I don't really know what to write about as far as my experience in Bhimphedi, Nepal goes. There are no dramatic events that stick out in my mind. All I know is that it is one of the most wonderful experiences of my life, composed of small, subtle and beautiful moments.
First of all, I've always dreamed of working in a small rural community. Our clinic is small and simple with three practitioners, three interpreters and always twelve patients rotating in and out. The room always seems small and dark when we first enter but we set out the blue plastic chairs and the bright quilted cushions and once the room fills with its first round of patients, there is a vibrancy in there that I love. Days are long and we work hard but we always have moments of laughter with the interpreters and the patients and these interactions and relationships are as much part of our medicine as the needles and the herbs. On days when patients bring us some of the many vegetables and fruit that they grow in their fields at home to thank us, I would walk home with the goods in hand and think about how I've always dreamed about being this exact kind of practitioner.
Secondly, Nepali people are amazing! They are all so kind and welcoming and every Nepali person I have ever met here has an amazing voice and know the words to every Nepali folk song. Dinner time and bus rides can break into spontaneous songs at any moment and you never know when it's going to happen- it's incredibly lovely. Our interpreters are all amazing and bright people and they work very hard with us, but they also know how to party hard. Christmas and New Years here have been the best that I can remember because both times we ended up with some spontaneous cake fights followed by some serious dancing. Both times, more cake ended up on us than in us ---in fact, I can only recall getting one bite in before someone smeared frosting on my face and by the end of it all the entire cake was gone.
Finally, because the community and the people are so amazing, I have really enjoyed the experience of growing with them as people and as a community and also helping them grow by educating them about health and healthcare. The interpreters have regular training sessions with us and learn from us everyday in and out of clinic (as we learn from them too). And as much as possible we try to educate our patients about their conditions, about their health, and about health in general while simultaneously learning from them in the treatment process. I think that the education and connection are the most important legacies we are leaving behind even if there is no clinic tomorrow.
These are only drops in a bucket of moments that I can talk about. The connection and relationships formed with the community IS healthcare, and it is what I have been lucky enough to experience through Nepal. --- Phonexay Simon