My first week in numbers:
1 non- functioning toilet, 1 adopted doggo, 1 bumpy 4 hour ride in the back of a jeep, 2 clinics, 3 traditional welcoming ceremonies, 7 dhals, 8 class groups, 12 cases of possible head lice, 18 leech attacks, 1900 m elevation and countless breathtaking views.
So it’s the end of week 1 and I’ve finally sustained enough WiFi to write this post. Some of the group found our arrival in Kathmandu, the Nepalese capital, a culture shock; so you can imagine how long it has taken for us to adjust to the rural mountain community of Lwang Ghalel. Suffice to say, I have mastered the Asian squat.
I have to say, though, that no number of creepy crawlies could detract from the utter beauty that surrounds us at every turn. The air is fresh but hot, and the sky thick with clouds. Tattered bunting (Shila Bagedi) lines the houses and is interspersed with dried corn tied to every beam possible. It’s like being in a desktop screensaver every second of the day.
Every day we trek 30 minutes down rocky paths and gorges. We established a good rhythm of teaching and have spent each evening discussing and planning for the next day.
I’ve also spent two days in a clinic in Sidding Health Centre. Nothing could really prepare you for practicing Medicine in a third world country except actually being in one. Unsurprisingly, removing a fly embedded in a farmer’s ear hasn’t quite come up in my course yet. The vast disparities in our healthcare were evident in the first few minutes of seeing a patient, and yet I was still impressed by the care given to such an isolated and deprived community.
To summarise: the first week has been challenging yet rewarding. It’s left me excited for more. Here’s to hoping by the end of the trip I make peace with the leeches, manage to climb back up to the hostel without having a heart attack, and our toilet gets unblocked.