Saturday, December 27, 2008

Trip Itinerary

  • Days 1-3: Traveled to IRC's health office in Jajarkot (1.5 hours by plane followed by 9 bumpy hours by car followed by 4 sweaty hours by foot. Up and up and up.)

  • Day 4: Acclimatized, met IRC health staff. Felt thrilled by the uninterrupted mountain views, old men playing checkers in the streets, packs of donkeys carrying rice.

  • Days 5 and 6: Facilitated a report-writing workshop with our 8 Nepali health staff. Collapsed each night, exhausted. Felt more fresh and useful than I have in months.

  • Day 7: Vomited my brains out. (The culprit – the thistle dish I ate the night before. A village staple, they grind the spiky plant and mix it with oil and salt and potatoes. My stomach said no, all day long.)

  • Day 8 – 9: Walked two days to Salma village to meet two women with severe uterine prolapse. Walked with Purna and Rajan, two members of IRC health team. On trail, learned the Nepali national anthem. How to say, "steep uphill," and "steep downhill" in Nepali. Taught our anthem. Felt utterly alive.

  • Day 10: Met women in Salma village. Mandiri and Sangita. Talked to them about their upcoming trip, listened to their fears. Chewed on dried soybeans from Mandari's fall harvest.

  • Day 11: Walked 12 hours with Mandari, Sangita, Mandari's husband and little son ("Babu") and Sangita's mother in law to bus town. Witnessed them see their first car. First stereo. Witnessed them meet the 20 other women who have also come for the surgery.

  • Day 12 (CHRISTMAS!): Wait for the bus. Teach 'telephone' and 'who has the rock?' games to the women. Take bus halfway to hospital. (4 hours.) Stay overnight in chicken-poop-smelly town. In middle of the night, step in pile of green vomit outside my room. Swear.

  • Day 13: (Yesterday!)– Take bus rest of way to hospital. Follow women as they are admitted.

  • Today, tomorrow and coming days: Hang out in hospital. Talk with women. Take more pictures. Shower.

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