This story may come to an end but it will live inside each of us for the rest of our lives. I called our group the guinea pigs of this course and trip because we were the first group to go. Dr. Escoto and Geeta realized things that worked out perfectly and things that needed change. I was totally fine with being a guinea pig because we got to see A LOT and we got to know more about each other as we went from situation to situation and place to place. We established the friendships and relationships between the people that will be assisting the group in the future. We became a family and I loved each and every moment of this experience.
On our last day in Kathmandu we visited the Ayurveda Health Home. This was the first time I had even heard of Ayurveda, and I really was intrigued. It is a natural science based health practice that takes a holistic approach. It is based on the dynamic process of health which incorporates not only mind and body but also everything in between. It’s 4 dimensions include physical, sensorial, mental, and spiritual. Nepal seems like a great place to practice Ayurveda because there is so much spirituality in the culture. We all wanted to stay at the clinic at experience their many different massages…maybe the next group will get to do that!
In Pokhara, the tourist city of Nepal, we shopped, canoed on a lake, visited the psychiatric ward of a hospital, were the well-respected guests of an orphanage, and oh yeah…we saw the Himalayas on our ride from Pokhara. The hospital we visited, Manipal Hospital, had a psychiatric ward with a few psychiatrists and lecturers, as well as 1 clinical psychologist. They took us on a tour through the ward and we learned about their ethics code, or lack thereof. In America a doctor would not be able to take a stranger, let alone a group of 12, into patients’ rooms. They also would not be able to tell you what sicknesses or problems the patients have. Apparently in this Nepali hospital there are no codes against that. It was quite a shock for us but normal for them to tell us, “This guy is an alcoholic.” We were still happy to see there was a psychiatric ward at this hospital with a good amount of staff.
The orphanage was also quite a shock. We learned that America has its own definition of orphan that is actually much different from most other country’s definitions. An orphan in Nepal is a child at risk. The child could still have parents, or at least one parent, but either the parents cannot provide or the mother has become a single mother. It is much more difficult for a single mother in Nepal that it is in America. We think of orphans as children without any parents. Many of the kids in this home actually did have parents, but they were given more opportunities while being at this home. I like this system. It allows for more opportunities for these at-risk children, education being the most important.
As we left Pohkara we were greeted with a pleasant siting of a Himalayan mountain range. It was totally breath-taking. A week prior I thought the hills I was seeing were the mountains. Those hills had nothing on these snow-capped mountains. This siting made my trip complete. The van was filled with so much excitement as we ooo’ed and aahhh’ed and snapped our cameras.
This entry will be shortly followed by an entry summarizing my experience. I must admit, it is difficult to put this story into words. I have been talking about it for a couple days now and I still haven’t even told it all.