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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 suspension bridges.  My experience as a volunteer acupuncture physician was analogous to crossing a suspension bridge.  After our first week arriving at camp we had our first Saturday off.   It was decided that we would take hike into the local mountains to visit a village.  The day was perfect, the sky clear and we were all excited to venture out and explore.  We visited the villagers high in the mountains of Suping overlooking Bhimphedi.  Our trusted guide Tsering informed us we would be crossing a suspension bridge on our decent back down.  I immediately began to have anxiety as I have a fear of suspension bridges. That feeling of groundlessness gave me a pit in my stomach and sweaty palms as we started our decent and got nearer to the bridge.  

Read more: Groundlessness


Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Paula Rashkow

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 star interpreters. As we wove through farm fields and villages, the other practitioners and I fell in and out of many conversations about what we have been observing of rural life in Nepal. Bottom line: It is hard work. We were constantly trying to figure out what kind of recommendations would be useful and realistic for these folks who farm the land of the Himalayan foothills. So much of what we see in clinic is basic wear and tear from years of walking these hills with heavy loads and the back breaking labor it is to subsistence farm without the mechanization we are used to in the west. We also see lots of COPD from cooking over open fires in the home with no chimney to ventilate, eyes becoming scarred and irritated from so much dust and sun exposure, and trickier issues of lots of GERD from an irregular eating regimen, unmanaged diabetes and hypertension all probably due to modernizing processed diet over the past few decades.

Read more: Birth

Two Realities

Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Danielle Reghi

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 both, and rather liked them.  The story of the Hunger Games itself is definitely fantasy, but one scene does tend to pop into my head from time to time while I am here in Nepal.  The scene when the two poor kids from district 12, get taken to the capitol to have a feast.  The kids are in awe that people have so much money, and spend their money on things like fashion, waxing, elaborate and ornate everything.  While they are at the feast there is more food than they could possibly imagine, never before have they seen so much food, and people who can eat so much.  Then a small vial of liquid comes around, and a citizen of the capital tells them that this liquid is to make them throw up, so that they can continue to eat more. That scene is basically the epitome of indulgence.  The reason this scene tends to come to mind while I am in Nepal, is not because that movie poses any semblance of reality at all, but it serves as a stark juxtaposition of extreme poverty, and extreme overindulgence.  

Read more: Two Realities

Horses not Zebras

Please read this in Ira Glass’s voice from This American Life. Thanks

“Act one. Act one… Into the Himalayas”

It’s been a wild month. After I last wrote, we had the clinic running at full capacity. Fortunately we had treatment plans in place for our patients over a 5 week period, because the two week national holiday of Doshain ensued. We shut the clinic down for the patients and interpreters celebration of the holiday. 

Read more: Horses not Zebras

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