Monday, June 10, 2013

"I've a feeling we're not in Thamel any more"

After a few nights in Kathmandu, we managed to buy some last minute supplies and get over our jet-lag as best as we could. Being aware of the rural conditions that would welcome us in Achham, each of us spent a few extra minutes enjoying the hot showers and air-conditioning. With all our bags packed we piled into a taxi and headed for the airport. 

The trip to Bayalpata Hospital is not an easy one. A fact that we can all attest to after arriving here late last night. The remote location of the hospital is the root cause of many of the hospital's major obstacles. Virtually every piece of equipment that the hospital requires needs to be transported both by plane via a flight to Dhangadhi and then a 10-12 hour jeep right through numerous hills and mountains. The remote location also makes it difficult to recruit trained staff and doctors from Kathmandu.  Yesterday we had the opportunity to experience the journey first-hand.

When we landed in Dhangadhi, it didn't take long for us to notice the stark differences between life in the urbanized Kathmandu valley and life in the Far West district. Water buffalo roamed freely across the dirt roads and the sounds of birds singing replaced the cacophony of car horns. 

When we began our ascent through the mountains it became clear to us why traffic accidents    are recurring problem in all parts of the country. The 10 hour ride to Achham consisted of non-stop hairpin turns on one lane dirt roads that serves motorcycles, cars and trucks alike. We were happy to put the worst of the trip behind us by nightfall. From there it was smooth sailing, no rain, no breakdowns. 

Close to midnight we pulled up to the home that we will be staying in for the duration of our internship. Our beds were a very welcomed sight.

Now with the travel behind us, we are ready for the work that lies ahead! 

We flew in to Dhangadi airport from Kathmandu.  The plane was small with room for about 30. At first I thought I would be terrified, but as it turns out it was an incredibly smooth ride.

We got very lucky that there was no rain during our 10 hour jeep ride. Things went relatively smoothly, considering the constant hairpin turns. 

The view  from the was gorgeous, and we could just see the snow capped mountains peaking out over the clouds.

After a quick hour the plan landed. I remember thinking that it was really odd to hear the familiar tune of an iphone starting up; something I just wasn’t expecting to be the first noise I heard when we arrived. 

After a short struggle with getting all of our luggage up onto the jeep Bhinnata, Greg, Alon, Micah, and I prepared ourselves for the long 8 hour drive up to the hospital.  About five minutes into the drive our driver stopped abruptly.  At first we were very confused, but then we realized that there was a water spigot nearby, and the driver had pulled over to cool off.

  A few minutes later we were on the road again. After a few hours, we stopped again to get some dinner at the last place that would be available before the hospital.  As is usual in Nepal, we lost power about 15 minutes after arriving, and no one even blinked because it happens most days.  

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