I have been in Nepal for about a week and a half now, and our preparations are moving along nicely! It is really fun to be back here after months of revisions based on my trial runs in Kaskikot last fall. In October this was still just an idea, but now it is really happening!
So far, I’ve spend a few long mornings sitting with our program coordinator Prem and village-coordinator Govinda, filling out spreadsheets with budgeting, patient lists, and personell required to help us. Everything from van rides to teenagers who can run around in Kaski reminding participants when they are scheduled for treatment.
All of us here in Pokhara–me, Prem, our dental program director Nabaraj, and our clinic assistant Gaurav–made a trip to the Tashi Palkiel Tibetan Refugee Settlement, where we met with the settlement officer and Camp nurse to go over the project and confirm their participation.
One of the most fun discussions occurred on the floor of the Eva Nepal office the other night, as we strategized our community teaching program in Kaskikot. Where to do it, how to advertise it? Translation questions: the word “chunu” that means “to touch,” like with your pointer finger (Like Adam and God in Michelangelo, for example) vs. “to touch” with your entire palm, “chamnu.” Hm. Details. We all agreed it was important to advertise our community teaching as self-treatment, rather than as “education,” because there is such a plethora of health education that comes through the Kaski area that it has a watery, stale culture around it. People are much more interested in concrete tools and medicine, and we spent a good while talking about how to make IMT stand out as something really different and directly useful for specific things: pregnancy, fevers, gastrointestinal problems, cuts and falls and surgeries.
Now, various people in Eva Nepal’s health-program network are gradually being deployed! One of the clinic assistants in our community dental health program, Gaurav, has agreed to be responsible for turnout at our community teaching sessions. Thakur Tripathi, one of the founding members of our oral health project (and also the astrologer we’ll be visiting!) compiled a list of no less than 250 local natural medicines for us. Govinda, who I first met as a volunteer teacher in Kaskikot in 2002, is responsible for our patient schedule and all Kaski-related coordinating.
Today I head back to Kaskikot and tomorrow, I’ll go with Govinda and Thakur to start actually collecting up some of these local remedies, which we’ll catalogue with their names and uses, so that our therapists can experiment with them during treatment (manually, by putting them on people).
Also on the schedule: on thursday, Govinda and I will make a visit to the spirit-caller, who channels the deceased. When this is successful, the experience is that the spirit speaks directly to the visitor. The spirit-caller is one of local healers our team will be meeting when they visit, but she said she’s never tried this with foreigners, so I am the guinea pig. I have submitted my grandmother’s name, Eva. And if you want to know what happens…you’ll have to keep reading the blog. 🙂