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Romi Buhner

Romi Buhner

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When I arrived in Kathmandu at the crowded airport, Bhupi welcomed me with a big hug and a happy smile. He is a workaholic, admirable in the way he cares about everybody and he is always full of hope. Without him, there would be no VIN. He is the reason why I felt safe and not that strange in this foreign world of Kathmandu.

My stay in Nepal started with a busy week of Nepali language classes and preparation for my volunteer work in a buddhist monastery, including discussions about tradition and culture. At the same time, I was full of new impressions of this country, which is completely different to every place I have been before.

At the monastery, the first thing the caretaker said to us, me and my friend Marie, was that we were a big family and we should make ourselves at home. That’s what we did. That monastery is one of the most peaceful and quiet places I have ever been. It\’s full of friendly and charming monks who are keen to learn English and very thankful to have the opportunity to do so.

The two of us were the first overseas English teachers there, so it took our students some time to get used to our way of teaching. Not being able to translate what we taught and to explain exercises was quite hard sometimes, but on the other hand it gave us the opportunity to create new ways of teaching, just like drawing or pantomime, which was a lot of fun.

Apart from a few problems concerning communication and organization, everything went perfectly fine and my impression is that their English has improved during the two months I taught them.   While I was living there, I learned a lot about Buddhism and being a monk, not only by joining their prayers and reading some of the books from their library, but also, and even more, by observing and taking part in their everyday lives. Our exciting and adventurous eight-days-trip to Okaldhunga, where we visited Bhupi’s family in his village with nine members of VIN, should also be mentioned. This points out the relationship between the staff of VIN, which is friendship and not only getting together for working purposes.

For the last two weeks of my stay I moved to the beautiful village Jitpur, the main working site of VIN, where I stayed at Kabita’s (one of the local volunteers) house and supported a garbage project. The convincing of the people to clean the village and to keep it clean resulted very complicated and will take a long time, but nevertheless we could give some information and find at least some people to start the collection of the garbage. All in all, the time I spent in Nepal has been one of the most intense experiences of my life. I would recommend VIN as a real non-profit organisation, because everybody in this organization works very hard to achieve the goal of an educated and developed Nepal. Especially because it is still a very small organisation, it needs a lot of support.

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