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Student Sharing on Service Outreach Experience Programme (SOEP) - Service Tour to Nepal 2020


Over 20 CityU students joined “Service Outreach Experience Programme (SOEP) - Service Tour to Nepal 2020” from 1 to 9 January 2020. The students visited Lamjung, a district destroyed by earthquake in 2015, which was also the destination of “Servant Leadership Training Programme (SLTP) 2018/19 Global Village Community Service Project – Nepal". Through conducting creative workshops and classes for the locals, as well as providing support in farming and wall painting to the village, participants enhanced various skills and gained valuable exposure.

Cherish All We Have  - Sharing by Tsang Yat Yan Manna, BSocSc Public Policy and Politics (Politics) Year 4 Student

My parents have showered me with love and materialistic items, but also repeatedly reminded me that I had a rather privileged life and should cherish it. I laughed it off and continued to complain about my first world problems. I could never imagine living in a world without what was considered as basic, such as education and equal rights. In this trip, I had a chance to see and experience the “reality”.

The living and learning conditions in Nepal are a far cry from what we have in Hong Kong. Going to school, they need to hike for over 30 minutes with tattered shoes. There was no proper lighting in the schools we taught, and the classrooms would become unbelievably dark when the sky turned grey. It was amazing that the students were still able to read from the blackboard. Their enthusiasm to learn deeply moved me, as they repeated every word we taught loudly. Despite our language barrier, they didn’t hesitate to communicate with me by basic English. Knowledge seemed to be something they could never get enough of, which made me ashamed of myself. I should treasure the learning opportunities I have had and put my knowledge into good use.

Women’s rights is a sensitive topic in Nepal, and I was fortunate enough to explore it during the trip. It broke my heart when I learnt that girls in villages couldn’t continue their education after 16 and had to prepare for marriage. Many female students I encountered were bright and thirsty for knowledge, but most had to become a housewife in a few years, relying on their husband for a living. The teachers wanted to bring changes to the new generation of female students, but it would be a hard path. I spoke to a group of girls, asking what their dream jobs were. Two wanted to be a doctor, and the others wanted to be a nurse, an engineer or a Mathematics teacher. They all promised me that they would achieve their dreams. I hope they can keep their promise and we will meet again in the future.

This service trip has greatly changed my values in life, and made me aware of how fortunate I am - basic rights don’t come easily. Although change can’t be fully made in such a short span, this trip has cultivated seedlings of change in all our minds.

Live Like a Local  - Sharing by Tang Hoi Ching Dorothy, BSocSc Psychology Year 2 Student

This was my second time taking part in such a meaningful service trip to Lamjung, Nepal. The moment I got out of the jeep and saw the familiar faces, I immediately ran to them and gave them a warm handshake! And I said, “It’s so good to be back; it feels like home!”

After a year, I walked faster; my Nepali got better; my experience helped me get along with the locals easier; and most of all, my love for this place grew stronger!

Before departure, I set some goals for myself to achieve, including to sustain my relationship with the villagers and live like a local. It might be hard to maintain a strong and sustainable relationship with people who are in a different country. However, with more love and care, by understanding their needs and appreciating their differences, it is certainly possible to be a part of their big family and live like a local.

On the day of Walkathon, it took us about 3 hours to trek from one village to another. This long and steep hike allowed us to experience the children’s difficult journey to school every day. I seized the opportunity to interact with the children and villagers there. After our creative workshop with the nursery kids, we played the game “The Eagle and the Hen” (麻鷹捉雞仔). We had much fun and the energy of the kids would never be drained. I also spent time chatting with the leader of the village, who was my host dad last year and a local I respected and learnt most from. His vision of helping the village and promoting the lovely nature of Lamjung really inspired me. I was always touched by the sincerity and generosity of the locals.

During this short yet unforgettable trip, I’m glad that I was able to share my thoughts and experiences with different people. I have built a strong bonding with my teammates and created beautiful memories together. I’m more than delighted that my experiences have positively influenced my family and friends, who are interested in the stories about Nepal. Once again, this is undeniably a rewarding experience in my life. Thanks for having me, Lamjung! “Feri bhetaula फेरि भेटौला” (See you again)!

Lead a Real Life  - Sharing by Tsang Tsz Long Tony, BSocSc Public Policy and Politics (Politics) Year 2 Student

“Namaste” (“Hi” in Nepali) had surrounded me during the 9-day service trip to Lamjung, Nepal. Simple greetings and interactions can be vital and precious in life. In this service tour, I have cultivated a new attitude towards life.

With the rapid pace of life and intense workload, Hongkongers usually spend time only working and sleeping, or having entertainment occasionally. We, most of the time, ignore the messages from our mind and body, as well as people around us. The stress and the addiction to electronic devices hinder our ability to imagine, create and even live.

In Lamjung, people live in a “real world”. They care about communication and interactions between people; they send greetings to others face-to-face; they enjoy every second with people around. They demonstrate the way to live in the moment.

We stayed in Khani Gaun, a village up on the mountain in Lamjung, for 6 days. During the entire journey, all of us temporarily forgot about our electronic devices and followed the planned schedule. The days without smartphones allowed us to escape from the Internet and return to the reality. In the village, we enjoyed our time together, shared our deep emotions, and of course, our genuine smiles. Though the supply of electricity was not stable, the hygiene facilities were not decent, and there was no high-definition television, the villagers enjoyed every moment and cherished what they had already owned. At the same time, they strove to earn a living by developing family businesses related to hospitality and tourism, which showed their efforts in making changes in the village and improve their quality of life. In the 6-day experience, I fully immersed in the local culture and appreciated their lifestyle. Most importantly, I was inspired by their spirit - to focus more on REAL life.

I’m glad that I've met some new friends who are studying at the school in Ghermu Village. Through organising workshops, we’ve exchanged our knowledge, thoughts and culture with the locals. They even asked for my social media account! Keeping in touch with them on the Internet helps me know more about their daily lives and habits. They taught me a proper way to use our phones - getting closer to others rather than building an invisible wall between people.