The trip to Babare in the mountains of Dolakha to do the medical camps was difficult but well worth it. The first jeep that arrived was too small to accommodate a doctor, two nurses, myself, the driver and three interpreters (two men and one woman) including all the medicine and gear needed to sleep on the church floor. We paid the first driver and went to find a larger jeep … which we did and all was well 2 hours later than expected.
In another 9 hours after traveling very windy roads and getting stuck in mud once, we made it to the stop above the church where we were to sleep. DARK!! And so with backpacks strapped to our backs we traversed the narrow path for about 15 min (slipping once) up to the blue roofed church. We arrived safely and began to unroll sleeping bags and use the 20 blankets we had purchased to use as mats on the cement floor. Pastor James brought us food and we were all ready for sleep by 8:30.
One cannot express the wonder of how people live in these areas. The road has been recently plowed but never stays level and we are constantly going in and out of ruts. Landslides are everywhere – leftovers from the earthquake and heavy rains they have had. I admire these people who live simple but difficult lives. All have thin legs from the daily walking in the hills. They too have many leg problems as they don’t exercise the other muscles in their legs.
Saturday morning, we rolled up our bags and placed them in a back storage area and worshiped with others. Then we put our medications as the people there asked if we could start the medical camp. Five hours later with a variety of worms, strained muscles, sore throats, headaches and such we closed the medical camp (about 50 people) and would reopen the next day. James prepared us a dinner of eggs and we walked around a bit and then slept.
Sunday bright and early we set up, ate breakfast and began the work of tending to patients. I spent my time observing but allowed the doctors and the nurses and the interpreters to do their work. I wished to see what kind of things they will need the next time. What were the major complaints, needs and supplies needed to help them. Are there medicinal plants that can have a long term positive effect that are grown in the mountains? Lots of research needed. I am not there to change a culture but to allow them their differences but to live and maintain healthier lives. Most grow their own vegetables … which are good but also ingest worms from the water and undercooking. Classes are needed. Women have normal woman problems, so there is a great need for Nepali women interpreters to help these women understand some of the “cures” for some normal ailments and necessary preventative care. Men need a men class taught also. WE need to teach physical exercises to both men and woman in order to stretch muscles that are not normal used going up and down … so that they walk better and have less stress on their backs. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure … if the culture understands.
A little girl was brought in with seizures once a week … her grandmother told us she had demons … the doctor examined her and said she was having seizures, not demons. I think the grandmother was relieved. We treated around 120 men women and children. Many ears were cleaned that were impacted and now men laughed and said they could hear their wives. Cultures are the same in many areas!
Monday we headed home by 7 am…another 10 plus hrs. We all went to our respective homes and got ready to visit Mercy Children’s home in Pokhara the next morning.
Tuesday … there was a delay at the airport of over an hour (getting used to this) and we arrived a few hrs late. Literally this is an up and down flight that saves 7 hours on the road again. The team visited MCH for the day and I evaluated the needs. I also attended a conference of teachers and was asked to return next year. The school is on a very positive road to educating children and is private with an excellent principal wanting to encourage children rather than berate them as most schools do here.
Home on Friday and resting. Will visit people I have known for 13 years now and do home visits with others.