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  Karing for Kids Team: Update from Aaron


Update 4/25/2005: Dear EverestNews.com readers, Wow, so much has happened in the last 2 weeks I don't know where to start.....We finally left for our trek, and drove about 1 hr north of Kathmandu to Sundarijal on the edge of one of the national parks. Driving in Nepal, as always, was an interesting experience. We pretty much just came to the end of the road in a small village, got out and started walking. There was a total of 8 people on the trek, myself (a 4th year medical student), Scott (director of Karing for Kids), Laura (a CNA from Kansas City), Puskar (a new friend, an actor, a man of many talents including one of the best laughs I have ever heard), Phurbu Tamang (the student from one of the villages that the clinic serves and a big hope for KFK to get into med school and become the first doctor from that area), Sudendra (our guide), and Kumar and Gangga (the porters).

We walked up, mostly straight up (they don't believe in switchbacks in Nepal) for about 1 hr and came to an army checkpoint. We have passed through several of these over the last 2 weeks and there is always this big process of the white people writing down all their passport info in a big log book and lots of Nepalese Army people standing around, looking very serious. Scott and I have been trying to figure out what they do with all this info, we have come to the conclusion...nothing at all! So we walked on, and came to a village called Chisopani (cold water) where we stayed for the evening. The teahouses where we stayed were a lot nicer then what I expected. The place we stayed at in Chisopani had a great solar electricity system set up, as did about 1/2 of the places we stayed at. After we arrived, I took out a hacky sack that I had brought and started playing with Pherbu, Kumar, and Ganga. After a few minutes about 3-4 of the children from the village joined in. It was pretty amazing. Here I was, on the other side of the world, in a remote village, and surrounded by people who's language I don't know, but we were all having a great time playing hacky sack.

Wow, this could go on for a long time....about 6 days into the trip we made it to the highest point of our trip, a place called Gosikunda Pass (elevation 4600m, ~15,000 ft) which I believe might be the highest I have ever been. As a reference, it is higher than any mountain in the continental US, but barely 1/2 the distance up Mt. Everest. We had some amazing views from the pass, esp of Langtang, the end goal of our trek. We continued on to the village of Gosikunda where we were going to stay for the night. However, around 5pm while we were all sitting around at the teahouse, Puskar started to develop some signs and symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness, so we continued on to descend to the next village, about 1000 ft below. He was feeling better a few hours later when we arrived there. We saw no Americans on the entire trek. In fact, there are very few tourists here these days. Most of the villages we stayed in had many empty teahouses. The population here grows poorer and more desperate by the day.

I will leave out the rest of the trip for now, as this email is getting very long and I do not want to bore you.  There is one more story I must tell though...my first patient in Nepal. As we approached a village on around day 7, a man was walking towards us and stopped Puskar and I on the trail. He had his right hand bandaged up with some dirty cloth. After he and Puskar talked for a while, Puskar told be that the man said he had cut his hand while chopping wood. He was looking for some medical help. So Puskar told him to come to the village with us so I could take a look at it. We got to the village and using Puskar and Pherbu as my translators, got the man to undo his bandage, thinking he had a little cut that just needed to be cleaned up. Wow, was I in for a shock. We got the bandage off and the man had filleted open the top of his hand. He had an big cut, with two flaps and exposed tendons (sorry for the graphic nature...I have pictures for those interested though). This man would surely have gotten a severe, possibly life-threatening infection, if he had not found us. He obviously needed stitches, but the closest hospital was 5 hours away, and nobody knew if there was even a doctor there. So I took out my leatherman pliers and some 4-0 proline I had with me (thinking I might need to stitch up myself at some point on the trip) and began sewing up this guy's hand after taking about 15 min to clean it up and irrigate it out as much as I could. Well, a much longer story made shorter, he showed up at the clinic 5 days later (a 5 hour walk for him). His hand was not infected, and my sewing job not all that bad considering the conditions (a leatherman is not the easiest thing to sew with, in case you ever have the chance). I took out the stitches so he wouldn't need to come back, put on some steristrips and sent him on his way. He was, of course, very thankful. I, on the other hand, was also very thankful, as I had been quite concerned that he would develop an infection, despite my efforts and maybe lose his hand or even his life.

We eventually made it to the clinic in Goljung. It is impossible for me to describe the place, although, by US standards, it would be condemned. But it is all we have, and it is by far, better than nothing. There are 3 women working at the clinic, a nurse-midwife, a public health worker, and a woman who just sort of helps around the place with cleaning and cooking (her husband left her just before she had his child, and she has nothing, and no where else to live). A bunch of people from Kathmandu met us up at the clinic. We took a tour of the 3 villages Goljung, Gatlang, and Chilime (where Pherbu is from). I can not even come close to describe to you what these 3 villages are like. It is like these people are living in the dark ages. Each village has one or two water sources for the whole town which consists of a hose bringing down water that, is by no means clean, no electricity, zero sanitation, etc. They all live in two story houses with the livestock on the first floor and the people on the second floor. It is amazing how these people live. But they work very hard and are very, very proud people. Americans in general would be appalled to know that there are still people living like this in the world. It is all the more reason, why this clinic is so vital to these areas. As we walked through the villages, many of the children would follow us around. We stopped at several houses at the request of some of the villagers to see some very sick people, including one woman who I think has decomensated congestive heart failure, with very bad full body edema.

I will be going back to the clinic tomorrow after getting some supplies here in Kathmandu. We are going to try and set up some running water for the clinic, as there is not even a place to wash your hands there, except for the stream across the street.

I am sorry for the long email....but I have many, many more stories to tell. I look forward to sharing some more of them with you all.

Take care, be well, and of course SMILE! Because if the people here in Nepal can smile under these conditions, you can too!

Aaron

Background

Karing for Kids (KFK Nepal), Scott MacLennan, President of the Anatoli Boukreev Fund, and EverestNews.com have a dream. The dream is to build a series of clinics across Nepal. The service would be free to those in need.

Our Pledge to you: Not one cent will be spent to send Americans or anyone else over to Nepal. 100% of the monies raised will go directly to Nepal. Volunteers from around the world will be asked to go to Nepal to help, however, these will not be free vacations paid for by your donations. All volunteers will need to pay their own way to Nepal.

Sherpas and others in need will NOT be charged for the clinic's service. Donations will be accepted, but only from those willing and able to pay.

For a few dollars per year, each of us can HELP SAVE LIVES IN NEPAL. LET US SAY THAT AGAIN, for a few dollars per year you can save lives in Nepal.

Who Is KFK-Nepal? 

Karing for Kids (KFK Nepal) runs a Mother and Child Health Clinic (MCH-Clinic) in the rural mountain communities of Rasuwa, Nepal. KFK Nepal is a non-government charity organization working to save the lives of children in Nepal since 1997.

Please read all the way down for the latest news....

Why We Are Needed: KFK-Nepal’s MCH Clinic has been providing the medical services to approximately 7,000 people of remote Gatlang, Goljung, and Chilime villages of Rasuwa district since late 2000. Before this clinic was established, there was no medical service available in these communities. Because of the extreme level of poverty in these communities and remoteness from a nearby hospital, which is about a days walking distance, most people could not manage to get medical care when they were sick. Seeking care from local healers who did not have access to modern medical techniques or treatments and  was the only option. Government outreach immunization services were so infrequent and irregular that many children were left without immunization against the major childhood illnesses. Prior to KFK’s Clinic it was difficult to find a mother who had not lost a child and impossible to find a household without a sick person. It is estimated that the Child and Maternal Mortality rates of these communities have been almost two-to-three times higher than the national average. Nepal's average infant mortality rate, 78 deaths per 1000 live births, and average maternal mortality rate, 539 deaths per 100,000 live deliveries, are among the highest in the world.

Why We Need Your Help:  Beginning in late 1998, KFK-Nepal developed a plan to provide health care services to the above needy communities through the establishment of a regular clinic targeting mother and children. In the process of materializing its plan, KFK was able to obtain a community building for KFK free of cost to set up a clinic. With support from Americans, like Author Linda Wyile (Linda Wylie and Anatoli Boukreev “Above the Clouds”)  the initial capital of US $5000 to start the clinic was raised. KFK also obtained official approval from the government Health Ministry to run a clinic. The Ministry also provides some minimal training and supplies to the clinic.

KFK carried out the basic repair and renovation of the building which houses the clinic and its staff, as well as the community library. KFK also procured basic equipment/supplies, and recruited two staff  members; one is a senior registered nurse and the other is a local paramedic trained by KFK. In late 2000, KFK launched its clinical services and has been serving over 100 patients each month, an astonishing number for such remote and rural area. As of July 2002, KFK's clinic has provided medical treatment for over 2385 patients. Sixty-three per cent of those treated were suffering from gastro-intestinal, respiratory infections, tuberculosis, and skin infections. In mid-2001, KFK's supporters in Los Angeles and Santa Fe provided the additional funds needed to continue the clinic's operation.

KFK operates on an extremely low budget. For about the cost of lunch in an American restaurant, $15.00/day, we staff the clinic and provide medical supplies and equipment as well as overhead costs, such as utilities. But even this small sum of money is difficult to obtain in a country as poor as Nepal. We desperately need your help to save lives and improve the health and well being of these poor, indigenous Buddhist-Tamang communities on the Nepal-Tibet border.

How You Can Help Save this Clinic and build more...

a)       Individual Sponsorship:  We welcome and encourage individuals to sponsor our basic clinic operation cost. To meet our yearly budget of US$ 7500, we need just 25 people to contribute the small sum of US$ 25/month. That is less than $1.00 a day to keep this clinic open!

b)       Volunteers supports: We welcome and encourage professionally trained medical personal, preferably nurse practitioners, midwife, and medical doctors to provide volunteer services in our clinic. Interested individual should be able to cover his or her own costs while we will provide free accommodations.

c)       Institutional/Corporate Supports: We request charity organizations and corporate agencies to help us sustain, develop, and expand our medical and other development activities such as sanitation, community health education, community library, child education sponsorship etc. We also accept donations of medical equipments and supplies such as medicine etc.

Please help us to save lives and improve health and well being of the deprived poor indigenous Tamang communities.

To make a donation send your check to:

Karing for Kids PO Box 1170 Sandia Park New Mexico 87047 or make a donation using your credit card or your checking account on-line using Pay-pal here: 

Doctors and Dentists, and others wanted to volunteer. Give a little back! E-MAIL US TODAY!

Do you need a way Raise money for charity? check here for Justgiving

 




 

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