Back in Kathmandu

May 19, 2015

Dear Friends,

Thank you for the well wishes, the prayers, the concerns. I am now back in Kathmandu with plans to leave Nepal in the next few days. It has been quite an adventure since the first earthquake hit Nepal on April 26. After assisting the evacuation of the wounded off Everest, we stayed open to be there for all the teams, guides, porters, etc. that were now leaving the region. In spite of this, we saw very few physically sick patients, but some very traumatized people. On May 5 we closed the Pheriche HRA post, as it had become clear to us that our mission for this season was largely concluded, and we were anxious to get on to other things.

After a beautiful walk down to Lukla, and a safe flight out of the Khumbu, I said goodbye to Katie and Reuben, who were headed back to the UK to work on their upcoming wedding.

Mama Bear and Papa Bear, parents to our favorite puppies, Black Bear, Brown Bear, and Grizzly Bear, waking up to say goodbye on the day we left Pheriche.

Mama Bear and Papa Bear, parents to our favorite puppies, Black Bear, Brown Bear, and Grizzly Bear, waking up to say goodbye on the day we left Pheriche.

Mama Bear and Papa Bear lead the way out of Pheriche.

Mama Bear and Papa Bear lead the way out of Pheriche.

Walking out of Pheriche for the last time.

Walking out of Pheriche for the last time.

Ama Dablam and the farm fields of Pangboche.

Ama Dablam and the farm fields of Pangboche.

The heavily damaged monastery at Tangboche.

The heavily damaged monastery at Tangboche.

Gobi and Tan relaxing at a Teahouse.

Gobi and Tan relaxing at a Teahouse.

A teahouse kitchen.

A teahouse kitchen.

The rhododendron in bloom.

The rhododendron in bloom.

Namche Bazaar.

Namche Bazaar.

The dental clinic in Namche suffered heavy damage

The dental clinic in Namche suffered heavy damage

Reuben and Katie at our favorite cafe in Namche.

Reuben and Katie at our favorite cafe in Namche.

The two bridges to Namche Bazaar.

The two bridges to Namche Bazaar.

The author, looking back on the two bridges to Namche Bazaar..

The author, looking back on the two bridges to Namche Bazaar..

The beauty of the Khumbu.

The beauty of the Khumbu.

A

A “Bob Ross” waterfall outside of Monjo.

Cherry blossoms in bloom

Cherry blossoms blooming in Phakding.

Renee and I integrated into an awesome group of medical professional from Scripps (San Diego) and Mass General (Boston), who were operating field clinics in the Gorka region on Nepal for International Medical Corps (IMC). I’ve spent the past 10 days working with them, visiting several different sites by helicopter, setting up a clinic and camp, and treating the local population. In my time with them, we have seen well over 600 patients, mostly for common complaints and chronic conditions, but all of these villages have been devastated, and their “healthcare” infrastructure has been devastated, either because the community health worker is no longer their, or the community health post was damaged, or the medical supply line has been severed due to landslides and impassable trails.

The author.

The author and a satisfied customer.

Bringing medical supplies to a village to set up a clinic.

Bringing medical supplies to a village to set up a clinic.

Children playing with a wheel and stick, their favorite activity.

Children playing with a wheel and stick, their favorite activity.

Three Nepali children at play.

Three Nepali children at play.

We were in the town of Ghyachchowk when the second earthquake hit. Thankfully everyone was safe, but the second earthquake has played a major toll on the mental health of the people we are seeing. Their world was devastated after the first quake, and they were just starting to get over the experience and rebuild when the second earthquake hit.

The town of Ghyachchowk.

The town of Ghyachchowk.

Looking into a destroyed house.

Looking into a destroyed house.

The middle school, the pride of the village, ruined by the earthquakes

The middle school, the pride of the village, ruined by the earthquakes

Villagers demolishing a house for rebuilding supplies

Villagers demolishing a house for rebuilding supplies

After the second earthquake many of the Nepalis we saw were suffering from Acute Stress Reactions; fearful that any aftershock could be the next large earthquake. The emotional ramifications of what they have experienced will affect them for the rest of their lives.

A girl and her chick watch the activity at the mobile clinic.

A girl and her chick watch the activity at the mobile clinic.

IMC Nepali volunteers Ocean and Iman singing with the locals.

Nepali volunteers Ocean and Iman singing with the locals.

Our team has finished their deployment, and are now cycling back to the U.S. Another team from Stanford arrived the day before yesterday, and will be going into the field today to continue our work. Other groups from IMC and other aid organizations are in the field, performing medical duties, but also rebuilding water supplies and toilets, helping rebuild structures, identifying areas nutritional deficiency, and working with villages to develop coping strategies and mental health first aid.

IMC Dietary staff member Suzanne and Nepali volunteer Kul assessing the nutritional status of villagers.

IMC Dietary staff member Suzanne and Nepali volunteer Kul assessing the nutritional status of villagers.

In the future, I hope to provide more stories of my experiences since the earthquake, but it has been difficult to wrap my mind around the repercussions of everything that I have bared witness to in this country. In the meantime, please accept this short account of my recent actions and movements.

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