Overnight showers gave way to clear blue skies this morning; but it was only an illusion; the clouds and rain soon followed. We all commented on what a great morning it was for a helicopter ride to Kathmandu. Personally my knee was tired and throbbing and kept me awake all night listening to the rain and the trek this morning was difficult on slick trails.
Today was the last day of the community health worker training program in Khamding. Four days and a packed class every day; we had a lively 19 women and one man in an interactive program. The Peak Promotion guides added to the class and were more than enthusiastic participants. Today we covered GI diseases and finished off with alcohol abuse which was the class’s favorite lecture. The biggest surprise of the trip was the shear amount of alcohol consumption and functional alcoholism in the region and the class was well aware of it. The afternoon was spent with graduation ceremonies; Stanford’s stethoscope ceremony for the fledgling community health workers, followed by local political celebration including a Maoist party representative. There were speeches and silken Karta scarves and flower leas covered us. Andrew was promised to a middle aged woman; Alda was hit on by the only male in the class. The trek back was in the pouring rain. Dinner was awesome as usual but the news of having to trek 5 more days and not had a helicopter out lead to disappointment across the team. Alda held back the tears but my knee whimpered as it is pretty done right now. All wished to return to Kathmandu by air. Next year we’ll have to make it that way without option. I think we learned a lot about doing a medical education program in this region; including the physical hardship of trekking over mountain after mountain in the rain then trying to run long busy clinics and then a medical education class. It has been physically and emotionally draining for many. Tired and sore a 6 day odyssey back to Kathmandu awaits us starting at 6am tomorrow. Ai’ya.