Tormead & RGS Nepal Expedition 2023

On 20 October, our group of five Tormead and 11 RGS students and four teachers set off to fly to Nepal for our 2-week expedition. During this time we hiked over mountains, stayed in villages, ate some cultural cuisine and endured some very bumpy bus journeys, often driving over rivers or along cliff edges.

Our first day was in Kathmandu where we enjoyed our first taste of Nepalese cuisine which was (our favourite) dhal bhat. Afterwards we had some cheeky visitors – two cockroaches who appeared in our room quite suddenly. Luckily Dan was on hand with the flip flop and successfully killed them for us. Then we felt rather tired so we headed to bed in preparation for an early wake-up call for a traditional Nepalese breakfast followed by an 8-hour bus ride to Pokhara.

We then travelled to the beautiful destination of Pokhara where we stayed in a cool hotel called ‘The Dragon’. We were very excited to find double beds in some rooms (which were greatly appreciated) and spent the rest of the day exploring the streets and walking along the lake. Mr De Courcy and Miss Cowx acted as very good models for all the students’ photography.

Our journey continued with a short 3-hour bus ride up to Gulung where some of the boys then slept in what was known as the yak shack, with us girls sleeping above the goats and a rooster. Suffice to say it was a sleepless night!

Over the next few days we hiked to various villages, staying with different families who were always extremely welcoming and kind. We did enjoy a karaoke night with the boys singing Taylor Swift’s ‘We are never getting back together’ and One Direction songs. The next day we got to experience cultural dancing with the mothers’ group, who I’m sure were entertained by our attempt. On our last day of trekking before reaching Besisahar, the boys were so thrilled to discover the football pitch at our last village that they challenged a Nepalese group to a football game which they narrowly lost, with the final score 5-2.

Finally we reached Bessi Sahar to reunite with the students that had visited us in England and create new friendships with others. Over the course of our time in Bessi Sahar, all of us created very strong friendships with the girls from Bhu Pu school, especially in our group outings, such as weaving through the streets to find bubble tea. We spent the next five days painting the Alex memorial building, gardening and litter-picking as a team with the Bhu Pu Students, while blasting songs from Mr De Courcy’s speaker.

A few RGS and Tormead students had the opportunity to go on the radio with the Bhu Phu students to be interviewed about our time in Nepal, and more specifically about the work we had been doing at the school, which was definitely an experience that they thoroughly enjoyed.

On our last day in Besisahar, we embarked on a trek with our new friends from the school up a rather steep hill which took us to a palace where we learnt all about the history of that area of Nepal. After some more dhal bhat for lunch we headed back down, which luckily was much quicker than heading up the hill was.

After saying goodbye to the students briefly we headed back to the hotel to get ready for our farewell dinner with a last minute rehearsal. During dinner, we heard from the Principal and the students performed a cultural dance for us which we all enjoyed watching. We got to give a speech to say thank you and to reflect on the amazing experience we had and then to show our appreciation we performed the English staple ‘Sweet Caroline’, the RGS school hymn and the national anthem.

The last two days were spent travelling back to Kathmandu and then we were lucky enough to explore the city. We went to the monkey temple and visited the old town with Dunbar Square and the old palace. It was definitely exciting to learn about the city’s history. After lunch we went back to the hotel one last time to collect our bags and then headed to the airport sadly on our way home.

After almost 20 hours of travelling with a 5-hour layover in Doha airport where we all tried to have a quick sleep after dinner, we arrived back in England to be greeted by our parents and the rain. Safe to say it was an emotional reunion seeing them again!

Ava & Eilidh, L6

Where next?