New Hope Volunteers
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FAQs Nepal

Where is the Himalayan region?

The Himalayan region lies north of Nepal. This is where all the snow capped mountains are located. Our volunteer program is located in the Khumbu region, in the district of Solukhumbu, northeast of Kathmandu.

Where are projects located?

All our projects are located in between Lukla and before you enter Sagamatha National Park. The projects are all away from tourist trails. The monastery project is about 2 hours walk from Lukla, and the teaching project is an hour away from Lukla, in the village of Ghat.

Do I get any orientation in Kathmandu?

Definitely. When you arrive in Kathmandu you will participate in an orientation program. The program covers information location, altitude sickness, safety, culture, host family, daily life, projects, and other related issues. You will stay in our hostel for 1 to 2 days depending on the availability of flight to Lukla. We also strongly recommend you to enroll in our one week language and cultural program in Kathmandu before leaving for Lukla. The language program will teach you basic Nepali which you will find it very helpful to communicate with in Everest region.

How do I get there?

Our Kathmandu office will book a flight for you. When you arrive in Kathmandu, you will immediately begin preparing for your Himalayan Program, unless you want to spend more time in Kathmandu. The flight from Kathmandu to Lukla takes about 25 minutes and most of the flights are early in the morning. There are about 4 domestic airlines that fly to Lukla.

Once in Lukla what happens?

Our representative (most probably our coordinator for Himalayan program) will receive you at the airport. From there he will take you to the project. You need to walk to go to the project from the airport. The monks’ project takes about 2 hours to walk from Lukla. Along the way, you will pass massive Himalayan peaks, deep valleys and cross rivers. The teaching project is about 1 hour away from Lukla.

Do I carry my own backpack?

You can either carry own backpack or you can hire a porter to carry it. The porter will charge you about 700 local currency (USD 10) to carry it. You have to bring a backpack or a trekking bag that is easy to carry for 1 or more hour.

Will I get altitude sickness?

Lukla is situated at an altitude of 2800 meters. There is very less chance of getting sickness at this altitude. As you walk from Lukla to your project site, you will descend so this will help you if you experience any mild headache. You must also drink plenty of water and let our coordinator know. After you spend overnight in the region, there won’t be any sign of sickness. Our projects are all below 3000 meters so you will not experience any difficulties. After a week at your project site, you can climb as high as 3500 meters without any problem.

What specific things do I need to bring?

Good trekking shoes are a must. There are no roads there and you will walk everywhere you will go. You must also bring warm jackets as evenings and morning are always cold. In winter, you must have jackets that can withstand freezing cold.

You can also bring first aid medicines, dry fruits, chocolates and vitamin supplements. The whole region is crime free, so you can bring your laptop and use it there. You can even buy a simcard in Kathmandu and use internet there. Mobile phones also work there.

Will I need a special permit/visa to volunteer there?

The tourist visa you will receive while entering Nepal is all that is needed. But if you enter Sagarmatha National Park, which is about an hour’s walk from your project site, you will need to pay 1 thousand local currency (USD 15) to enter. Namche Bazaar and Mount Everest is located at Sagarmatha National Park.

Are there any ATM machines/banks there?

There are no ATM machines in the whole of Everest region. You will be able to take out money from your card at a local bank but the charge for this is very high. Your program fee pays for your accommodation and 3 local meals a day, so the best thing would be to budget other daily expenses and take cash with you before you leave for the program. The prices for everything in Everest region is double than that in Kathmandu, so please buy all you need before you leave.

Do I need extra money? Are foods expensive?

This depends entirely on you. There are many very good restaurants, bakeries and tea houses in the region. The food, considering the remotes of the places, is excellent. They are also very expensive. If you eat out, you will easily spend about 500 Nepalese rupees (USD 7). If you use internet, the charges can be as high as 5 hundred local currency (USD 7) for an hour.

Can I trek/explore Sherpa villages?

Every day in Everest region is a great trekking experience. You will be waking up amidst the mountains and you will see even snow capped Himalayas from your window. You will not hear a sound of a vehicle during your entire volunteering period and all you will hear is the rustle of the wind or people talking about. In your free time, you can explore nearby village or explore further.

While in the region you may also want to visit Namche Bazaar and trek even up to Everest Base Camp. This is about 4 to 8 days of trek, depending on your physical condition and how fast you can walk. You will spend about 2 thousand rupees daily (USD 30) on the trek. This is if you do not hire any guide or porter.

How can I communicate with Kathmandu office and my family?

Mobile (cell) phone connection is extremely good throughout most of the Everest region. You can even call home from Everest Base Camp. You will need to bring a mobile (cell) phone set with you from home and buy a simcard in Kathmandu before you leave for the program. There are no landlines.

For internet, the best thing would be to bring your own laptop and buy a simcard with internet connection in Kathmandu. With this, you can use internet wherever you want while volunteering. There are internet cafes in Phakdin (about 30 minutes from the project site) but the charge is very costly.

What happen if I get sick?

Your host family or monastery will have medicines. You must also bring first aid kit with you. If you have fever you can take medicine and relax. Do not go anywhere. The more rest you have the stronger you will get. Your host family or the monastery will also prepare you food you can digest more easily.

You must also bring water purifying tablets and a water bottle. The tap water in Everest region is excellent but we recommend you to use the purifying tablet. If you get stomach upset, drink only boiled water.

If your sickness gets worst, you must get to a hospital in Lukla. Pasang Lhamu Nicole-Nicky Hospital in Lukla has excellent facilities and will take good care of you. You can also fly back to Kathmandu from Lukla.

Who will support me if I need help?

You will have 3 layers of support in Luka. The program coordinator will help you in any emergency condition. The coordinator will also guide you. The coordinator is an experienced Sherpa of the local region and he will know what to do if you have any problem.

Your program staff will also help you if you need any assistant. Please feel free to ask them of any help you need as they really look forward to assisting you.

You will also be helped by your host family.

Will other volunteers be there? Will we live together?

The Everest program of RCDP Nepal is a very popular volunteer program. In Nepal, only RCDP offers volunteer programs in this region. Because of this, there will be many volunteers going to the Everest region. You will meet other volunteers in the project. You may also have to share your room with a volunteer.

How long can I stay?

You can volunteer for 1 to 12 weeks. You can also volunteer in two different projects. We do not recommend you to fly in June-August region as flights get frequently cancelled due to bad weather. But if you are in Everest region then and if you want to continue to volunteer during this time you can do so. The best time to volunteer is between March to May and September to November.

Can I split my volunteer time in Kathmandu and Himalayan region?

This is definitely possible. You can in fact volunteer in 3 regions, the flat region of Chitwan, in the valley of Kathmandu and in the mountains in Himalayan region.

What about Weather? When can I join the project?

Mid-November until mid-March is very cold. You will experience snow fall also.

April until the end of June, the weather is mildly cold in the evening and morning, and warm during the day. This is a tourist season.

July and August is the rainy season and we do not recommend you to volunteer during this season as flights to Lukla gets frequently cancelled due to poor weather. The roads during this time are very sleeper and muddy.

September and October is the best season in Khumbu region. During this season visibility is extremely good and you can see spectacular views of the Himalayans. This is also the best tourist season.

Sherpa Festivals

Loshar(New Year)

The festival falls towards the end of February and comes before the agriculture season when snow is slowly starting to melt. In Loshar, the children and grand children offer scarf to the parents and parents in return give presents to the children. The neighbors also go around each other's house offering gifts and blessings. The monks in the monastery conduct prayers and prayer flags are hosted over homes and in forests and mountains. A good spirit pervades all around.

Dumje

Dumje festival celebrates prosperity, good health, and general welfare of the Sherpa community. The festival takes place in the month of July to coincident with the end of agriculture season. This is also a time when trading expeditions in ancient times returned from Tibet, and when the Sherpas are preparing the take their herds at high pastures for grazing. The festival takes places over the course of 7 days as people visit monastery to receive blessings and become part of prayer ceremonies. There is also much eating, drinking, singing and dancing.

Mani Rimdu

Mani Rimdu is celebrated four times a year. It is held twice at Tami and Tengboche monasteries and twice at lower regions – in Chiwong and Thaksindu monasteries. During the festival, monks wear extremely colorful costumes and wear face mask to impersonate god and demons. The dance is intended to ward off evil spirits.

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