Today was the third full day in Dhungentar. Outside it has been sunny and warm so far, the views are amazing and people extremely friendly. We are staying at the Multipurpose Community Hall, which was built just a few months ago by an NGO, and it has been perfect for our stay and hopefully it will be useful for the community in the future as well.
We arrived in Dhungentar, Nuwakot District, on Wednesday afternoon after a long drive from Kathmandu across beautiful serpentine roads and mountain scenery. Already the travel here was an experience in itself, and after our arrival to the village I have been constantly surprised by new things, encounters and learnings. Every day I feel there is something more I learn about the village and the people living here, but also about myself and teamwork.
I’m extremely happy about how I’ve gotten to know the other team members better, especially Richa, Sumit, Yug, Gyalbu and Prithivi who are studying in AITM, Kathmandu, and with whom I wasn’t able to familiarize as much as with the Aalto student team before the field trip. I feel our team works very well together and we have already become more friends than just team members.
The most interesting part of our visit to Dhungentar so far has been the encounters with the locals. We have conducted interviews and had informal talks, which have given a lot of insights and perspective regarding our project topic. For me personally, it has been an immensely valuable learning to explore the way of life and worldviews of the people in Dhungentar and compare those to my own life.
Though there are many differences when comparing the life in Dhungentar, or even in Kathmandu, to my life in Espoo (Finland), it is important to remember that there are things that are shared among people universally. Unfortunately, I’m not able to communicate directly to most of the locals due to my lack of knowledge in Nepali, but I’ve learned that there are ways through which it is possible to connect even without a common language, like music, dancing and laughter.
This trip has already given me a lot, new points of view and unforgettable memories. We will now continue with our interviews, gathering focus groups and preparing a photo exhibition. I’m sure my learnings and feelings of amazement and gratitude towards the reception we have gotten by the community will only grow stronger, and I hope we’ll be able to contribute positively to the community, as well.