When I arrived in Nepal I was an anxious graduate student fresh out of acupuncture school during the Covid-19 pandemic. Having spent two years practicing medicine over zoom, I was nervous and doubtful about my skills as an acupuncturist. From the moment I arrived, everyone greeted and welcomed me with open arms. Satyamohan, Sushila, and the interpreters made me feel right at home and a part of every conversion. After just a few days with my new ARP family, all my worries melted away and I quickly found my new routine. The clinic is cleverly designed and well stocked, everything I could have needed to treat patients was provided and I was learning at a light years pace. The integration of the lifestyle clinic and neighboring health post is the perfect blend of Eastern and Western medicine. Together they are able to provide the patients with excellent primary care that would otherwise be difficult to obtain. One of the greatest advantages of working with the ARP was the ability to see a patient for 20-30+ visits. Seeing improvement with each treatment and trying different modalities was invaluable and rewarding. During my stay I’ve been able to regulate high blood pressure/sugars, reduce or eliminate complex pain syndromes, and support tremor/stroke rehab just with acupuncture. It blows my mind what few needles and Traditional Chinese Medicine can do.
The Nepalese and Newari people are so kind, welcoming, patient, and have the most beautiful smiles. Their work ethic is impeccable and I’ve never seen any group of people work as hard as they do. Village life is so peaceful and simple compared to the high stress chaos I am familiar with back home in the US. Being vegetarian (except for Fridays), fridge-less, and with intermittent blackouts wasn’t as hard as I imagined and I’ve even created healthier eating habits while being here. We’re such delicate orchids in the States in comparison.
The two months I spent here in Nepal were more valuable than my entire four years of schooling. I’ve learned a tremendous amount from my fellow colleagues and I feel like I’m walking away from this experience with several years of practice under my belt and a new level of confidence. I learned so much about human nature and what it means to be a physician and discovered a lot about myself that I was previously too anxious and preoccupied to explore before. In such a short time I made so many friends, fell in love with my craft (and Nepal), and propelled myself into a new career. It was an honor to be the first volunteer to return since the start of the pandemic and this experience will be one that I will take everywhere with me. ---Michelle May