Reflection of the International Youth Exchange Programme- Preparatory Seminar by CHETAN.D.PATIL








As it was my first flight and that was even international flight experience, I was never been so excited, but I was oblivious about the imminent tensions because when  I reached the airport the airline officials were not letting me board on the plane as I didn’t have my voter ID proof, I was not aware about these things as it was first flight experience so we met the higher officials but even they were reluctant to let me board on the plane so I urged them and I explained them why this trip is important for me and fortunately they got convinced and they gave me the permission and my journey started. I was so scared so I hold shivali’s hand till the plane took off. In between the journey when we were near to Kathmandu we got the first glimpse of magnanimous Himalayas, the view was ultimate I don’t have the words to describe it, it was an indelible experience. I will never ever forget that view in my life. As we landed on Tribhuvan international airport we could feel the fresh air, the weather was so pleasant. Our counterparts were waiting for us at the exit as we went there they welcomed us with traditional khada cloth, we were so pleased by their warm welcome and from there we went to dhulikhel resort which was so beautiful, even we could see the Himalayan range from there. We were divided into two, the rooms were small but were beautifully decorated, adorned with various colors. Prabin was my room partner, he was so simple, humble  and down to earth person, in just one day he became very good friend of mine. Other companions like Arpana, Arjun, Pratibha were also had a great persona. Sunika and Alisha were coordinator of the program who were so young but dynamic, overall it was a very good group we formed.

We were introduced to GPF and GPYC. We signed the code of conduct for ten day preparatory seminar, and then we filled some forms about our goals, expectations, hobbies and we also had to make nameplate of our room partner as a present to them. It was a very memorable day from morning till night.

 DAY 2:- Second day of the preparatory seminar. The presentation given by necelyn mam was truly amazing. When arpana shared her experience I could see the transformation in her after joining GPYC. Then dhruba sir gave the presentation about GPF work. The video which he showed took me in different world as if like it was telling me something that yes this is the thing ,you are here in this world for this only. Then arrived Ms Ganga ban, enchanting personality which is bestowed upon her, anyone could predict that this lady is going to create a magic in her presentation. From the very first sentence it was so touching, she gave us such beautiful insights about travel and exchange and she also explained the principle of living for the sake of others, lots of things were there to learn from her, especially her enthusiastic approach towards her life.Then there was a presentation on good governance- to provide common understanding on good governance as the theme of the project. I felt like he is among those persons to whom I wanted to meet. He has already worked for united nations for so many years, the conflict cases which we are studying in our academics this person was there on ground zero during the conflict. We had a team building activity which was really great, it was challenging. As we will work as a peace advocator after the completion of our placement in Nepal so there was a group discussion activity to facilitate brainstorming and create more idea about good governance, we had discuss about different activities under good governance and how it create positive impact to community level then we had a presentation competition in which we had to give presentation on what kind of policies we can implement if we were given a chance to establish a new state.

DAY 3:- Again a very beautiful morning, we had to present a topic on the significance of peace advocator for peace building. For this activity I had gone through internet and when I read about Mahatma Gandhi, His holiness Dalai Lama I got to know about them more deeply and it really influenced me a lot and their teachings got entrenched on my mind. Before giving a presentation I was literally shivering as it was my first time to speak in front of the people but as soon as I uttered my first sentence I felt like someone has injected me with a confidence booster. Then there was a lecture on role of youth in peace building. Then came the most interesting part of the day, the BEST OUT OF WASTE activity, for this activity we were assigned a task in which we had to go outside and collect the waste from surroundings to make something beautiful out of it. For this team building activity we were divided in two teams. As we went outside we were looking for the waste things, but we were perplexed as we didn’t have an idea what precisely we can make out of it, then mother nature as always came to help us, the answer was in front of us ‘THE BEAUTIFUL VALLEY’ the magnanimous mountains, clear blue sky so we decide to depict the valley so we started making valley and we collected materials accordingly. We made a river flowing through the mountains, beautiful Nepali style homes and fortunately we found the perfect shape materials. I learn how to divide work, how to manage activities when you are working in a team, how to motivate your teammates to achieve best results. So we finally made our best thing out of waste, we depicted ‘SAGARMATHA’ which is a Nepali word for Mt Everest. Our opponent team made a fabulous thing out of waste, hats off to their creativity, they did a fantastic job. Then there was a lecture by Dhruba sir about interfaith, family and service, the complete lecture was astonishing I didn’t even blink my eye during the lecture.

 DAY 4:- We woke up early in the morning as the most enchanting part of our stay in Kathmandu was waiting for us. We were supposed to go the famous Buddha statue. We started our trekking for the Buddha statue as it was located on high altitude and we also had one team building activity in which we had to collect materials ranging from A to Z, so we started collecting things from the beginning. After half an hour walking we got a glimpse of Buddha statueit was so huge. The view of the valley from the top was so beautiful. We prayed before the statue of Buddha and then dhruba sir asked us to express our views on what if Buddha was never been born, fortunately I have read about it in 12th std so I told the history and principles of Gautama Buddha. While getting down from that place we came across deluge of garbage in our way and suddenly dhruba sir started collecting that garbage in a plastic bag and we were just criticizing people then I understand why sir is true leader, he is a man of action, that incident taught me that actions speak louder than words, a leader should be always proactive and then we started following him, while coming back from there we collected the remaining things as a part of our game, the activity was so funny that we picked some unwanted things which we shouldn’t have picked for the sake of completion of task.

After coming back to hotel we played one more game of making the line first according to initial letter of our name and then according to the month we were born but there was one condition you cant open your mouth to arrange the line, you can only use sign language. This activity was designed to show the importance of sign language. Sunika explained the dilemmas in life abroad and how to deal with cultural shock. Then came kripa a true energetic personality, she was like spreading energy with each and every word. Then we played the game of making the line but this time they put on cloth on our eyes this was real challenge ,it was nice exercise for brain as we had to think about different techniques. Then there was a cultural night and campfire. I sang one nepali song which was a very good experience and from the outfits of my nepali friends I got to know the rich, vivacious culture and traditions of this beautiful country.

 DAY 5:- Today was the last day of our stay at dhulikhel resort. I really couldn’t prepare myself to leave that magical place, suddenly all the moments came before my eyes like a flashback and I left promising that I will come back here again in future and then we went for lunch outside. First time I talk to Necelyn mam, she reminded me of my mother it was like even if I am far away from my mother but god listen to my prayer and I met a woman who was like my mother.

So this stay at dhulikhel gave me a mother, best friends, new vision and the memories that I will cherish throughout my life. Thank you very much.

 DAY 6:- Another beautiful morning in Kathmandu. New hotel, new place, new area, new view. Today we visited our GPYC office at hattigauda. We started our day by an interesting game, there were so many participants with us which who were GPYC volunteers making that moment more enjoyable. A game in which we have to give ourselves a particular name, we were given a ball which we would throw at others by calling their name, I was so entertaining at the same time it was difficult because each time you would throw the ball you have to recollect his or her name that game was designed to test our memory capacity. Then there was a lecture by David shakya sir on importance of having a specific goal in your life, he explained us in a very simple language by giving interesting examples then I realize If you don’t have any goal in life you can easily get distract in life, with definite goals you can easily stick to your path because then you are completely aware of the path you are heading. Then Lidia from US embassy gave a speech about virtues in life that were really important, we can’t call any person successful if he lacks moral values in his character then we played so many games after that so it was an awesome day.

 DAY 7:- In the morning we got up to yet another cold morning. The first activity of today was to visit ‘MAITI NEPAL’ which is an organization that prevents, rescues and rehabilitates women and children who have been a victims of human trafficking for the purpose of either sexual or physical slavery. We were truly inspired by the kind of impact that Maiti Nepal has been able to create and particularly the struggle undertaken by organization founder Ms Anuradha Koirala. I read about her in local Marathi newspaper, she herself was a victim of physical violence then she quit her own family life and decided to work for women and children who are going through the same situation, to alleviate their sufferings she gave up her own family life, the sacrifice that only great souls like her can do. Then we were taken to in-home shelter homes for girls, women and children. I was stunned by the atmosphere there as it was full of joy, happiness despite having gone through hideous, horrific situations they were enjoying their new birth here and all the credit goes to Respected Anuradha Koirala mam and her devoted team, the kind of patronage these people are providing them and the way they are nurturing them is simply unparalleled. I could see the new hope in their eyes. MAITI NEPAL not only nurtures them but it also provides them a source of income through small scale businesses so that they become independent and they can survive on their own. Especially I like the room in which babies were kept it was so touching moment.

So it was a very fruitful day indeed. We came to know the problems faced by Nepal and we got some directions about how can we work on the issue of human trafficking.

DAY 8:- Today we had a special guest from cultural department of US embassy Mr. Ben Atherton, who was a multitalented person an actor, director, puppet show presenter. There was a script play based on violence against women, it was originally an English play but they decided to play in Nepali language. I was just looking and trying to understand when they were rehearsing, it seemed very interesting their dialogue delivery, expressions were really awesome so I decided to join them even if it was a nepali script. Initially I was not part of it but later they took me for the role of brother of girl who was tortured. Even if I had only one dialogue but I was so excited, so I mugged up my dialogue. While mugging up many guys encouraged me saying that you are doing great job, somehow I delivered my dialogue and I felt very great being part of that script. I learn so many things from that script like respecting the women, treating them equally. Even women have priorities, men think that they should dominate and always keep woman in his control but this shouldn’t be the case.

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