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The Magic of Determination

Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Kaikit Wong

I meet Buddhi for the first time at the end of the second last week of the camp. He had a stroke 5 years ago which affected the mobility of his left arm and hand. Although he can walk quite normally without limping, the stroke left constant burning sensation in his left hip and leg. 

I think to myself, "OMG, I only have 6 days left in camp. What can I do for this man?"

Buddhi has almost no strength in his left arm, and poor grip in his hand. I ask him to hold a stone the size of his palm. He gingerly wraps his fingers around it, lifts up a few millimetres, then drops it. 

I ask Buddhi what he expects me to do for him. He wants just for his hip pain to go away. He believes there isn't much hope for his hand to recover.

"OK, " I said. "We will concentrate on treating your hip but I still want you to work this hand." I make him come for treatment everyday even though he travels a few hours to get to the clinic. I also gave him homework to practice holding the "magic stone" for one hour at home.

Read more: The Magic of Determination

Groundlessness

Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Jesse Jory

Nepal for me was a practice in being comfortable with the feeling of groundlessness. 

Have you ever been on a suspension bridge?  

Nepal, I came to learn, is full of suspension bridges.  My experience as a volunteer acupuncture physician was analogous to crossing a suspension bridge.  After our first week arriving at camp we had our first Saturday off.   It was decided that we would take hike into the local mountains to visit a village.  The day was perfect, the sky clear and we were all excited to venture out and explore.  We visited the villagers high in the mountains of Suping overlooking Bhimphedi.  Our trusted guide Tsering informed us we would be crossing a suspension bridge on our decent back down.  I immediately began to have anxiety as I have a fear of suspension bridges. That feeling of groundlessness gave me a pit in my stomach and sweaty palms as we started our decent and got nearer to the bridge.  

Read more: Groundlessness

Birth

Acupuncture Relief Project  | Good Health Nepal | Paula Rashkow

There was definitely a special something in the air that Saturday night. We had just had a fantastic day off from clinic visiting the home of one of our rock star interpreters. As we wove through farm fields and villages, the other practitioners and I fell in and out of many conversations about what we have been observing of rural life in Nepal. Bottom line: It is hard work. We were constantly trying to figure out what kind of recommendations would be useful and realistic for these folks who farm the land of the Himalayan foothills. So much of what we see in clinic is basic wear and tear from years of walking these hills with heavy loads and the back breaking labor it is to subsistence farm without the mechanization we are used to in the west. We also see lots of COPD from cooking over open fires in the home with no chimney to ventilate, eyes becoming scarred and irritated from so much dust and sun exposure, and trickier issues of lots of GERD from an irregular eating regimen, unmanaged diabetes and hypertension all probably due to modernizing processed diet over the past few decades.

Read more: Birth

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