Volunteer Trip to Nepal
Back in November I was given the opportunity to take my nursing services across the globe to Nepal. I spent a week in Kathmandu assisting a local orthopedic hospital with a team from America called Operation Walk Chicago. This foundation visits underprivileged hospitals all around the world to provide surgeries for low-income residents who would normally not be able to afford any treatment at all. The surgeries and supplies are almost entirely contributed by donations and the volunteers do not get paid. Not only does the team provide surgeries to the local residents, but we educate the hospital staff on how to continue treatment and provide surgeries in the future after the American team goes back home.
Operation Walk Chicago has established a close relationship with the Nepal team and the American team even assisted during the catastrophes of the earthquake back in 2015. I was so privileged to join OWC back in the beginning of 2017, it was an honor to join them again in Nepal.
It took us about 14+ hours to arrive in Kathmandu and took us about another hour to get to the hotel via the shuttle bus. The shuttle could've easily taken about 20 mins, but the streets are barely existent from all the damages of the earthquake and there is no strict traffic laws nor traffic lights. Despite the exhaustion from traveling, we finally arrived in our hotel resort and were relieved to toss our luggage in the room and meet again for drinks and dinner.
We got straight to work on our first full day. The hospital is fairly small and the wait for the ER was long. The medical-surgical unit had our patients already waiting for us to get assessed and begin their renewed lives. When we walked onto the unit we were greeted by the patient's and staff's hands in prayer, a bowed head as they sang, "Namaste."
We organized through our paper work, got patients ready for surgery, omitted and added cases according to their health history and decided whether or not surgery was applicable to that individual. We then explored the hospital and toured our workplace for the next week. The culture is so established that even before entering the carpeted offices, we had to remove our shoes. The staff even has to remove their dirty shoes and change into surgical sandals (Yes, open toed sandals!) before entering the operating rooms in order to keep a sterile environment.
Each day we got better affiliated with one another and worked better and better as a team. On Friday because we completed all our surgeries for the week, some of us were able to enjoy one free day before our departure back home. Some of us explored the country on land, and a few of us snuck away from Kathmandu to the breathtaking (literally breathtaking) views of Mount Everest.
Afterwards, because we were so energized (or y'know high from the changes in altitude) we thought it would a good idea to visit the infamous, yet peaceful Boudhanath Stupa.
Finally, on our last day before going to the airport we went to the hospital for a farewell/celebratory party. We were able to see our patients who before surgery weren't even able to get out of a chair, walk down the hall into the arms of their family members. We left with beautiful yellow scarves as a farewell gift from the patients and headed back home.
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