News BlogLatest News From Our Volunteers in Nepal

 

Diane with Patient

I wanted to take a moment and share some reflections of my time with the Acupuncture Relief Project in Nepal. I write with a longing in my heart, and lightness or thankfulness, for what the experience has been. ...Longing for the opportunity to be treating patients in need, longing to see those familiar smiling faces that the first week were so unknown, and longing to fall into the simple rhythm of my life at the monastery, mealtimes with the monks, Nepali tea, and early mornings on the rooftop. ...Thankfulness for the experience of new places, new people, shared experiences with friends, and endless hours of conversation with those friends distilling out the nuggets of our learning.

Through my time at the clinic, I have had the opportunity to explore more deeply the quality and accessibility of my education & clinical experience from the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (OCOM). What can I say – thank you OCOM for the very solid foundation in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and the practical confidence to draw upon what I have learned time and time again. In Nepal, there were some extremely complicated cases that would come into the clinic and it was easy to feel overwhelmed by where to start. It was nice to have this experience early on in my "career" – I am more prepared for it now and have more ideas about how to take a deep breath, lean into the unknown and what might feel difficult, and trust that acupuncture works.

I also have a greater practical foundation in western medicine. I gained confidence in recognizing what conditions really needed referrals – for most people in Nepal money is an overwhelming obstacle. I gained practice in taking a symptom picture and fitting the pieces together. I feel that many people walked in with a story and though they usually did not know the name for what they were experiencing, I could understand their issue. I often found myself at night reading through the pages of the Merck Manual - researching certain conditions, thinking about what kinds of treatment are available, or how to best explain to the patient what was happening in their body. In the end, it all came down to how a person felt with treatment. As Kalpana noted in her letter... "people get well and feel happy".

I also value experiences that offer a different perspective than what our normal day to day experience is. I like the shift in what "normal" is because it keeps me open to change, and less attached to the world as I might get used to it being simply through pattern and habit. I like it when the power goes out for 40 hours every week. I like having to figure out how to needle or just palpate someone through 20 feet of material wrapped around their waist when they come in (known as a zumi in Newari but commonly referred to by us as "the armor") with a chief complaint of low back pain. I like weathered faces and smiles that reveal compassion and beauty. I like it when so many things don't matter – like the nature of your clothes, the shoes on your feet, and the house were we live. Instead we get to honor and connect to the person in each of us – the eyes that we meet. One of the greatest gifts of Nepal was the nature of the way people say hello and goodbye. The phrase is "Namaste", while the hands are placed together close to the front of the chest or the face - even slightly touching the space between the eyes on the brow. It's the pause, the moment of eye to eye contact that happens, the moment of stillness - when one is either coming in or leaving. It's not casual - or formal - it is a moment of intention with one another. It's a gift of stillness for a moment, never compromised.

My appreciation goes out to each patient that provided me with an opportunity to learn. My appreciation also goes out to Nicky, the Clinic Director -- she's amazing for figuring out how to make it work everyday! Also to each interpreter and the front desk/front room staff - they helped to make this experience as valuable as it has been.

It's good to be "home" -- and sad to be gone. Namaste ~ Diane Wintzer

More Articles

  • My Home Away From Home

    My Home Away From Home

    After living in Bajrabahari at the Acupuncture Relief Project headquarters for 3-1/2 months it has become my home. As I think about my “other home” in Portland Oregon it seems

    Read More
  • 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
  • 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