more demanding, but meeting the amazing children who go to school there and seeing how little else they had, made the team want to do as much as they possibly could to help them out.
The following five days were spent trekking towards the small town of Bharabise, where the team visited a school for deaf children, another of Community Action Nepal’s many projects across the country. The Himalayan trekking was definitely a great experience for all, with the colourful Nepalese landscape, and welcoming locals making it all the better: despite the challenging heat and altitude!
One of the hardest parts of the trip for the whole team was seeing the levels of poverty that existed in so many places that they visited, especially the more remote villages on the trek, and none of them expected to be so affected by it. However, it was fantastic to have the chance to work with such an amazing charity, and see the great work that they do across Nepal trying to combat this poverty.
All in all, the trip was a great success being thoroughly enjoyed by everyone, and our thanks go to all involved, particularly Richard Hirst and Geoff Price, and all the staff at Community Action Nepal.