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Image by trip leader Alex Basaraba

A Festive Farewell in Talamarang

A traveler on Nat Geo’s community service trip to Nepal recounts the fun-filled farewell the group enjoyed in the mountain village of Talamarang, where students spent several days working on a variety of service projects

On our final day in Talamarang, we spent the morning painting, planting, and building bamboo beds at the village school with the local children. After lunch, we had some time to work on our independent projects, clean up, and get our saris and shalwar kameez ready for the evening’s festivities.

The farewell ceremony was gorgeous and graceful on the part of the children, filled with dancing, speeches, and gracious gifts. Our group dance to YMCA didn’t have quite the same level of choreography, but it brought smiles to the faces of the kids nonetheless. We then put forward our donations—school supplies, books, and candy—and received our certificates and T-shirts, as well as the lovely bracelets the children had made for us.

Dinner was a delicious spread of mutton, rice, potatoes, cucumber, beans, and chips. With everyone gathered in the yard and chatting non-stop, it felt like one big family. Shortly after, our dining room turned into a dance floor: Nepali songs, Gangam Style, the Macarena, and even Michael Jackson blasted through the speakers. The older girls taught us some basic Nepali dance moves, which we tried our best to follow.

Image by trip leader Kike Baxter

When the beat dropped, somebody fired a blast of confetti and the younger children’s eyes darted to the floor, picking up as many shimmery papers as they could and mischievously putting them on our heads when we weren’t looking.

Then, we all held hands in a circle until the lights came on and the music was no more. It was a night to remember.