As things have shaken out, we have one primary trainee in Kaskikot, a 31 year old woman named Chitra Subedi. It’s taken a couple of days to sort out how to handle training, because Lissa and Will and Catherine have been studying IMT for decades, and Chitra has never heard of IMT, and also they don’t speak the same language. A private lecture is one thing, but what to do when they are working together on live patients with complex conditions?
Our primary goals for trainees are 1) for them to be able to help people in the community use the cards we’re handing out to self-treat primary health problems (such as gastrointestinal illness, fever, pre and post-op, falls); and 2) to provide trainees with an expanded set of treatment tools for those specific health problems. We’ve designed both the self-care cards (which go to villagers) and the trainee manual to be usable in an algorithmic way: if fever, put hands here, if gastric, put hands here. We didn’t know if we’d be able to get much beyond that in the short time we have with all the various obstacles involved.
Well today started to answer that question! If you recall, I worked with Govinda and the astrologer we’ll be seeing to put together a kit of medicinal plants found in Kaski. I had thought our IMT therapists would have a good time playing with it and that, in the spirit of exchange, it would be a chance for us to learn something about Kaskikot’s natural medicine. Well, wonder of wonders: today Chitra learned how to motility test with our plant kit. So by the end of today, she was sending each patient off with a prescription for some combination of medicinal plants that can be found right here in Kaskikot.
Tonight we also ran our first community teaching.
It was quite a challenge to get up in front of about 30 Nepali villagers, mainly illiterate, who know nothing about manual therapy and try to explain in an hour how IMT works and how to use the cards we created. The cards are symptom-based and designed to be used by an illiterate population, with symbols to represent different conditions such as surgery, fever, gastric. Making a simple tool is much harder than making a complicated one, and Catherine has been slaving over these since august.
It started off a little slow, but by the end, everyone was gathered around the demo patient treating her for gastrointestinal problems, laughing like crazy. The social aspect of IMT – gathering in a group, sitting and talking – fits in to Nepal’s rural culture beautifully, as I saw last fall in my first trial efforts. Speaking of which, there in our audience was Bauta dai!