We have saved this final “hero” post and penultimate blog post for Greg, Nyaya’s Country Director. Although we will try to express our deepest gratitude and admiration for Greg, we will not be able to fully capture the positive, long-term impact that Greg has had in Achham or for us.
Greg is supportive of new initiatives as long as there is a demonstrated need and the initiative is created for the direct benefit of the community. From the first, Greg encouraged us to find an area we were passionate about and to make it our own. Greg has given us countless opportunities this summer for personal growth. He included us in senior level meetings and allowed us to take advantage of our positions swinging between departments to truly take on the systems at the hospital. It’s not often that interns are given such an opportunity to take on as big of a scale of projects as they want, but it is completely indicative of Greg’s leadership style. He empowers his staff to improve the hospital through their own initiative, all the while motivating, guiding, and providing the necessary management to ensure that the people of Achham are always the top priority.
Greg leads by example. One of the days that most inspired us was when we had the hospital clean-up day. He requested that anyone who could come to the hospital on their one day off to paint, move furniture, and put the hospital back together after some intense construction in time for the VIP guests. Essentially every single staff member showed up and spent up to 10 or 12 hours performing tasks well outside of their job descriptions from the “hero” list. Throughout the day, you could see Greg participating whether he was - painting alongside Buddha dai, the groundskeeper or carrying a heavy patient bed up the hill to the inpatient department.
When the inevitable challenges come up, Greg calmly handles the situations with poise, respect, diplomacy, and fairness. Greg can take even potentially adverse situations and turn them into opportunities for hospital growth. A telling example was when a patient’s family member accidentally broke the mirror from the hospital’s only ambulance. After establishing the situation, Greg asked the man to provide a small sum of the money (and only this after confirming that it would not cause the patient’s family to go hungry) as collateral until the man would have time to come do some gardening work for the hospital. It's this type of long-term thinking and relationship building that sets Greg apart.
Greg truly cares about the staff and about patient outcomes. He reaches out to staff physically and emotionally to encourage and to show appreciation for the work people do. At the beginning of each day (and often several other times throughout the day), Greg goes around to every department and checks in with the staff. His first inquiry is always how the staff members are doing –and he cares very much about the answer. Greg is also incredibly inclusive and always listens carefully to the staff’s opinions. Around Greg, you feel that your work is meaningful and that you are valued as an individual.
Dedicated cannot even begin to cover how much Greg pours into his work. More days than not, Greg will return to his host family for a brief dinner in the nearby community and then return to the hospital to continue working throughout the night with only a few hours of sleep on a cot in the office. The dedication pays off. Greg gets things done. In Greg’s year in Achham, Nyaya has grown tremendously and he has ensured that the hospital’s systems have kept up. It takes at least two days for anything to get from Kathmandu to Achham yet just in the short time we were there, the hospital underwent a complete transformation and the entire staff’s motivation even doubled in the process of putting in countless extra hours. This would not have been possible under the leadership of anyone who is not quite as incredible, far-sighted, and well respected as Greg.
While we have the utmost admiration for Greg as a leader, we have even more respect for him as a person and friend. He is kindhearted, humble, generous, welcoming, and fun. You always walk away from an encounter with Greg smiling. He just makes you feel awesome about yourself. Some of our favorite memories from this summer were our conversations late into the night where Greg would give us life advice, ask our opinions about new ideas he had, or simply share stories with us. We know Greg is someone with whom we’ll stay in touch for years to come.
Greg is our hero.
We are so honored, humbled, and inspired to have been able to work with Greg, and with all of the others who make Nyaya what it is. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.