My voluntary work project was located in four different places and a couple of the commutes presented some challenges.
To get to Pame (where the construction team was also working), we had to take a minibus as Pame is about 10km or so out of Pokhara (on the west of Lake Phewa). Boarding the minibus quickly sorted the new volunteers from those who had been here a few weeks with the newbies climbing on and taking seats at the back while the rest of us clamoured for seats near the front knowing just how bad the road was and how often you would be lifted from your seat during the incredibly bumpy journey. Woe betide those who’d over-indulged at breakfast!
To get to Male Patan, we had a 25 minute walk along footpaths away from the busy roads. This was a great opportunity to see local life as there were always people around – kids playing simple throwing games in the street, sometimes throwing balls made from rubber bands and at other times using stones and not always stopping their game for passing pedestrians! The risk is on you. On another occasion, we got to hold new born goats. And always, as we walked along, we heard the clamour of “Namaste”, “How are you?”, “Where are you from?”, “What is your name?” and “How old are you?”.
One particular challenge of the route to Male Patan was getting past the very active path maintenance projects that were taking place. At one point a makeshift barrier was erected across the path while concrete was being laid. However, the barrier didn’t seem to deter anyone – instead everyone (ourselves included) just seemed to regard this as a challenge which needed to be overcome – literally, up and over we went. Every day there seemed to be a new obstacle but never fear, we did not change our route. No one though seemed to be interested in attending to the bridge with its very obvious defect…. maybe next year?
The path was over some running water – a drain of some sort although I chose not to enquire too closely about what exactly the water was: best not to know too much especially when it was not always covered.
All in all, a different commute from taking the tube in London!