On 23 October, 2017, Award participants from Sri Lanka arrived in Nepal for their Adventurous Journey. They were undertaking a Silver level Adventurous Journey and visited locations across the Kathmandu Valley, giving them the opportunity to experience the natural beauty of Nepal, the culture and traditions of Nepalese people, and the contrast of city and country life.
Below is their own report of their time in Nepal.
Under the theme of sustainable development among neighboring countries of the South Asian Region, The Duke of
Edinburgh’s International Award, 23 Sri-Lankans – 5 Award Leader, 17 prospective awardees and a Principal of a school – took part in the Adventurous Journey from 23rd October to 30th October 2017. With proper guidance and co-ordination of the National Youth Award Division, Sri-Lanka and DoEIA, Nepal planning and organising underwent.
Everything was arranged beforehand where the team got a warm welcome at TIA. Everything was taken care by the Country office Nepal, arrangement of effective activity filled excursion under the co-ordination and supervision of Mr. Bimal Paudel, the travel expert who was our guide.
The Adventurous Journey was arranged targeting the Silver Award standard of the DoEIA as three days each for the practice journey and qualifying journey with a rest day in between. Tour on foot was arranged to cover the areas of Panauti, Dhulikhel, Namo Buddha, Devisthan, Bhattidadha, Kathmandu Durbar Square, Thamel, Nagarkot and Chandragiri.
The participants were able to experience the natural beauty, the folk ways, typical Nepalese food, city life, country life, culture, traditions and many more.
The team was lucky enough, to get a very rare opportunity to visit SAARC secretariat on the resting day. Mr. Nirmal Bandara, the director of Sri-Lanka at the SAARC Secretariat organized our visit to SAARC office. It was a great honor to meet the directors of the other SAARC countries. The officers of SAARC Secretaries had organized a reception too. The addition of the traditional Sri-Lankan sweet meat taken by the participants added Sri-Lankan identity and flavor.
The school visit arranged by NAO, Nepal was an authentic experience as there were some teacher trainees among the participants. The presentation by the Sri-Lankan team on traditions, geographical situation, festivals, food was a shocking surprise which was followed by the distribution of Sri-Lankan traditional sweet meet to the students and the staff. The traditional Sri-Lankan dance presented by some participants in colorful traditional dresses added glamour and fun.
The concept of the living goddess, Kumari is a novel thing for Sri-Lankans. The glimpse of her from the balcony was a blessing as well as an excitement.
The trip to the Chandragiri Hill was a life time memory for the Sri-Lankan participants as it is the first time for them to go on a cable car. Though they were afraid of the height while gliding up, they enjoyed every moment of it. To add more excitement to the visit, they were able to experience hailing stone where everybody ran outside to play with the hailstorm irrespective of their age.
Though the participants were more anxious and worried about the language barrier they were able to communicate well as most of the Nepalese met, could communicate in English. At the same time, belonging to South Asian Nation, there are similarities with the two languages; Nepal and Sri-Lanka, where both parties were able to assume what was said. The Nepalese met at the public places, common buses and Adventurous Journey were very hospitable and ready to help and make the stay of the Sri-Lankan happy and comfortable.
This kind of exchange Programme will build up mutual understanding and healthy relation among any nation.