Hope things are well back at home! The past ten days have been a blessing, as we’ve been so lucky to have Doctor Kendall visit us in Oda! As I mentioned in my last post, Kendall is in the home stretch of medical school, and will soon find out where she will begin her pediatric surgery residency! Kendall’s upbeat and positive attitude towards her trip cannot be understated, and she proved to be an invaluable asset to our constantly evolving medical program. As Kendall and I joked about, when you reach Oda you are living in “Nepal Heavy”. What does this mean? Squatting toilets, a discernable lack of English speaking, no power, no internet, limited phone service, and one heck of a car ride are the challenges one must face during their time here. That being said, her ability to adapt, thrive in, and embrace her short time here was “SUPER” impressive.
Enormous strides are being made in our English tuition program here in Oda. The children, Nepali staff, and community are consistently eager to demonstrate the new and fun things they’ve been learning to each other and to our new volunteers. Many a night during Kendall’s visit (after her challenging days in the clinic!) were spent warming our hands over the fire and talking about what was learned in class today. Just as the children and staff can never get enough English, Kendall too spent her free time fully immersed in Nepali Language Learning.
As an aside, in an effort to illustrate the difficulties of the Oda medical landscape, the day before Kendall left we had a very unfortunate incident take place. Our medical staff (Doctorji, his apprentice Sarita, and Kendall) received word that a new baby was being born just a few houses away from us! Immediately Bobby, myself, and a number of the kids broke into dance and starting chanting “Naya manche! Naya manche!(New person! New person!)” as our medical team set off. As we awaited their return, a number of us began to speculate how long the birthing would take. It can be a very long process in the states, so we were preparing for a long evening of eager anticipation. Approximately 45 minutes later though, Kendall returned with the doctor and we immediately sensed something was wrong. Doctorji (who is usually full of smiles), had a somber look on his face, as Kendall broke the news to us that the baby had passed away during birth. This was my first exposure to death at such a young age. While I’ve heard about “high infant mortality rates”, not until that afternoon did it hit so close to home. The combination of sadness in conjunction with relief (the mother survived), was a lot to take in. In many ways the outcome was extremely positive, the mother will be able to carry more children and live a full life thanks to the contributions of Kendall and Doctor Karki.
I will update more soon! Sorry for the somber conclusion but in a bit of positive news, one of my favorite people in the whole world will arrive in Kalikot next week! Cara Skillingstead (sister of one of my other favorite people!) will be arriving for a one month stay in Oda later this week! In another bit of news, I’m hoping to have Kendall post a firsthand account of her experience soon!
Miss you all love you all!