News BlogLatest News From Our Volunteers in Nepal

 

Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Sandy Homer

Upon arrival to the ARP Clinic in Bajra Barahi, nestled amongst the peaceful tree covered hills in the countryside of Nepal, I sensed a note of an “uh-oh, what have I gotten myself into” sort of uncertainty.  A freshly graduated, under-traveled, self-critical practitioner standing before the very place I would watch myself struggle and fall apart for the next six weeks.  I’m supposed to say that I know what I’m doing and I can handle this, but let's not kid ourselves- I knew I was in for a wild ride.  

Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Sandy Homer

One step at a time, I tell myself, don’t go beyond that one step- it will all unfold as it should so if I can just handle each present moment I’ll eventually get through this without completely letting myself or anyone else down.  The first day is yet another wake up call; I sit and listen intently to my interpreter as I watch the body language and facial expressions of my patients.  I often settle on gathering what information I can because my questions do not make sense or are not conveyed the way I need them to be- “keep it simple” I tell myself, “just start with the basics”.  These internal pep talks would soon become a common occupant of my everyday thoughts.

Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Sandy Homer

Beginning treatment I place my hands upon the weathered knees of an elderly woman; rough, dry and full of years of hard labor and intense weight bearing.  I hope that my smile and the confidence of my hands from nearly a decade of being a massage therapist are coming through to her as a form of trust and compassion.  I want to give her everything I know to do in one treatment and must remind myself to take small steps and make a plan for future treatments.  My desire to completely relieve her pain and send her out the door feeling better is clouding my judgement and confidence.  It is already clear what one lesson is that I must face during my time here.

Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Sandy Homer

Patient after patient comes through the door and sits in the chairs in front of me.  Greeting each one with a warm “Namaste” and parting with the same expression, I try to imprint their face and chief complaints into my memory so I can spend part of my evening researching how to better help each one.  I am in this to make sacrifices and step out of my comfort zone, to see what I am capable of when resources are stripped down to a bare minimum, but what I truly want most is to see my patients coming in with less pain and suffering.  

Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Sandy Homer

It is a tricky balance of suppressing my own desires and expectations while striving to progress my patients to a better place; to a place that works for them- not for me.  I knew I would be forced to face fears of my own self-worth, but it’s funny how different that reality is when you’re standing in the present moment rather than the foreshadowing of it.  

On my final day here I intend to take a step back and look at the clinic from the same standpoint in which I first was hit in the gut upon arrival and see what has changed.  Will I feel triumphant?  Defeated?  Exhausted?  Elated?  Accomplished?  Humbled?  I imagine it will be mix of all those emotions, but the one I hope will be absent is the evil villain of fear- the unnecessary yet persistent pest that it is, I strive to loosen part of the grip it has on my being and leave it in the settling dust on the winding roads far behind me. --- Sandy Homer

Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Sandy Homer

More Articles

  • This Is A Place I Call “Home”

    This Is A Place I Call “Home”

    Sitting in front a window at the Roadhouse in Thamel, realizing I’ll be leaving Nepal in less than 8 hours, feel like unreal. There is a strong voice inside me

    Read More
  • Heart Wrenching at Times and Exhausting at Others

    Heart Wrenching at Times and Exhausting at Others

    It has been a month now I have been living in Bajrabarahi, Nepal and I am in a nice groove. I am consistently seeing around 15-20 patients a day in

    Read More
  • Walkabouts in Nepal’s Agricultural Nirvana

    Walkabouts in Nepal’s Agricultural Nirvana

    As an American Acupuncture volunteer for Acupuncture Relief Project (ARP) in Nepal, I stepped into an eastern culture that is a distant shadow of my own, regarding the traditional farming

    Read More
  • The Work of Farming

    The Work of Farming

    I’ve been moving around for awhile, but for most of my life I lived in one place. There is much to be said about having roots and feeling at home.

    Read More
  • Everyday Acupuncture Podcast

    Everyday Acupuncture Podcast

    Here in the west we are used to seeing acupuncture clinics in an urban setting, and it is often sought as an adjunctive therapy used in combination with other modalities.

    Read More
  • Jatra: The goddess

    Jatra: The goddess

    Patients come on a first come, first served basis, often arriving a little before 6am, slipping their appointment cards under a designated stone on the reception window sill. Many will

    Read More
  • Beyond the White Coat

    Beyond the White Coat

    When I started fundraising for this volunteer trip, many friends asked me why I chose to come to Nepal with ARP, and my simple response was, “to step out of

    Read More
  • Baskets and Knees

    Baskets and Knees

    In the foothills of the Himalayas, Bhajra Barahi is made up of steep hills, the slopes of which have been terraced for farming. These plots of rice, cauliflower, mustard, squash,

    Read More
  • A Day in Bajrabarahi: Where There are No Doctors

    A Day in Bajrabarahi: Where There are No Doctors

    When we open the clinic doors at 8:30, there are usually already a handful of patients waiting outside in the crisp morning air. Patients arrive throughout the day. There are

    Read More
  • Ten Years in Nepal: A Tale of Three Brothers

    Ten Years in Nepal: A Tale of Three Brothers

    The day started like most days, a brisk late-autumn morning with a light frost on the ground and clear blue skies. A breakfast of churra (beaten dried rice), chickpeas and

    Read More
  • Death

    Death

    Today's topic: Death! (the author does not pick blog topics; the blog topics choose him) I began thinking about this after hearing that one of our ARP staff members, Tsering,

    Read More
  • Together We Drink Tea

    Together We Drink Tea

    The morning sunlight, through a gap in my curtain reaches onto my bed and teases my skin. I look outside the window to see beautiful blue sky above our mountain

    Read More
  • I love food

    I love food

    Fun fact, my body is 85% digestive tract with the rest being sensory and motor structures that assist me in attaining more food. My genetics are closely related to a

    Read More
  • Return to Baseline

    Return to Baseline

    As part of our long term goals in Nepal, it is our aspiration to train several Nepali born practitioners to serve in our clinics. We have partnered with a small

    Read More
  • Today, I am very happy.

    Today, I am very happy.

    After clinic one day I had the opportunity to experience a wonderful delve into the down country culture of the local folks I've befriended over the last couple weeks. Gunaraj,

    Read More
  • My Bone Problem

    My Bone Problem

    Today I fitted my elderly patient with her (hopefully) semi-permanent shoulder cast. This woman came into the clinic a few weeks ago. I remember treating her knee pain and when

    Read More
  • Worth it

    Worth it

    Having lived my whole life in a developed country, with most of my needs magically looked after for me, it was a cultural shock to see the many inadequacies the

    Read More
  • More than just acupuncture

    More than just acupuncture

    In Bimphedi, a small remote village in the hills south of Katmandu where the acupuncture relief project has a clinic there is also an orphanage. The children that are there

    Read More
  • Trust The Process

    Trust The Process

    It’s been one week in Nepal and 3 days of clinic in Bajra Baraji. I’ve gone through so many emotions and learned so much about practicing primary care in a

    Read More
  • Bookends

    Bookends

    At the beginning of my service with Camp B at Bajra Bahari, my first patient is a 70 year old male with right-side hemiplegia resulting from a stroke. I look

    Read More
  • The Magic of Determination

    The Magic of Determination

    I meet Buddhi for the first time at the end of the second last week of the camp. He had a stroke 5 years ago which affected the mobility of

    Read More
  • Groundlessness

    Groundlessness

    Nepal for me was a practice in being comfortable with the feeling of groundlessness. Have you ever been on a suspension bridge? Nepal I came to learn, is full of

    Read More
  • Birth

    Birth

    There was definitely a special something in the air that Saturday night. We had just had a fantastic day off from clinic visiting the home of one of our rock

    Read More
  • Two Realities

    Two Realities

    Has anyone ever seen the movie, or read the book The Hunger Games? I know it is a teen drama but I am not sorry to say I have done

    Read More
  • Compassion is the Communication

    Compassion is the Communication

    I come from a large Russian Orthodox family and an even larger community. I spent my childhood wondering what any limits might be. What would that look like, where would

    Read More
  • My Nepal Experience

    My Nepal Experience

    Nepal and people who live in this country, the Nepalese; where do I begin? It was sensory overload the moment our flight landed in Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal.

    Read More
  • Avoiding the Finish Line

    Avoiding the Finish Line

    Upon arrival to the ARP Clinic in Bajra Barahi, nestled amongst the peaceful tree covered hills in the countryside of Nepal, I sensed a note of an “uh-oh, what have

    Read More
  • The Heart of Good Healthcare

    The Heart of Good Healthcare

    It has been a pleasure to spend two months as part of the project living and working with the people of Sipadol and Bhaktapur. In retrospect my role as a

    Read More
  • Compassion Connects The Series

    Compassion Connects The Series

    In the aftermath of the 2015 Gorkha Earthquake, Andrew Schlabach, Director of the Acupuncture Relief Project and Tsering Sherpa, Director of Good Health Nepal begin a new primary care clinic

    Read More
  • The Interpreters

    The Interpreters

    For me, meeting the local interpreters, acupuncture students and our cook, and getting to know them on a personal level, has been the most amazing experience. The high unemployment rate

    Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

News Archive

Latest Instagram

Follow Us on Facebook

Your Donations Help

In addition to volunteering their time and energy, our practitioners are required to raise the money it takes to support their efforts at our clinic. Please consider helping them by making a tax deductible donation in their name.

DONATE NOW

Support our work

Donate Volunteer Get in Touch

Support Us