We are settling into a routine at the clinic now. At 5 a.m. we are awakened by the sound of symbols and drums, followed by the sounds of "elephant" horns from the monastery next door as the monks start their morning meditation. We shower, practice yoga, qi gong, or meditate to the sounds of the village slowly awakening. Those of us who are taking care of the latest flu cases, check on the the sick monks and give them treatment. Then we eat our breakfast of curried potatoes and chapatis, or pounded rice and milk tea.
At 9 a.m. the clinic opens. We are treating a wide array of conditions from knee, back and shoulder pain, to myriad of digestive issues from parasites to ulcers. We also treat a lot of hypertension, diabetes, asthma, pneumonia, and a woman with a prolapsed uterus. On top of all that we have been treating some trauma cases from the construction site next door.
At 10:30, Umilla our fabulous cook, brings us sweet tea to keep our energy up and to give the interpreters a bit of a break to wet their throats. By 12:30 we have finished treating our morning patients, and break for lunch. The food is delicious and nutritious, consisting of Dal- Bhaat (brown rice with lentil soup), bitter greens, and curried vegetables.
At 1 p.m. it is back to work to treat our afternoon patients. As we bid farewell to our interpreters at 5pm, we clean and straighten up our clinic rooms and discuss the difficult cases of the day. Slowly, young monks with upset stomachs, minor injuries, or new flu cases trickle in and are treated.
By 6:30 it is time for dinner and around 9:30 p.m. we crawl into bed to the sounds of the village "street dogs" singing or asserting their territorial rights to sleep on a particular doorstep or defend it from interlopers. As we fall into sleep, we wonder what challenges tomorrow will bring.