Number of survivors: 7…I mean 8.
The weather turned south on us starting last night. The rain didn’t stop from evening until this morning, which required our guides to dig deeper drainage trenches around our tents. The rain, however, didn’t deter our knee patients from showing up this morning. We had arranged for four patients from clinic with serious knee problems to return for corticosteroid injections to temporarily improve the condition of their knees. Three of the patients opted for injections this morning, and I was able to help prep the patients before Kelly made the injections.
After the injections were complete this morning, we set out for Khamding to begin our third day of our training course. There was some trepidation about the hike before we left. The constant rain made us fear that the trail from Chyangba to Khamding into a slippery and muddy mess. Thankfully, our fears were only slightly borne out. It was far less muddy than expected and it was only slightly more slippery than usual. All six of us (minus Erin and Alda, who stayed behind to teach the kids at Chyangba school) made it safely to Khamding without serious mishap. We also got a bonus of seeing Nepali wildlife in the form of a snake that slithered across the trail in front of us during our morning commute.
The topic of our course today was maternal health and pediatric resuscitation. Lisa had the unenviable task of teaching the complexities of maternal health to a group of students that ranged from high school girls to middle aged women to the lone male, a 19-y/o, in the class. Despite the daunting challenge of having to teach such a complex topic through a translator, Lisa handled the task with aplomb. It was apparent that all the students learned something new about a topic nearly all of them had first-hand experience with.
The pediatric resuscitation portion of the course was taught by Kelly, but the real star of the show was Amy, the doll he brought along. In the scenarios he conjured up for the class, Amy drowned, choked on food, and was even birthed by Lisa at one point. Everyone in the class got some hands on time with Amy and she helped keep the class interested and attentive.
There continue to be a trickle of new patients that stop by even though our official clinic days have ended. In the morning there was a girl who came in with an avulsion to the bottom of her foot and a slightly fishy story about falling from a tree onto a knife. During the evening, we treated a boy with an arm injury that he received from falling a few steps off the ladder.
As a group, we’ve gotten to the point where we’re very comfortable with each other…comfortable to the point where discussions around the toilet about the consistency of our respective bowel movements are not unusual. And comfortable to the point where we realize how weird that having such bathroom conversations are, yet continue the conversations and even joke about it.
We’ve also settled well into our respective roles within the group. Lisa, for example, pretends to be the adult of the group. Outwardly she looks down on the group’s bathroom humor and jibes at each other, but she sometimes can’t help smiling at the jokes and throwing in a couple good-natured insults of her own around. Kim has chosen to be just weird sometimes, informing us of when she farts and postulating that Iceland is the potato capital of the US. She also has this mischievous smile that she flaunts whenever she’s done something. Kelly gets cracks from all the young ones about being old and from entirely another era. But he also doesn’t help by giving into Jackie’s requests for story time. I get glaring looks from some in the group when I’m in my role of morale officer, especially from Erin when I try to cheer her up by reminding her that she hasn’t died yet. Andrew is definitely the little brother of the group. There’s a game now where at least a couple times a day he annoys one of his older brothers or sisters for fun and attention, and we threaten him with fictitious retribution. Although I have been made out by Erin to be the main participant in this (which is not true, Kelly has me beat by more than a hair’s breadth), I’d like to note that even Alda and Lisa, probably the two nicest people in the group, have jokingly threatened to toss Andrew off a mountain on multiple occasions. For the folks at home, don’t worry about Andrew, we only do it because we care about the big baby.
I’d like to continue and write more about Jackie, Erin and Alda, but it’s way past bedtime and we still have our 6am wakeup. I want to apologize for not devoting enough space for them in this blog, but I do want to say that they’re doing wonderfully and it’s been a pleasure to have them along.
Time has passed so quickly since we arrived here in Chyangba, we probably only have two more nights left here and we’re already making arrangements to disperse our medical supplies. We have one more day of training tomorrow and then it’ll be time to pack and leave. I’ve had a lot of fun working this past week or so and I’ll definitely miss this place.