NEPAL – Volunteering in Melamchi part 3 – The Geriatrics

Young at heart…

(Written by Steph)

Like a good Dhal Baat, you need the right combination to make a team work…


Jenny was one of the first people we met in Melamchi, and I knew she would be easy to get on with – a loveable Essex girl, she had the best games and was just really easy to be around. Not only this, the kids flocked to her – possibly because of her blonde hair, and definitely how great she was with them. A primary school teacher, she also taught me some of my times tables, which I still didn’t know, despite getting a B at GCSE! But my favourite thing about Jenny had to be that she brought hair straighteners AND an iron with her backpacking. I made sure Nick knew this too – suddenly I wasn’t the excessive packer that I had previously been labelled. 😉

Jenny with her biggest fan

João, or John, as he kindly let us call him, was our team leader. A youthful Brazilian with a playlist that ranged from Pearl Jam to Celine Dion, and the vocals of a dying cat, he took great pleasure in highlighting our inadequacies. He thoughtfully named me “lettuce hands” – a slightly more insulting version of butter fingers. No matter – as a true Brit, and lover of all things banter, I felt it only right to give as good as I got!

João pretending to be hardcore

Vanessa was cool and understated and declared she was socially inept. I always thought I didn’t like Americans, but I met one or two that I thought were amazing in Barcelona, and here I was liking more. Her job in the U.S. was climbing over fences, hunting down mosquito nests and destroying them at the source. That sounded pretty bad-ass to me. When we said goodbye, she was also just so sweet and complimentary about us. So much so, I thought she maybe had us confused with another couple.

Vanessa being bad-ass with a shovel

If Danielle were an American Indian, she would’ve been named, “Little Teapot.” She did everything with one, or two, hands on her hips. Including hoovering. She was, without trying, one of the funniest people I think I’ve ever met. Sassy New Yorker, ex-army, down-to-earth and intelligent; she was a hoot to be around. Between her and Vanessa, they could’ve opened a drug store..with several storeys.

Thomas came late to the team, replacing Andy, our Hollywood Stud and super nice guy, who went to be a team leader on another team. Thomas was a witty German, and was quickly welcomed into the group after his playlist initiation, which featured 90s grunge and Ace of Base. He was perfect for the team.

Dream team - left to right: Vanessa, João, Jenny, me & Andy

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