Valeska, a volunteer at Mountain Fund recently visited Orchid Garden and shared her experience in an article she submitted to The Reporter. The article entitled " A day care that changes lives" ran as a full page piece with 2 photos in May. The reporter is a weekly news publication in Nepal. The copy of the article we received as an attachment to an email is, I'm afraid, nearly unreadable unless you have extraordinary vision. However, if you work on a Mac, as I do, you can open it with preview, then under the tools menu select "show magnifier" and you will be able to read it just fine. I'm sorry I have no idea what the comparable actions might be on a p.c.
My friend Jagat has been asking for help with the construction of a clinic in his home village of Khumari which is located in the Nuwokot district of Nepal. I felt bad that we haven't been able to contribute to the construction costs thus far so when a group of 12 medical school students and their professors from Rocky Vista Medical College in Colorado contacted me about coming to Nepal and helping in a rural village I jumped at the chance to help in Jagat's village.
Following five hours of bouncing and bumping our way down a dirt road in four-wheel drive vehicles we arrived at the clinic site in Khumari. Seemingly, the entire village turned out to welcome us replete with a group of musicians and the entire student body from the local school. What an entrance !
The first day of our health camp saw long lines and steady stream of local villagers. Our intrepid doctors had to put in overtime to see them all. That night a storm moved in and doused our tents, which were pitched in the front yard of the yet to be completed clinic, all night long. The next morning we woke to drizzle and near zero visibility as the fog had moved in.
In spite of the weather day two was again a busy day and we finished the last patients as the sun went down. In all we'd seen approximately 350 patients over the course of this two day camp. The clinic building we worked in is built to the extent that the walls are all up, the roof is on and exam, lab and pharmacy rooms have been partitioned. There were no windows or doors yet so we rigged sheets over the openings to keep the cold out which worked a little, though it was still quite chilly on day two. I hope to return to this village and help see this clinic finished and staffed in the future.
This was only the second time, by-the-way, that this community had ever had a doctor visit. The health condition of many of the people showed the lack of medical care they've had in the past. Until more clinics can be built, like the one now under construction in Khumari, The Mountain Fund will continue to bring groups of doctors and provide what we can for health care during our camps.
This month we had a volunteer team of twelve from Rocky Vista Medical College in Colorado visit Koseli. These third and fourth year students, along with their professors gave full physical exams to each and every child, all 104 of them. I was really impressed with how complete the exams were and the fact that we now have a medical record for each child so that we can monitor their growth and health in the coming years. We are sure to be back with another group like Rocky Vista and the next group will have the advantage of a history to compare to current health. That sounds like a typical thing for us in the west, but it's unheard of in Nepal. There are a few, very few, of the children who are going to need some follow up with a hospital and we are asking one of the nearby community hospitals (in Nepal the term community hospital means nonprofit) if they'd be willing to run some tests and conduct further exams for no cost, or a reduced cost. I'll update you on that when I know the results.
It's a great way for us to start out 2012 though, knowing that for the majority of the children the care and good meals they get at Koseli has paid off in the form of a clean bill of health from the Rocky Vista medical team.