As my time in Nepal comes to a close, the overwhelming emotion I feel is gratitude. In three weeks, I had the opportunity to treat 240 patients and learn many invaluable lessons about health, culture, and life. I worked with amazing, sensitive interpreters and developed a very fulfilling daily routine of eating, sleeping, working, exploring the rice paddies, greeting the street dogs and maintaining a safe distance from the endearing monkeys.
Being in Nepal has reminded me how important it is to leave our cultural comfort zones and allow ourselves to experience those slight shifts in perspective that pave the way to major insights and life-changing revelations. It is so interesting to realize, again and again, that there is no objectivity- what we believe to be universal truth quickly disintegrates when we are immersed in another culture that has been built upon entirely different universal truths.
The acupuncture clinic has been full of patients this week, sometimes with a line out the door. Some walk as much as three hours each way along dusty dirt roads weaving through rice paddies to get here. They come for acupuncture, Chinese herbs, Ayurvedic massage, and Tibetan medicine provided by volunteers, in exchange for the price of a cup of tea.
The Vajra Varahi clinic is outside of Kathmandu, in the much smaller and less chaotic town of Chapagaun. The lower level has a reception area and treatments rooms, and the two upper levels are bedrooms for staff, as well as a common area and shared kitchen. The rooftop terrace is beautiful, with resident feline friends and amazing views across the valley.
For the month of December, I will be volunteering at Vajravarahi Health Care Clinic outside of Kathmandu, Nepal, treating members of the local community for the price of a cup of tea. Nepal is recovering from a devastating series of earthquakes in April 2015. Millions of people were displaced and continue to struggle.