Mason's Journey in Chanaute
Everything is going great so far. Mina and Bina are the best and very helpful, and everyone in town is very friendly. My Nepali is slowly improving. Clinic was slow to start but going well! I’m seeing about 10-12 patients a day right now and hoping to convince some more to come in. When I'm not busy I sit out front with Mina and bina and try to convince their patients that acupuncture can help with their colds/infections etc. I'm also going on walks to neighboring villages to try and spread the word a bit.
Two weeks into my trip and I could not be happier. I feel right at home in beautiful Chanaute, and have been welcomed in by so many new friends and family. Clinic has ramped up this past week (20 patients yesterday and 19 today) as word has spread that acupuncture has returned! My Nepali is slowly improving thanks to the help of many, and I spend my afternoons going on walks and house hopping, as locals are always eager to invite me in for some milk tea. I am very much looking forward to the next two months in this wonderful part of the world.
Things are still going well! Clinic is busy even during the rice harvesting time- 21 patients today- lots of return patients which is always good. I’m making a few house calls in the afternoons and cutting rice from 6-9am each morning this week.
Days start early in Chanaute, especially during rice harvesting season. My alarm is set for 5:45am, giving me 15 minutes to get up and dressed in time for tea at whichever families house I am helping harvest that day (this switches between a couple I have become especially close with). At 6:20am we head up to the fields and get started. It is hard work but I love being out in the fields early in the morning with the active birds, the satisfying crunch of scythe cutting through rice stalks, and a constant stream of chatter from my fellow harvesters. I pick up on none of what is actually said, but it still entertains me as we move down the rows. Half way through we stop for breakfast and more tea overlooking the beautiful green hills around us, and then it's back to the crunch. At ten to nine I head back to town to dunk my head under the tap, wash my feet and change for clinic. Patients arrive right at 9am (or occasionally 7:30am,) and we have been busy! Averaging around 20 patients a day and expecting things to get busier once the harvest time is over. There is a quick break for an always delicious lunch of dal bhat and curry atop generous piles of rice and then it's back downstairs to clinic. Intakes are tough without a translator but my very broken Nepali mixed with Mina and Bina's English (midwives), and lots of pointing and prodding gets enough info for action. Clinic usually wraps up around 4pm unless there are a couple late arrivals. The afternoon is free to do as I choose. This is prime time for tea, snacks, and visiting. No matter where I decide to venture within Chanaute or to neighboring villages, there is always a family eager to invite me in for delicious milk tea (buffalo milk from their own buffaloes!) and all sorts of tasty snacks. I have a few favorite spots with beautiful views and warm company. This is my favorite time of the day. The evening is spent reading or with friends, sitting around their rooms chatting and prepping food for dinner. Most nights I eat at the clinic with Bina, who lives at the clinic and is an amazing cook. Other nights are spread around those same few families who have taken me in. I have yet to eat a meal that wasn't delicious. Some more reading and then it's off to bed by 8:30/9pm to get ready for another early morning.
Things are still going great! Bonnie arrived Friday and has been helping in the clinic this week which has been really fun for me. Nice to have some deeper conversation again and someone to talk acupuncture with! Clinic is going well, slow today but 164 patients last week including one day where I saw 48. All things are going smoothly and no issues of any sort to report. Hope all is well back home and that you had a nice thanksgiving!
See a video of Mason's life in Chanaute here.