22-year-old Charlotte Curry from Langport, Somerset will be having a rather different Christmas dinner this year – swapping her sister’s thai curry for a traditional Nepalese meal while on her VSO ICS placement in the rural village of Lamjung. She’s working as part of a team helping target disadvantaged girls to get back into education.
I always spend Christmas at home with the family. We have a very chilled day together. This year we celebrated Christmas before I left with a turkey dinner – so I had Christmas in November this year.
It's a bit strange being away for Christmas as I normally spend it with my family. The weather is so warm out here that it’s hard to get into the festive spirit. I feel like it should be June and not December.
For my family, Christmas is a chance to get us all together. Oh and my sister's boxing day curry – it’s what dreams are made of! But I’m going to give them a call and fill them in on what I’m having!
Life on placement has been great so far. We are based in a very small community in Lamjung called Aarchalbot (it is so rural I can't even locate it on Google Maps!). The community are so friendly and treat us as family – we were even invited to a local wedding! But there are also a lot of challenges - a lot of the comforts we’re used to don’t exist, so with no running water I have to take a bath at the public tap.
Our project is based on inclusive education and we are targeting disadvantaged girls to increase enrollment and improve the quality of education, as well as running events on career development and menstrual hygiene with the local sisters.
I have found communicating with the community very hard as my Nepali is very basic, but luckily my Nepali counterpart is an excellent translator.
My host family are lovely. Our host mum is very gentle and the best cook! There are always hundreds of children around the house too. They’re really teaching me how to dance, Nepali style!
I have learnt so much about the culture here. In Nepal people share everything, especially food, which is a lovely quality. This year I bought my host family some English breakfast tea bags so I’m hoping to return the favour by educating them on the British love of tea.