Livie Nute spent part of her summer with Global Routes in Nepal.
Why did you decide to go on an overnight summer program?
I had always wanted to go on a big summer adventure. I also knew that I wanted to go on an out-of-the-country trip, having traveled with my family a lot. I sought the opportunity to engage with cultures and people independently.
What made you choose Global Routes Nepal?
I wanted a hands on community service trip, where I would get to immerse myself in a new culture filled with unique opportunity. When I saw that the Global Routes Nepal program contained a three-week homestay along with a 10-day trek through the Himalayas, it seemed like the perfect mix of adventure, meaningful service and authentic cultural immersion. After doing further research and communicating with some of the leaders, I decided that this challenging yet promising program was the perfect fit for me.
What was a typical day in your program?
The program was split into two portions. For the first half, a normal day would begin with a 6 a.m. wake up, in hopes of having “packs on” for trekking at 7 a.m. For 10 days, we hiked from tea house to tea house, with the goal of reaching the breathtaking Annapurna Base Camp, nestled high in the Himalayas.
The second part of the trip was the village homestay, where pairs from the group were assigned to different host families. Typically, my roommate Grace and I woke at around 7, allowing enough time to enjoy tea with our host mom before breakfast on the jobsite. At 8 we would start work on the service project: constructing two classrooms in the village center. After each day of rewarding labor, Grace and I would stick around to play soccer with the village locals. We would then hike back up to our house, where we either practiced henna art with our host mom, or joined a game of jump rope with the neighborhood children. Each day ended by helping our family prepare a delicious meal of Dal Bhat. Finally, with full bellies and big smiles, Grace and I would head off to bed.
What was the most memorable moment of the summer?
The most memorable part of my summer was the day I said goodbye to my host family. In such a short amount of time, I grew so close to my Mom, Dad and three siblings in Nepal. The morning of departure, our host mom woke Grace and me up extra early to indulge in a final feast. The meal included of four apples, seven mangoes, two plates of Dal Bhat, two fruitcakes, and two cups of her famous Chai tea. After saying a difficult goodbye, filled with tears, hugs and a custom blessing for the journey ahead, Grace and I met up with the rest of the group to begin our trek out of the village (a grueling task given the amount of food that we had just consumed).
Overall, I will never forget the bonds that were made in the five weeks of this trip, not only with my host family, but with the peers and leaders from the Global Routes group. I am so grateful for the lifelong friendships that I gained out of this program, and for me, those bonds created will forever be the most memorable part of summer 2018.
What advice do you have for teens considering summer programs?
I think that if you find a program or camp that interests you, despite the potential challenges and fears that you may have, by all means seize the opportunity. The program I went on was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I know I will always hold the experience close to my heart. Therefore, take the risk for next summer, and be sure to enjoy every moment you spend on your program, because it is sure to zoom by so fast!