Things learned from 5 months in Nepal

Living expenses and salaries are an order of magnitude lower than a wealthy western city. Despite this, people have an incredible capacity to save for future investments. Eduating their children, buying a house, starting a business. Peoples’ ability to save money here defies belief.

A whole culture living wth family creates very different soical dynamics and norms to our independence focused society.

Women going abroad for work or study are less inclined to return than their male counterparts. The relative jump in freedoms and independence is much greater for them.

In an economy without a widepsread pension scheme, strong family ties become a literal lifeline for the elderly. Mass emigration of young people will likely make this difficult in years to come.

There is a festival wherein women fast and pray so that they might find a good husband. No such thing in the other direction.

NGOs and social workers (ourselves included) should constantly ask the question: Which am I fulfilling most..? Positive long-term impact on the people I’m working with , or a self-congratulatory feel-good moment for us?

People are never lazy, yet laziness is everywhere.

Security guards and door-people almost always rock.

Rembering and using someone’s name is a cheat code to fostering trust and friendship.

Students don’t get bored of repetition, as long as the challenge is continually increased.

Merino wool is a travellers best friend.

A short, regular and intense workout can leave me feeling better than before. Over time my body learns to look forward to working out, not the other way around. For me, this means high-weight, low-rep strength practice – currently pistol squats and one-arm pushups.

Write suggestions in a list, and people will follow the order of the list. Randomise layout to help randomise their interpretation.

The education industry is one of the most lucrative in Nepal.

As an outsider to a foreign culture, it’s a difficult line to walk knowing when to take a side on a thorny social issue, and when to accept it as “part of the culture – not my place to question it”.

Prioritising jobs to be done is a perpetually difficult thing to remember.

When making a difficult decision, any uncertainty is a multiplier of anguish. The more you can identify and clarify unknowns the easier a rational assessment of the decision becomes.