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Meet the Anis (nuns)

Ani Yangchen

I am Ani Yangchen. I am 17 years old but I look older than I am. I am a Buddhist nun. I belong to Nagi Gompa which is located below Shivapuri. It's been 2 years that I am living as a nun.

How I came in this clinic is that Phakchok Rinpoche asked if I would be an interpreter and help the doctors because we have foreign doctors coming to the clinic. The villagers in Chapagaon do not speak or understand English. That is how I became a member of this clinic, the Bajra Barahi Monastery Clinic.

I enjoy working with the doctors as an interpreter. I am so happy that I can help people. I enjoy hearing stories of the people. Also, I have learned about many health conditions. I have seen things I never knew about before with peoples health and the body. I have become interested in acupuncture and understanding how the needles work. Sometimes I even dream at night about patients, like the man who told me his stomach was so bloated he felt like he had a baby in it. I feel helpful because patients tell me that they are thankful that I can speak to the doctor.

Thank you. Love, Ani Yangchen

Ani Kalpana

My name is Ani Kalpana. I'm 27 years old. I live in Nagi Gompa (a monastery). I have been a nun for 14 years. During these 14 years, I never noticed how the time passed at my peaceful and beautiful monastery. The monastery (Gompa) is like a heaven.

The elder nun and my friends who are in the monastery are friendly with each other and caring. I work in the clinic at the monastery. Because of that, the elder nun sent me to learn something from here for my monastery.

I wish I could help and serve society. Especially the older citizens and poor people. I'm so pleased with Dr. Nicky [our clinic coordinator] because she trained me. If she had not trained me I would not know how to work in the clinic.

I have learned many things from here. It's very enjoyable working with a group. I never thought it would be fun and enjoyable. I love the way Diane works and her smile is so lovely. People get well from acupuncture and they are happy.

Thank you. Love, Ani Kalpana

Clinic Finishes Third Week

Garret treating a Nepali womanDiane treating a Newari womanWoman with a headacheNewari man with cups

After 15 clinic days our team has provided 1100 acupuncture treatments to over 600 patients. We have had such amazing success at relieving chronic pain, severe headaches and some neurological issues that we have graduated many of our patients on to maintenance treatment schedules. We are now seeing far more complicated cases including gastric ulcers, skin rashes and lesions, congestive heart failure and angina, astronomical numbers of hypertension cases, injuries from physical abuse, and many cases involving malnutrition.

One of the most difficult things we are seeing are patients who have had tuberculosis and have undergone 10-12 months of multi-drug treatment. Between the destructive nature of the disease and the toxic effects of the long-term treatment, these patients have had every system in their bodies ravaged. We hope that with regular acupuncture treatments, herbal medicine, dietary changes and excercise we can slowly help them recover some of their vitality.

We have all settled into a more sustainable treatment pace of about 80 patients per day. This pace allows us to spend more time with each patient while still providing enough treatment capacity to meet the communities needs. It also allows us to take care of ourselves with regular meals and enough rest (something we were certainly lacking the first week or so). We have also found the best shop in town to drink Nepali tea.

Thanks for your continued support... we have enjoyed all of the email! --Andrew

Andrew with interpreter, Mohan
Leith with patient

Clinic Opens With a Bang

Leith in the clinic
Line in the waiting room

It seems so long ago (Nov. 10th) that we were all sitting on the roof of the clinic drinking tea and wondering if anyone would show up. Then the doors opened... After seven 10 hour days, our team of four has treated nearly 600 people. It has been a very exciting, challenging and exhausting week for all of us. Many of our patients have never seen a doctor in their entire life and every morning they flood into the clinic and sometimes wait up to six hours to be treated. Chronic pain from a lifetime of backbreaking work is the most common complaint however we have also treated dozens of asthma cases, strokes, skin conditions, unhealed broken bones, leopard attack wounds, diabetes, gastritis and ear infections. We have treated patients as old as 90 and as young as 6 months. All have been overwhelmingly receptive to what must be a completely confusing experience. Many of our patients have been thrown by us needling a wrist or a foot to treat their shoulder pain and we have been asked numerous times "what kind of medicine is on the needles?" Most days the electricity goes out at some point and we treat our last few patients by candlelight.

 Andrew in the clinicDiane in the clinic

We are completely indebted to our interpreting staff who have been working tirelessly beside us facilitating our crucial verbal link with our patients. And to the kind monks at the monastery who make sure we get an ample supply of Nepali tea and food during the day. In the evenings we sit on the roof, laugh, unwind and share what we have learned during the day. Currently we are back in Kathmandu taking a two day rest, eating large quantities of western food and indulging in hot showers. The clinic reopens on November 21st and we are looking forward another full week.

Thanks for all of the email and words of encouragement. Stay tuned for future updates.

 Newari women in the clinicView from the clinic

Team Arrives in Nepal

Team Arrives

The Acupuncture Relief Project team arrived in Kathmandu, Nepal Monday November 3rd. We were warmly welcomed by Phakchok Rinpoche and his staff who are all very enthusiastic about our stay in Nepal. Through considerable effort, our team was able to bring over 500lbs. of acupuncture supplies and herbal medicines for our clinic project. We have spent the last three days at the clinic site in Chapaguan (a village about a hour and a half south of Kathmandu) enjoying spectacular views of the Himalayas. We have a brand new building to work out of next to a small Tibetan monastery housing over 50 novice monks. We have met with several local businessmen and community leaders who received treatment and are eager to spread the word about out clinic opening on November 10th. We are all very excited to be here and are ready to get started.

Thanks to all of our families, friends and to our generous donors for giving us the support to make this project possible.

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