Number of treatments given: 573
Number of days in clinic: 45
Number of weeks away from home: 9
Number of minor breakdowns: 3
Number of doughnuts eaten: 36
Number of earthquakes experienced: 3
In March of this year I took a huge leap of faith and quit my job, packed 3 pairs of clothes, a sleeping bag, my passport and flight tickets into a rucksack and jetted off to Nepal. I spent just over 2 months volunteering at a rural primary healthcare centre. Luckily the gamble paid off and I had one of the best times of my life!
Talk about being thrown in the deep end, from the moment we arrived at the clinic we became the new ‘doctors’ in town. At the time I had no idea what that meant. I had come armed with my Acupuncture skills and a basic understanding of western medicine; surely that would be enough? Wrong. Over the course of the two months we would quite literally mould our practice to become doctors of both western and chinese medicine.
In the quiet of each morning you’d wonder what ailments you’d be presented with that day. In 9 weeks, I treated everything from knee pain and shoulder pain, to high blood pressure, broken bones, infected wounds, COPD, skin lesions, chest infections, a suspected pneumothorax, stroke patient recovery and much more. Piecing together the puzzle and working out what the best intervention was for that person in that moment – whether that was Acupuncture, some good advice, medication or more in-depth testing, was challenging and humbling in equal measures.
As the weeks went by, I spent time reflecting on my practice. With up to 23 people a day, working 6 days a week, plus 4 classes around this – the number of tools I had to work with, the breadth of knowledge & depth of understanding of health and my confidence towards using both western and chinese medicine alongside one another effectively, increased ten-fold.
These remote communities are often left behind as Kathmandu’s infrastructure, technology and healthcare system become more developed. With hospitals & doctors hard to access, medical resources limited and basic healthcare education still in its infancy; clinics like this are a necessity. Plus, damages sustained during the 2015 earthquake which destroyed the lives and homes of many are still seen today and ongoing seismic activity is a constant reminder of how life can change in an instant.
I feel completely honoured to have been given the opportunity to use my skills to help those who need it most, in a way that every practitioner hopes to. I will always hold this project close to my heart and am passionate to share with you the truly incredible work of the Acupuncture Relief Project.
It fills me with joy looking back at some of the familiar faces of a community I was part of.