Each year we take high school interns to Nepal. There are very few words that can accurately capture the differences between central Oregon and Nepal. Arriving in Kathmandu, they are immediately overwhelmed with the sounds, smells and chaos of this city. It is nothing like home. It can be frightening, enchanting and exciting, and in the end a life-changing, invaluable experience.
The interns soon adapt and meet our sponsored children, visiting many orphanages around the city, helping to install water filters, paint, etc. They become immersed in the lives of our orphans, wanting to make a difference.
Interns then go on a long, sometimes difficult trek, far away from the comforts of home. Hiking through villages, where families are poor but happy, and hard work is an everyday norm, can be life-changing. Sometimes we stay in rural homes where even hot water is a luxury and can’t be taken for granted. Students experience living in a third world country first-hand.
Interns visit schools and see how hard students work to get an education. Young Nepalese sometimes walk hours to get to village school, studying by candle at night to learn. It can change an Intern’s impression of education and how valuable it is around the world, and how Americans have it easier than others.
To have all you really need and to see others with so little can be heart-breaking. And it can be life-changing. Our interns return home with a new perspective about themselves and others that can’t be bought or read about. Being and intern with Ten Friends is a once-in-a-life-time experience.