Sorry for the delay since I last contacted. The last few days in Kathmandu have been very surreal. Whether saying goodbye to Bobby and Cara who were so helpful during the past two months, to catching my breath and reflecting on my time in Oda, it’s been rather interesting. In many ways I feel like I’ve been in a limbo of sorts, with one foot out the door, excited to return home to my friends and family but sad to have left behind my friends and family in Kalikot and Surkhet. Thankfully, I am leaving Limbo soon to make the very long journey home. I will be in India today, and Saudi Arabia tomorrow but on Wednesday I am landing in DC and couldn’t be more excited! While, I’m still processing much of the ups and downs of my last trip, I wanted to pass along a few updates prior to heading to the airport!
Things are going well with our existing projects, particularly with our health clinic which has treated over 2,300 individuals since December 12th. These patients come in with a wide range of issues with the most common illnesses being; pneumonia, typhoid, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease , diarrhea, and jaundice. In my final meeting with the community, several elders were emotional, explaining that this year there was one death in the community that could not be attributed to age or some sort of chronic condition which contrasts sharply to the historical average of 30 to 40 individuals per year. As you can appreciate, detailed records are sparse in this part of the world so unfortunately this anecdotal evidence is all we have to go on at this point. While I cannot say with certainty that the clinic was responsible for this change, I am very proud of what has been accomplished and the positive impact the clinic is having in the community.
Beyond treating sick patients, the contribution of reusable maxi pads was also an enormous success. By all accounts, school attendance amongst the community’s girls was up significantly with girls growing more comfortable and confident with the pads. We are hoping to quantify this going forward so we can track our progress.
Outside of medicine we’ve been working extensively in the government schools, evaluating shortcomings and learning what we can do going forward with regards to curriculum. Our presence at the school has boosted school attendance tremendously and the kids are starving for information and quality teaching. This sad reality stems from the highly unionized government schools, where teachers have no incentive to work hard or even teach students. Slowly, attitudes are changing amongst some of the teachers, and I am very optimistic about future strides.
I have so much more to update on, but I wanted to pass along some brief highlights!!!
Thanks so much for all of the support, looking forward to posting more updates and stories soon. See everyone soooon!
Good Bye to my Simket Students