Erin's Global Health Update: Part 4
Below are excerpts from a letter to my friends and family:
I've made it home safe and sound and the trip to Nepal exceeded expectations. I had an incredible personal and professional experience and am so grateful to you for helping me make it happen. Here's how it went in a nutshell:
Week 1: I go right to Karmidanda, a village I've known and loved for a while, and knew immediately I had found my spot. They have running water, electricity some of the time, a decent health post, and a sizable school. In short, there are many places which are more destitute, and perhaps more in need of my service. But I was reminded pretty quickly that Karmidanda was already my home and that I already had family there. It's a pristine paradise of Himalayan beauty with kind and wonderful people. Dream come true for me.
While visiting the health post one day I came up with the idea to build a business in Karmidanda around the cultivation of herbal medicine. Everyone I shared this idea with was really excited by it and I decided to just roll with it to see where it took me. As luck would have it, a group of motivated villagers had just gone through all the hoops to register themselves as an NGO called "Share Nepal", a perfect place to house this project.
Weeks 2-5: I run around the Kathmandu valley and Western Nepal learning about Nepali healthcare, politics, public health, social systems and so much more, all the while reaching out to everyone I think can assist with the project. During this time I sought out the organizations/individuals that might train me and the villagers in organic farming, local medicine, clean water, sanitation, hygiene, business, and markets and on and on. I also sought out government support, and we'll see when the rubber meets the road, but seems I've found lots of support up the ladder.
Week 6: I go back to Karmidanda to start walking the talk. I went to the school and taught English, Health and Hygiene to the younger classes and talked about the project with the older classes. I worked with the school board to set up a scholarship for the graduating class. We tested their water at the source, reservoir, and taps for chemicals and microbes. We also took this time to celebrate our new partnership - much fun and dance parties were had!
Back in the US: Some of you may know my dear friend Ash AKA Carlin Ayslworth. He and I found Karmidanda together a few years ago and share a passion for helping that community and taking action to make things happen. We are doers, and have agreed to be partners in bringing this project to life.
And now I'm back to the grind - refreshed, inspired and ready to get these next few years of medical school. I have so much to learn, thank goodness I still have 3 years to go! In the meantime I'm so very open to advice, suggestions and ideas from all of you guys. Needless to say I've never done anything like this before, and really appreciate all the help I can get.