Here in the first Video for the Volunteer society I interview Virginia Melodia a 19year old who bravely came to Nepal by herself to teach child monks. Here you will see and learn about her experiences. She also reflects on volunteering in general and offers up advice for those thinking of following her lead.
What a lot of people don’t know about me is I love color and design. So upon coming to Nepal I was struck by the beauty of the handicrafts and the intricate designs.
So being my mums birthday and all, the fact she thinks I have great taste . I went out to shop to give her a birthday she wouldn’t forget.
First I found pashminas in her favorite colours greens and blues, then I found some pieces that matched with deep rich translucent greens and blues. What you have to realise these pieces if you bargain hard are so cheap compared to the west and have such character.
But it didn’t stop there, I kept find more pieces that I fell in love with and more came.
Note the intricate silver work and the richness of the stones. Every time I go away I buy mum pieces from around the world. I have bought things in Venice, Prague , Taiwan and now Nepal. I really enjoy looking, bargaining and matching her tastes to what I am seeing.
All I can say is if I ever get married my wife will be well looked after in that department. So for myself as mentioned in the previous post I bought a medicine bowl.
I think its absolutly beautiful . To think one man slaved away making that for hundreds of hours is incredible the sound it makes is incredibly hypnotic. I intend to use it for meditation. Focussing on the sound really clears the mind and relaxes your body. They actually gave me a demonstration. I have to say I felt really chilled. Getting back to my point, I love pieces with a story. I prefer things that have character and are a bit beaten up.
I also picked up a Buddhist art work (not pictured) which is incredibly intricate and beautufull . Again it has a whole back story and took an artist 200hrs of work, using fine brush work. It has a lot of shapes that form a powerful symbol when you stand back from it.
Yesterday was a monumental day. I finished the shoot for my project. Initially I was meant to interview the head monk but alas things conspired against that happening, so I got to interview a child monk and photograph the absolutely wonderful child monks.
Whilst there I had the privilege to witness one of the volunteers Virginia. At one 19 with no actual professional teaching experience she had complete command of her class. She teaches with humour creativity and a real love for the children and the material she presents .
I really believe that the challenge of Nepal brings out the best in people when I saw her teaching I was very impressed. It was like I was seeing someone much older.
Then to finish the shoot we went to film in the Junior school project, where all the little ones start there educational journey in pepsi cola just near the airport. The spirit of the children really shines they are so photogenic and love being in front of the camera .
Yesterday I went to a buddhist medicine bowl shop here in Bhaktapur . It was quite an amazing experience. They basically wack this bowl around your body which sends out a reasonence that is meant to open everything up get blood flow moving and the like. Whilst I dont know if it was actually doing anything , the sensation and the sound was very relaxing. I bought one of the bowls which is stunning. Mostly made out of copper with beautiful inlays. The bowl is completely made by hand . Its a thing of beauty. Its other use is to put on a table and wack it with the supplied mallot then meditate to its deep rich harmonic sound.
So the shoot is over and I am now officially on holiday. After a really dreadful year, where my health failed me on multiple occasions , my confidence was shot. I feel this project has been a exercise in healing. How so you might ask? The challenge of this project and overcoming its multiple issues along the way has given me a huge confidence boost to take home to Australia. I don’t feel broken anymore. I now truly feel that is behind me . I can go home edit the film and take some real momentum into my life.
The first week here was very stressful I had a nasty stomach bug but I worked my way through it and just treated it as another challenge. Tomorrow, Saturday I am off to Pokhara the lake side city. I am being driven one way and flying the other. There I am going up in a hot ait balloon hopefully doing some meditation just chilling after a frantic last 2 weeks .
From what I hear the drive to Pohkara is unbelievable beautiful , if not a tad hairy. The road is very narrow . I am lucky I have a local to take me. I can stop take pictures and really customise it to my liking.. more to come
Before I arrived I promised myself to post every day which is hard because of the sheer overabundance of stimulation one has when working in such a country but here goes.
Upon arriving in this far away place, you are confronted by the face your in a 3rd world country. The smells the cracked roads the disheveled buildings. But what becomes apparent is this place has a deep soul like no other I have visited.
Sitting here at my desk in the ancient city of Bhaktapur.I peer out the window to the sounds of tooting bikes and laughing children. Off in the distance, there are temples a thousand years old and behind that the base of the Himalayas.
Before moving to Buktapur I was staying in the tourist center of Thamel. The streets are lined with sellers selling everything from sex to drugs to fine carpets and everything in between. The pace of life is rapid faster than anything I have seen in the western world. The streets are manic, with what seems like millions of bikes and cars spewing out smoke. There aren’t any road rules oh and did I mention there are cows asleep in the middle of the roads.
But for all this manic speed and oozing of the hoards of its human population. I am just taken aback by how the people have bent over backward to make my travels easier more enjoyable and safe. Their warmth just radiates through there smiles and personalities. Even in the bleakness of the forlorned grey cracking buildings the colors of the woman’s silks permeate and pop out from the sterility of the crumbling city.
The population care about one another and have a deep respect for foreigners, everybody seems interested in this tall white Australian, I feel welcomed and almost like I am part of a bigger family.