NEPAL – Volunteering in Melamchi part 5 – Our last day

Dance,  dance,  wherever you may be…

(Written by Steph)

Our last day in Melamchi came earlier than we had hoped due to everything stopping for three days for Dashain Festival. It seemed we were not destined to get our full whack of volunteering time in Nepal. It couldn’t have been better timed though – today, after 5 and a half days of rubbling this site, we were due to finish. It would be an achievement and a pleasure.

Sweaty and dirty, but ecstatic to have completed the site
Nick and I stood on the pile of rocks we had salvaged and moved

The previous day Anees had been really excited to find the cord to an iron poking out of the rubble, only to discover the iron was completely wrecked. Unlike other sites, we really hadn’t found anything of value at all. They would have a flat surface, but little else. So, we decided to buy them an iron and a few bits and bobs for the kids. We couldn’t decide if it was a good thing to be giving gifts when we were wearing tshirts from an identifiable organisation – would we then be setting an unfair precedent? Possibly, we thought, but the desire to help them out, even with some small gesture, won out. Plus, it would be like a thank you for the hard work the kids and her husband had put in, and for all the tea, biscuits and papaya she had showered on us in our week there.

By 3pm, an hour earlier than finishing time, the site was complete. After the exchange of the iron, friendship bracelets and hugs, the family surprised us with their own gifts – the scarves and flowers given at Dashain Festival were passed along to all of us, and red tikkas marked on each of our foreheads as a blessing. They had nothing, and yet, they were overwhelmingly generous from start to finish.

João getting the flower treatment

Cue photos of us with the family followed by 100 more variations with all taggers-on. The group had been nagging us to do our first wedding dance all week, and although I was reluctant, protests of “I can’t dance on a rubble site” and “People will think we’re showing off,” faded from my mind, caught up in the buzz of one whole heap of good feeling. The house was done, Anisa was finally chatting and smiling, and the sister’s house had been approved for clearance next, an idea put forward by João. Now was not the time to be insecure. And so, we queued the music and began to dance…

After our blessing, and with all the kids, plus some neighbours

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