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!
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
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.
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
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
KFK operates on an
extremely low budget. For about the cost of lunch in
an American restaurant, $15.00/day, we staff the
clinic and provide medical supplies and equipment as
well as overhead costs, such as utilities. But even
this small sum of money is difficult to obtain in a
country as poor as Nepal. We desperately need your
help to save lives and improve the health and well
being of these poor, indigenous Buddhist-Tamang
communities on the Nepal-Tibet border.
How You Can Help Save
this Clinic and build more...
Sponsorship: We welcome and encourage individuals to
sponsor our basic clinic operation cost. To meet our
yearly budget of US$ 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!
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.
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.
make a donation send your check to:
Karing for Kids
PO Box 1170 Sandia Park New
a donation using
credit card or your checking account on-line
using Pay-pal here:
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