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Update: October 29, 2017

Medical TeamThe 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 The mountain where we were.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.

An older man who came to the clinic. 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 who came to the clinic. 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. A child at the orphanageLiterally 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.

Oct 7, 2017 – From the Top of the World …

Makwenpur

A little girl in Makwanpur

A little girl in Makwanpur

A tattered and rusty jeep came two hrs late to take us on our journey of 7 hrs to get to Mawkenpur. Enough room to hold seven people with one missing seat…but we all fit. Our trip began with a traffic jam a few miles up the road as road construction (it never ends here) had begun on a proposed underpass. We sat in the heat between two large beasts of buses waiting with sweat rolling down our backs and dust blowing in the window. Mouth scarves are necessary but hot. Twenty minutes later we were on our way down more dusty roads to get out of Kathmandu and on our way. I am reminded of the resilience of Nepali people as I peer out the window at shop after shop selling the same things. Buses, trucks and motorcycles continue to weed in and out of traffic throwing up dust everywhere and on every thing.

Roads twist and turn. Dirt and dust is belched up from the roads as we follow other vehicles up

The road to Makwanpur

The road to Makwanpur

and around mountain peaks. Seven hours of bouncing and being jolted to reach our destination, and yet as I look over the vista toward the other side of the valley we are moving past, I am reminded of the beauty created and the people we are going to serve. Every time we get on some pavement I think…wow, finally, and then it lasts about ¼ of a mile and again we are on rutted bumpy roads. The team consists of Autumn from Georgia, Sandip, Kalpana, Sher and Bikash, a young man who has done photography for me in years past. I can’t express the appreciation I have for all these people.

We arrived at our destination in the early evening … took a walk and checked into a very small hotel, thru the kitchen and up three flights of stairs. Simple rooms. Beds as hard as plywood but a toilet in the room! Yeah … heaven. We eat at a local pastor’s brothers’ eating establishment , walk and turn in for the the night. Early the next morning we rise, have a breakfast of eggs and walk to the church that Koreans built some years back. Koreans have flooded Nepal with many churches in many towns and villages.

Our program brought 120 people from villages in the hills of Makwenpur. Some walked over six hours to reach us and walked by that evening. Autumn told the story of the Samaritan woman at the well to a captive audience. All are welcome no matter who you are or what you have done … all are welcome. Then she gave a brief class on hygiene. Sandip gave the Message and challenged the people on why they come to church. We prayed, sang and dismissed early enough so many of the women could walk back up the mountains. We distributed to each family a 30 kg bag of rice as these are people who struggle much for their faith and because they have so little. We also fed everyone lunch before their return to their homes.

A mist was crawling down the sides of the mountains as we returned. Thick and grey it hovered over the roads in spots obliterating our view. Terraced paddies covered the hills that were across the valley with every color of green imaginable. Pine trees filtered sunlight fading behind us and glistened the leaves as it filtered through in streams of light. The otherwise drab green of dust covered foliage across the vast expanse of valleys gave a different and beautiful view of farm life. The sun was setting behind us…life was slowing down. This view was a delight to the eyes on our return.

Returning to Kathmandu reminded me of why I come. A people who need hope for the future with God. What little I can do, I do. Again we traveled 7 hours to reach home, take bucket baths and fall into our beds into a deep slumber, but not before Saru fed us a wonderful dinner of chicken, rice and saag.

Wednesday, October 10

Getting medicine at the pharmacy

Getting medicine at the pharmacy

We went and visited Sagar, the young man ChangeforHope put through Pharmacy college. We helped him to establish his first pharmacy and he is doing very well now. We went to have him help purchase medicine for the Health Camp in Babare on the 20th. He and Autumn went through the list of medications he felt would be good for village people. Sher and Sandip were our trusted rides again on their motorcycles.

Thursday, October 11

Sher told us about the small cluster of families in a village called Sangla and, asked if we would go. So again we climbed upon our trusted rides (Autumn and I) and rode for over two hrs up, up, up – rounds and around- down around and down around again into the hills. I can’t express to you unless you have ever ridden in a 4

Going to Sangla!

Going to Sangla!

wheeler on rugged roads what it was like. And can I say again- DUST!! And slippery mud and slippery rocky mud! Needless to say my legs were exhausted from holding on and Autumn and I walked a few times as declines looked too rugged to be a passenger! We finally parked under some trees in a bend in the road and began a gradual walk up and down to the village, which was perched on the side of a tip of a hill. A very small place with extremely poor people who are day laborers and of a low caste here in Nepal. Being low caste, they have little future for anything but labor type work. The children and families were so excited for us to come. Autumn did another health awareness on washing hands and Sher gave the message of Hope. We again distributed bags of rice (which had been brought up earlier by others) and made our way home again. One woman was very interested in what Sher had to say…we pray for her and the others. Children were sweet and came to be less afraid as we left.

A child in Sangla

A child in Sangla

The next day, I spent a few hours at Orchid Garden, a wonderful place for children to grow and learn. Bina takes care of the lowest of the low caste children for free while many of the parents crack rocks all day long for a living. She is wonderful as is her program. She directed me to her kitchen and her husband and I had lunch and chatted about the future. When people do well for others in Nepal often the rent on the establishment goes up 15% a year which has happened with Bina. She hopes to buy land in the near future but we as we spoke I realized this would be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to accomplish. I am praying for her. I will revisit at the end of this trip to see what I can do for her as we have in the past.

Saturday is church. I went to meet with people I have known for years. Rajan Thebe started this church in 1998, I believe. Familiar faces were there. I did a short testimony about God’s faithfulness in our lives (Romans 8:28) and that his time is not in our thoughts of time. There was a South African group that came and sang and danced (this is a tiny church) and it was wonderful and of course I danced too. The minister now lives with his family in Lalipur and is from the Baptist Church. Great service from Matthew on praying – what it is and what it is not. So wonderful. Many hugs and blessings, great music (even if I could not understand the words).

Update: October 4, 2017

Kathmandu

Kathmandu

From the Top of the World

It’s a long road to Kathmandu … cars, planes and an inordinate amount of waiting in terminals, but all worth it to come back again to serve the people here.

Beds shook and dogs began to bark last night around 2am – earthquake, again. I am not afraid. God in his wisdom took that away after being in an earthquake a month before the great one in 2015. Sleeping in a hut on the top floor with drying corn husks dive bombing me and the grass roof separating I knew God had me in His hands and for whatever purpose he had for me, it would be accomplished. And so the fear left me.

Where the cow lives.

This is where the cow lives.

Misty air surrounds me which is cool, but compared to AZ is damp and sticky. Morning cars are honking, dogs barking, saws sawing and people chatting as they hover on the side of the road as motorcycles whiz by. Hills are green and surround the small road meant for one car but often accommodate trucks. The grandmother next door moves her cow into a patch of grass which lives in a tin shed on the side of their house. People shout at her to hurry as she slowly lumbers up a cement path. The hills are being used by cows, goats and people … dogs slumber on the roads oblivious to oncoming cars. Amazing they survive.

National partners

National partners going over the budget.

Three villages are on the agenda. Babare (Dolakha district), Makwanpur (Hetuda District) and Kutal (Dhading District). Medical camps, humanitarian work, goat projects and other needs will be met, along with spiritual applications and teaching by the Nepali pastors and the medical team coming from Georgia that I will work with here.

I am blessed.

August 2017

The team has visited some pretty devastated areas due to the extreme monsoons this year and flooding. We are in the process of raising $15,000 to aide people in dire need. We have one village that we have aquaintences in that we will serve. I remember a long time ago reading a quote by Mother Teresa:
“Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.”

And so this October we will visit villages and give a hand up to people who are struggling as we did during the earthquake in 2015.

Chandra churc floor #2

Chandra church floor

Chandra-Church

Chandra churc floor #2

Chandra church floor

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