By: Janani Bhave
One day, I got a letter from my school, The British School. I was going to go on a 5-day trip to Chitwan! I was so excited because it would be my first overnight field trip. The weekend before the trip, I started packing. I was glad that the school provided a packing list because I didn’t think I would come up with everything I would need. By the way, I have never packed my things by myself before. This would be my first time, so I got the packing list and I started packing. I got distracted many times. The hardest thing to pack was my washing kit because I was always feeling that I forgot something. Luckily I didn’t.
I was getting more and more excited so I did some research about Chitwan. This is what I learned and wrote before my trip: Chitwan is a National Park in Nepal. It protects forests, marshlands, and grasslands. The word Chitwan means “heart of the jungle”. Chitwan is one of the best wild life viewing national parks in Asia. You will have many chances to spot one-horned rhinos, deer, monkeys and 450 species of birds. If you are extremely lucky, you will see leopards, wild elephants, sloth bears or even a Bengal tiger! 7/10ths of the national park is covered in Sal forest. “Sal” is a large leaf, hard wood tree. Chitwan has more than 50 species of mammals including rhinos, tigers, deer, monkeys, elephants, leopards, sloth bears, wild boar and hyenas. Butterfly spotters have identified at least 67 species, some as large as your hand! Birds seen in Chitwan include bulbuls, mynahs, egrets, parakeets, jungle fowl, peacocks, kingfishers, oriels and various species of drongos. There are also rare species such as ruby checked sun birds, emerald doves, jungle owlets and crested horn bills. That is what I learned about Chitwan.
Monday, November 3, 2014, was the day I started getting sad because I was going to leave. I thought that I would miss my parents so much. I said good-bye to my mom and walked to school with my dad. Seeing my friends cheered me up a bit. Their parents were taking pictures of them. Then, we boarded the bus. I sat next to Meghna at the front of the bus.
We played hand games, but we soon got bored of them. We both knew that the ride would seem quicker if we fell asleep. After trying for a long time, I fell asleep. When I woke up, we were almost there. Soon, we came to a big crowd of people. They were crowded around a man selling what looked like sugarcane. The crowd of people looked so colorful. Finally, after 7 hours of driving, we reached our lodge, Sapna Village Lodge!
We went to the dining room and had a bowl of soup. I wished we got something cold because it was so hot! Then we had some time to go to our rooms, unpack, tidy up, and make a poster to put on the front of our door. I was in a room with Meghna, Shivanshi and Ujesha. So we unpacked, tidied up and made a poster. We named our dorm, The Girls Dorm. Then, Mr. Swift came to give us dorm points. Dorm points are points that people in our dorm earn. He gave us 3 points for cleaning our room and 2 points because he liked the way Meghna helped Ujesha carry her bag up the stairs to our room. Soon it was dinner time.
After dinner, we made candy for elephants and we fed it to them! What we had to do was tie some straw into a knot. Then we had to fill it with rice and feed it to the elephant. The elephant didn’t eat the bundle that I made, but it was fun trying to feed her. After that, we had a circle time when everyone had a chance to tell what they were looking forward to. Most people were looking forward to the jeep safari, the jungle walk or the canoe ride, like me. Mr. Swift was looking forward to breakfast!! And Ms. Kulung was looking forward to Friday, when we would leave!! Then, it was bedtime so we went up to our dorms, changed our clothes, brushed our teeth, combed our hair and went to bed.
When I woke up the next morning, it was really cold. Soon, I noticed that Shivanshi was awake and she just finished changing. Ujesha was also awake but she was still in bed. When we found out that Meghna was awake, we all got up and started getting ready. Our plan was to get ready and tidy up our room so when Mrs. Swift comes to wake us up, she would give us extra dorm points! Unfortunately, we didn’t get ready in time but we did get ready in time for breakfast.
After breakfast, I went with my class, 5C, on a jeep safari! We sat on seats at the top of the jeep. I loved the wind which was blowing so much on my face. Sometimes it got cold, but I still liked it. We saw some deer, some monkeys, a lizard sticking his head out of a hole, a cute little owlet, and even a leopard! We saw a lot of tall plants called elephant grass. I learned that elephant grass is called elephant grass because elephants eat it.
After the jeep safari, we went to our lodge and ate lunch. Then we went on a canoe ride. On the ride, we saw a lot of alligators. Some were really long. I enjoyed looking at them but it was really hot, so I wanted to get off. When the ride was over, we did a jungle walk. We saw a lot of huge spiders in the middle of their webs. We even saw a rhino bathing in a river! Many times, we had to jump over creeks and small streams. After the walk, we rode the canoe across the river and we walked back to our lodge.
The next day, we went on an elephant safari! It was so much fun bumping along the trail on the back of an elephant. There were four people on each elephant. I was with Meghna, Zaki and Mrs. Swift. We were sitting in a box on the elephant. We were all turned outwards, each on one corner, holding on the railings of the wooden box. Our driver was sitting on the elephant’s neck. The seating was very interesting. We started in the grassy spaces. There we saw many peacocks. We soon reached the river. When the elephants started walking through the river, it sounded like a thunder storm! When they started going uphill and downhill, it was very bumpy. We also saw deer, monkeys, pheasants and even a wild boar.
When the elephant safari was over, we went back to our lodge for lunch. After that, we went elephant washing! We went to a river where an elephant was, and once it was flipped over on its side, Mrs. Swift picked three people. She picked me, Rewa and Abayaa. We waded into the river and we rubbed water all over the elephant. Then we climbed onto the elephant and it sprayed us with its trunk! I was both scared and excited right before it happened. I was scared because I felt like it might be too strong of a spray and excited because it probably would be refreshing. After everyone had a turn washing the elephant, we went back to the lodge for a shower. Then it was dinner time and then it was bedtime.
On Thursday we went bird watching. I was excited but we didn’t see very many birds. At the beginning we walked to the river banks. There, we saw a flock of birds who were taking a bath. When my friend, Alexia, let me borrow her binoculars I saw that the birds were all brown and white, but they had brown and white on different parts of their bodies. Then we started walking down the river. We only saw one more bird which had a very long tail. At one point, we saw hundreds of millipedes or centipedes. They looked exactly the same and they were crawling all over the grass. We kept walking until we came to our lodge. We ate lunch then we went to a Tharu Village.
Tharu people are a type of Nepali people. We were going to learn how to decorate their houses. First we rubbed mud and cow poo all over the outside of a house so that no cracks would be showing. Then we put paint on another house by making flowers and paisley shapes with our hands. After we finished, we went fishing!
I had never gone fishing before. We each had an oval shaped ring of wood with a net hanging from it. We also had a basket tied to the side of our waist. We were supposed to wade in the water, dip in our net, and put the fish we caught in our baskets. I didn’t catch any fish, though. Then, we went back to our lodge.
The next day, we were going back home! I was excited to see my parents and brothers but I was also sad to leave Chitwan. After a long, boring bus ride, we finally reached The British School. Then I found my mom! I was happy to see her, but it felt like it had just been one day since I’d seen her. When I left home, I felt like I was going to miss my parents a lot, but I never actually did miss them much. I thought about them many times though… That was the end of my Chitwan trip!