Bhottechaur Clinic Blog
Amy Babb, Dec 2013
All geared up and ready to go, Dipendra and I set out on our motorcycle adventure to the offsite clinic in the village Chanauti. Our first leg was a challenge to get used to one another on a motorcycle, but eventually I got the hang of being a good passenger. We went up and up and then went down and down to the town of Melamchi. This village has a rather large bazaar with a movie theater and bank. It is a well known tourist spot as it is right on the river. It took us two hours to get there, so we stopped and had some thukpa (noodle soup) and a coke-a-cola. After a quick rest, we got back on the bike and headed another 45 minutes to Chanauti.
When we arrived, Rajendra, one of the board members of the hospital was there to greet us and show us around the place. The hospital is about the same size as the Bhotechaur hospital, but the grounds are more limited in scope and the staff is less. They are also not a 24 hour Emergency hospital, so they have an open and close time. Really they are a medicine dispensary.
I am told that someone will be staying with me and I figure this is just because that is where she lives. I was wondering where her belongings were until I found out in the evening that Mina was just staying there so that I would not be afraid in a new place. I tried to tell her that I would be fine, but she insisted on staying. This is sweet Nepali courtesy. It has the similar tone of when I travel alone on the bus and someone always “adopts” me for the travel. They don’t think it is good for me to travel without a friend.
The next morning we are to have breakfast and get started at 8am. As it goes, Dipendra went to visit some of his family early in the morning and did not return until 8 and everyone demanded that we still eat before getting started. We acquiesced to some fresh made roti (bread) and some curry of peas and potatoes delightfully served up by a Tibetan woman at the Sherpa Lodge. The little white dog didn’t like the look of me and kept barking, but I think it was the hat.
We got started around 9am with many people waiting at the door. I brought an intake sheet for Dipendra to use for quick assessment without need of too much translation. This system worked quite well, but it was still a long day. We ended up treating 23 new patients and there were more waiting. By 4:30pm, however, my body was done and I knew continuing would not be in good service. We decided to pack it up and head to Rajendra’s house for the evening.
His home was a typical Nepali home with a wood fire stove inside, a bed on the porch outside and plenty of family sharing beds to stay warm during the cold season. He showed us lovely hospitality and in the morning kept trying to provide us more tea and food before we could head out. Dipendra needed to get back for the Saturday doctor visit at the hospital, so we got going as early as possible. It was only possible for us to leave, however, after three rounds of tea at two different locations.
Two weeks later Sitaram and I journeyed for the second visit. We went a new route that was a smoother transition from above to below, but our rough time came when the back tire went flat. By the time we really knew that it was a problem, we were luckily not that far from the nearest bazaar. We decided that if he could ride alone it would be better for the bike, so I got off, helmet in hand, and enjoyed a slower version of the view for about a 20 minute walk.
By the time I got to the bazaar, the local maintenance place was replacing the tube and then had to drive down the road a bit to another shop to get enough air in the tire. We made it safely to the clinic and back over to the Sherpa Lodge for dinner. We spent the evening playing the card game Gin and hit the sack early.
The next morning we got started around 8 am with an updated system. I had received different information about whether new or old patients would be there that day, so I prepared for both. As it turned out, we had 18 returning patients and 1 new patient. Rajendra asked if he could call more patients around 1:30pm, but this time we were not staying overnight, so Sitaram and I agreed that we were done taking patients.
It was great to see many of the patients from the last time and hear about how many people had wanted to come this time. Most of the patients had experienced minor to major relief from the first treatment and even some came back reporting that they had no complaints, that they were all better. It was especially nice to see the man who had significant paralysis from a stroke report back how much better he was feeling. His wife was there this time and said that she could really see improvement from one treatment and was wondering when we would be coming back again. It’s those moments that make the bumpy motorcycle ride a bit less wary.
Going to Chanauti was a great experience and another example of how effective and meaningful acupuncture can be in people’s lives. I look forward to seeing where other far off reaches of the world Mindful Medicine Worldwide can spread its influence and generosity. I’m sure it will be filled with love, laughter, and a lot of tea!