Volunteers in the children’s home
The Sambhaya family, with its 12 little monkeys, are full of life, love, curiosity, respect and music. Words can’t express how I felt about my experience living in this tiny nest in Nepal. I’m saying “tiny” to describe the cuteness of the place, but the members of the Smabhava family are anything but small.
In our tiny world with the Sambhaya family, (see, I did that again), we laugh, we cook, we cry, we dance, we play, we learn, we help and love each other. We listen to one another, grow up together and communicate with our mouths, eyes and hearts. We are together and alive!
For me, there is a “before Nepal” and an “after Nepal”. Simply thinking about the place brings me such happiness and joy. I smile at all the memories that I have created and those that have yet to come.
Sambhava is a discovery. The discovery of a new culture with a gigantic heart. The discovery of Nepal and its inhabitants. After a ride on the vibrant Kathmandu, I arrived at the nest. 12 big smiles welcomed me, eager to show me new and exciting things. This is when the magic happens. Immediately, you feel completely at home with your new family. This extraordinary and beautiful life journey completely turns your world upside down. The kids give us so much love and we try to reciprocate as best as we can during the limited time we are there. Every step of the way, in every moment of doubt, Mona and Katrin are there for us, sharing their experience, their values, and giving us answers with incredible patience and kindness. Being a part of Sambhaya and seeing the kids grow up was a wonderful opportunity. Thank you!
In this big, big world, there is a tiny house where I have been given the opportunity to find that special thing that I’m sure I won’t find anywhere else. That thing you can only understand if you experience it for yourself. Between the four walls of that tiny house, we all sleep in the same bed to keep each toher warm in the cold night and we share the water for there is not much. In that tiny house, we love others for what they are and not for what they have. We help each other and give without wanting something in return. We see to it that everyone is given the time they need to grow up and heal their wounds. The special power of that tiny house is that it is unique and magical and all of its inhabitants are the geniuses creating it. With a battery found in the street, a small piece of an old wire and some popsicle sticks, they make a boat with a tiny motor. With old pieces of paper, they make beautiful and colourful flowers. In this tiny house, we squabble to do the dishes, and go to school every morning with big smiles on our faces. Our emotions are so true that they speak for themselves, regardless if anybody speaks perfect English. This tiny house is so special because of the children who live in it. They are real magicians. Not because of tricks or pretense, but because of their love. They love each other. They love you. That’s it. It is Amour with a capital A. Their love is so big that it inspires those who have the chance to cross their paths to be better versions of themselves, to give and to love, again and again. This is my favourite place and always will be because I have never seen a place as TRUE as this tiny broken house.
At the end of August 2016, I began my Nepalese adventure. Although I wanted to travel, I did not know where. I had heard of Sambhava before, so I contacted Katrin and Mona and within a few weeks, I was gone! I spent one and a half months there, in Kathmandu. This trip marked the start to an even greater adventure, for I have returned to Nepal and to the nest several times after that.
As a volunteer, my responsibilities include helping Nima take care of the kids by taking them to school, taekwondo and dance classes, the doctor and helping with homework. Everyday, we eat together, read stories, play games, dress up, cook, work in the garden together and occasionally, we go to the swimming pool, parks or to the monkey temple. While the kids are at school, I spend my free time on the hanging mat, eating momos (Nepalese dumplings), visiting Kathmandu with Nima, doing yoga on the roof and learning Nepali. By getting to know the kids, their pasts and their dreams, I quickly gained 12 new younger brothers and sisters.
Nepal is a very fascinating country: everywhere there are so many vibrant colours and delicious smells. Beyond that, it has the kindest and most generous people who will smile at you and offer you anything they have, even if they have nothing at all. Taking that plane in August 2016 was one of the best decisions that I have ever made because it opened up my world, welcomed me into such a warm and loving community and allowed me to experience the beautiful Nepal.
Thank you Sambhava!
Volunteers in the village school
Mona and Katrin, always overflowing with enthusiasm and ideas, suggested that I provide first aid training for teachers and some students at the partner school. The participants were very enthusiastic and interested and it was a real pleasure spending time with them. It was as much rewarding for them as it was for me. I was so moved by the generosity and compassion. We had the privilege of spending some beautiful days with beautiful, loving and loveable people. All sense of time had been suspended as we came together, growing and learning from one another. Beyond the warmth and friendship that had developed, I discovered the power of an organization when it is carried out by people with strong will, determination, investment and belief in what they do.
To Sambhaya, to Katrin and Mona, to all of the families who welcomed us, to the kids, to the Nepalese people and to all of you who are trying to make things better, I say thank you.
I am an Early Childhood Teacher, and I absolutely love it, which is why I decided to go with Sambhava in the autumn of 2017. There are no words to explain my experience during those six months. Together with the teachers and our helpers- either parents or friends of the school-, we transformed the preschool into a colourful learning environment.
All of the teachers were really motivated throughout the whole process and the kids were so happy to discover the new playing materials. Everyone seemed to enjoy the daily rituals at the school. I am more than thankful for that experience. Today, I still feel like I belong to the school and to the village. All of those people became my friends and not a day goes by without me thinking about them. One could say that six months is a long time but for me, it went too fast and I wished that time had stopped for a while.
Many thanks to Katrin and Mona for putting your trust in me.