What’s an Ambassador?
When we take a team of high school kids to Nepal we are asking them to be excellent role models and show how US citizens can be kind, thoughtful people who are interested in learning about cultures, traditions, and the people who live in places very different from Bainbridge Island. They are Ambassadors from the US.
Why Become a Ambassador?
Ambassadors will quickly discover that Nepal is unlike anywhere in the world. Our purpose is to provide a thought provoking and safe journey to Nepal, where they will experience life of the Nepalese people in its true form. We work on projects that make a real difference for people who live their lives much like they have for hundreds of years. We don’t go there to impose our standard of living on them; we go to improve their lives by providing them with a safe place to educate their children or improve some other piece of critical infrastructure that they otherwise would not be able to do themselves. As an Ambassador with BI-K, you will have the opportunity to travel, to see new things, to work hard, and to meet some amazing people. You will gain a perspective on where you fit in the world and how you can affect change.
What Will The Ambassadors Do?
The team begins preparing in January, shortly after they are selected. Ambassadors are required to attend monthly training and community service events up to the time they depart for Nepal. Once an Ambassador, we will also ask you to participate in other BI-K events to promote the program and share what you have learned about Nepal and yourself through the course of the program. It’s a significant commitment and the benefits are great: bonding with a group of peers plus learning about Nepalese history, language, and culture. And then of course, there is the actual trip!
You will visit ancient cities that make up the core of Kathmandu, visit several World Heritage Sites that include holy pilgrimage sites for Buddhists and Hindus. We have local tour guides help us understand the past, present and future of Nepal. You will learn about social issues, visit Tibetan refugee villages, and experience the culture first hand. You will see the devastation caused by the 2015 earthquake and see how the world has come together to rebuild what was damaged. You will get to trek in the hills of the Annapurna mountain range staying in rustic tea houses along the path.
Most importantly, you will get to work on a project that will make a real difference in many of the local people’s lives. The nature of the project is not known until just before the departure date and even when in Nepal it can change due to weather or other conditions. Our partner, GVI, is always working on a number of very important projects. In 2017 the team started work on a little elementary school located in a little village not far from the city of Pokhara. The school was in desperate need of a good cleaning and a fresh coat of paint. Our team started the work and teams from other parts of the world completed it. The poorest kids in the village returned to a bright, clean school where they could focus on their education in what looked like a brand new school.
While in Nepal there is free time, too. After working on the project there was often time in the evening to walk along the Phewa Tal (Lake Fewa) get something sweet or some snacks in the many shops near the hotel and interact with the locals – people, goats, cows, and water buffalo.
You can get a really good idea of what the 2017 trip was like day-by-day by reading the trip log.