Jeep Safari Adventure Spectacular

After a lot of caffeine last night my mind wanted to rest but my body wouldn’t let it, or my body wanted rest but my brain wouldn’t switch off. Either way, I didn’t get much sleep, but who needs sleep anyway?! Especially when it’s time to get up and go on a safari! 😁

It was so misty and cold when we got on the bus to the riverside, we distracted ourselves with animal impressions. We have mastered the Rhino.

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We got to the riverside and had to clamber into a long canoe to take us across the crocodile infested water to the other bank. We had to squat in a line, it was pretty inelegant and I didn’t feel very secure as it rocked from side to side. Luckily I hadn’t got in the last boat as Keshab was stood at one end of it, purposefully rocking it and shouting “Don’t worry crocodile curry” then laughing!

We had a short walk to the jeeps and all piled in. There were 3 jeeps altogether and us UK girls were in the middle one. We followed a track through areas of tall grass and huge trees. It had rained the night before and some parts were quite slippy. We experienced our first stuck jeep early on in the journey. It required most of the guys to hop off and push to get it out of the mud, then the same with the other 2 jeeps that followed.

Not long after the mist lifted and we saw lots of spotted deer

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The ongoing saga of our vehicles getting stuck in the mud continued….all day. Luckily there was plenty of wildlife to see, check out these ferocious tigers

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πŸ˜‰

After getting stuck in the mud multiple times our hard staring finally paid off and we saw all the real wildlife! A bright blue beautiful kingfisher, a pretty male peacock and some macaques. Whenever we passed a lake or river we would see loads of marsh mugger crocodiles. But we were all desperately looking for tigers, leopards and rhinos. Finally luck came our way and one of the guides tapped on the back of their jeep telling it to stop, he pointed to some tall grass….and we could see some twitchy grey ears, a rhino! The first jeep tried to slowly approach it to get a better look. The rhino got scared and trotted off into the bushes, we got a brief glimpse of his horn and his bottom as he turned away.

I know this does not sound too exciting, but I loved it!!! I was so happy we got to see one and see how big they are. All day we could see their trails in the tall grass where they had been stomping, and big piles of poop where they have there own bathroom area, then we actually saw one 😍

The sun was really beating down by midday, it was so much fun stood on the back of the jeep, flying through the jungle getting thrown around. It was nearly lunch time as we drove through another tall grass area, the first jeep hurried ahead and our guide tapped the jeep causing it to halt. Another rhino was stood, hiding in the grass.

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This is my picture the rhino, I could see it pretty well on the jeep I’m just a terrible photographer 😬

After all this excitement we drove to a river side for lunch. We had fried rice with curried vegetables and a tomato paneer cheese thing, which was delicious.

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We tried to skim some stones, but were terrible, but it was rumoured Keshab was amazing so we called him down. He confidently told us he is “fucking awesome” at skimming stones, and went ahead to prove himself right. He never quite got it to the other side of the river though. Then he called us all back to the buses and decided to tell us a ‘non-veg joke’ which we’ve heard are pretty funny.

Well we were all laughing by the end of the ten minute story, but probably for many different reasons. Even after a few magic cokes Keshab couldn’t quite say some words, he hilariously danced around the subject, which was quite difficult considering the content of his joke. Some people looked amused, others less so. Then it was time to go back through the jungle for several more hours.

We chatted with our guide, he’s worked the job for 20 years and knows the jungle extremely well after spending days walking tourists through it or going on the jeep. He had encountered tigers before and he had even had to use a stick on a sloth bear that had gotten a bit aggressive with him on occasion. He was so knowledgeable and had a lot of respect for the environment and the animals within it.

After a quick stop off at a crocodile conservation centre we finally made it back to the river near our hotel. On one side of us the sun was setting and on the other was a snow topped mountain range. A perfect end to a wonderful day.

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Life is good πŸ’πŸ˜πŸ—πŸŠπŸΎπŸŒΏβ˜€οΈ

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Devghat Sightseeing

I spent last night with my Australian neighbours trying to play drinking games. I was the only representative of the UK and I don’t think I embarrassed the nation too much 😊 apart from when I had to do an Australian accent….some of you know very well how bad I am at that (“fosters”) πŸ˜‰

This morning without even a slight hangover I went to an important Hindu area, Devghat, with the rest of the volunteer group. As we drove in we could see the rivers below appearing between the gaps in the trees. You could tell right from the start it was going to be a day full of beautiful things!

First we had to cross a long narrow bridge, I tried to snap a few photos on my phone, but I was also nervous I might drop it and lose it between the gaps underfoot.

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Then we walked through several streets to take us to a residential home for elderly people. Often people are cared for by their families as they get older but here are people who, for unfortunate reasons, are without family to help support them. There are 31 elderly people living here and it is given a little bit of funding from the government.

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They played some music, sang and danced. We gave out oranges, little yellow balls (that I am not a fan of) and some fried sugar treats. It was quite cold and although they were well wrapped up we bid them farewell so they could go back inside and stay warm.

We continued our walk through the area, which is scattered with homes and many shrines. We walked down some steep steps and peered through the bamboo leaves at the beautiful river below. A small religious area was created from a natural cave like crevice, with cages enclosing shrines and incense.

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We all walked further down to the rivers edge and got aboard some little boats to cross to the other side. I was my graceful self and managed to fall backwards off my seat nearly getting my bottom soaked in a puddle. Luckily my other volunteer friends saved me 😁

At the other side we headed back to our bus and drove out of Devghat on the windy roads. Getting stuck at one point whilst a family repositioned the body of a loved one on the back of a tractor. They would be taking them down to the river for a religious ceremony, cremating the body. It was a bit awkward as I don’t think our driver had realised what was going on. He was impatient and quite heavy handed at beeping the horn 😳

The driver (whom we have been referring to as Pooh, due to him wearing a Winnie the Pooh cap) pulled over in a nearby town for us to enjoy some lunch. Spicy chicken, with curried vegetables, Dahl and naan bread, it was delicious!

I have spent the rest of my evening chilling out, drinking too much caffeine and catching up with my blog πŸ˜Šβ˜•οΈ Tomorrow we go on a jeep safari where I might get to see a Rhino or maybe even a tiger if I’m lucky!

It’s fun being a tourist X

Headlice and Hand washing

Now I know you are probably assuming from the title that I have now become infested with headlice, luckily this is not the case.

It was our final couple of days of working in villages with SVPI. The village we went to needed a bit of help digging a long trench out to lay pipes in, which would provide them with access to clean drinking water. A very important job!

First we went to visit the local day centre where little kids go, allowing their parents to work without the stress of worrying that the children are lost in the jungle in danger of bumping into Rhinos. Very different concerns to those of families back home in the uk. The day centre is just a very basic building with a few educational posters on the wall and a mass of wide eyed curious little children running around inside. I was apprehensive as usual whenever I have to hang out with little kids, or big kids. But I need not have feared, they were pretty cute, especially one girl who was sporting a lovely grey iPhone jumper. We all took a shine to her and nicknamed her apple. They took it in turns to do an alphabet including English words and Nepalese words. When it was Apple’s turn she would point to each word say it very slowly and turn round and shoot us all a cheeky smile ☺️

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We all tried to get stuck in digging the trench and the locals were digging away too. Gradually the local people (including elderly people and pregnant ladies) would take over from us and do a super impressive job after we had all made a good effort. We packed up on the first day patting ourselves on the back, we walked round the corner and saw the rest of the trench plotted out for digging the next day! There was still a lot of work to be done.

On the second day we drove right down to the river at the same village. We would be providing a first aid area, hand washing and headlice sessions, tooth brushing sessions and men’s and women’s health discussions. I had done most areas previously apart from hand washing and headlice treatment. So I decided to do this on my last day of work. This involved a lot of interaction with the children again.

I took a deep breath and approached the children, bars of soap in hand. They were great and I could tell they had received hand washing sessions before. There was one shy little girl, a bit reluctant to wash her feet. This was my big moment. I picked her up ( I don’t think I’ve ever picked up a child before, I was surprised how light she was/how strong I am), I sat her on my knee at the river edge and gave her feet a good wash before putting her shoes back on and sending her to the headlice treatment area. I was pretty proud of myself, she didn’t cry or run away 😊

Then I tried my hand at head lice treatment. This involves massaging into hair a mixture of mustard seed and water, leaving for a few minutes and rinsing before applying oil and combing out. I found myself a child who had already had mustard rubbed in their hair (I knew this because she smelt like a mild mustard salad dressing). She was so trusting and let me wash her hair and comb through oil; I remember when my mum would do my hair and I would kick up such a fuss. I asked the girl what her name was, I didn’t understand what she said in response, but she smiled and walked off. Another job well done!

I caught up with the rest of the group who had been doing the women’s health discussion. They had found one woman suffering a severe prolapse who would now be going to hospital for corrective surgery. Another woman approached me holding her little girl. She held out the girl’s hands, showing us some burn scars which had healed fusing some of her fingers and her thumbs together. This was highlighted to the group and she also will now hopefully receive corrective surgery which will obviously improve her quality of life significantly in the long run.

It was such a great last day of health work, topped off with a palatable lunch of cheese and tomato toasties and mango juice 😊. I spent my evening with a few of the other volunteers playing charades and busting out some pretty great animal impressions.

Life is grrrrrreat (a super tiger impression see πŸ˜‰) x

BIRTHDAY

Today I’ve turned 26, and what a great day it’s been!

I woke up early and gently reminded my roomies about our important day πŸ˜‰. I had a few cards to open that had been given to me before leaving England. I also had a card that arrived at the hotel the night before from my Grandma (it was a Christmas card, but exciting all the same!). My roomies also surprised me with wonderful gifts and cards πŸ˜„

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When it was time to go for breakfast I left the room to find a box of chocolates taped to balloons and a surgical face mask with “happy birthday” written on it. At breakfast they did banana pancakes for everyone, my favourite!!

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With the whole day off we decided to go explore a local town, which is about 20 minutes away. We wanted to go by horse and cart so waved down the first one we saw. This happened to be probably the smallest horse around and the driver encouraged all 4 of us to hop on saying it would be no problem. The horse disagreed and reared, causing me and Lynda to nearly fall into the road. Eventually the horse slowly trotted onwards. Everyone laughed and stared as we went by their shops. It was definitely an experience I won’t forget, we agreed we would get a bigger horse back or a taxi if we could find one!

The town we went to was called Tandi and it was a mass of shops selling fake Chanel clothes and angry birds merchandise. We walked down the side streets and saw meat stalls with pigs heads and whole chickens laid in the sunshine. There were loads of material stores, with beautiful fabrics covering every wall.

We were hungry, thirsty and wanted to stop for some lunch, which is always a bit of gamble when about town here in Nepal. A sign caught our eye, “twinkle cake and cafe castle”. We went into a huge dark room, the only customers. A guy served us very slowly and mainly getting our order wrong. But the food was good (apart from some crazy spicey bread which was completely inedible). We got a taxi back to our town.

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I went out for a walk looking for a ring to add to my collection. I found a lovely silver ring with a piece of clear glass in it. I like having pieces of jewellery from different places in the world.

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Back at the hotel we got ready for the party. Unfortunately the guy I was sharing my Birthday with was poorly so he stayed up in his room. We all enjoyed a barbecue outside with an interesting selection of music. I got free drinks all night, which worked out well for the bar because I can’t manage a lot of alcohol. They also provided us with some hot rum punch, which gave off a lot of fumes in the steam. Everyone did great dancing, and then I was presented with a beautiful cake and flowers, whilst people sang “happy birthday Ebola”, haha!

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I cut my cake and the Australians told me that it is tradition in their country that if the knife comes out dirty you have to kiss the closest guy to you! I know I’m not Australian but the pier pressure got to me and I joined in and gave Raj a peck on the cheek 😳

We continued dancing even through the rain that made a surprise visit. I had such a super day!

Being 26 is not too bad so far X

The Mint Village

My alarm went off at 04:50am, it was time for another day of hiking. I watched as Lynda packed her rucksack, I still felt tired from the effects of not eating as much as I usually stuff in. I decided though I would only regret it if I didn’t make myself go.

The days plan; to go by bus for an hour to the base of a hill, then walk for approximately 3 hours to a village. At the village the volunteers would work with doctors to provide a health camp and hand washing sessions for the local communities. We would then walk back down the hill and get the bus back to the hotel. So it would be a long day!

We watched the sunrise on the bus journey out. We piled out the bus and started the walk. It was a bit steadier than the previous hill walk, with only a few river crossings to contend with. In a few areas the path would become narrow and force you to the edge because of previous landslides. We stopped for a nutritious breakfast of boiled eggs and bread (we were expecting this and many of us packed biscuits to enjoy insteadπŸ˜‰).

I soon dropped to the back of the group and slathered on the factor 50, it was such a hot day to be out hiking! Luckily all us volunteers get on well. We had a good laugh about our embarrassing levels of fitness whilst locals of about 60years old essentially ran past us, uphill, with huge baskets of rice and supplies strapped to their heads.

The village was quaint and beautiful and smelt of mint on the walk in. We had been expecting about 400 people to arrive but apparently there were several weddings on locally so there would be less demand. We put our supplies into separate rooms to create a doctors room, a first aid room and a gynaecologists room. Toothbrushes and soap were piled up ready to go in an open area outside.

I patched up a few fingers, toes and knees on several shy children. Then I went in to observe the doctors sessions, they were brilliant. One elderly man had been carried to the village on his son’s back. He had difficulty with his vision, cataracts, and pain when walking from osteoarthritis. The doctor suggested surgery to improve his vision and gave him pain medication for his arthritis, then his son carried him away again. I have no idea how far they walked, but I’m sure it’s further than I would ever imagine carrying another human.

The gynaecologist was a funny man, very interested in hearing how our degree is structured in the uk. Women came to him because they were recently married and hadn’t conceived a child yet. He mainly dealt with gynaecological issues,but he would also see people with general health complaints too. He said he had learnt a lot from other doctors doing health camps before.

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After several hours of work, we all had the spiciest vegetables with rice for lunch. Then began the walk back down, racing against the descending sun. We hopped across rivers and slipped down the loose stones all the way down to the bus. We waited in the darkness for the rest of the group to catch up. When we got back to the hotel I decided I deserved a nice glass of beer!

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It was a challenging day, we were so tired. I’m so glad I went and accomplished such a long walk after being ill, but it was also so nice to experience another village and provide help to people who struggle to access any healthcare.

Life is good! 😊 x

Nepali Nursing College

After spending an entire day in my room feeling sorry for myself I ventured into the dining room to try and eat a bit of something. I was greeted by lots of friendly faces and genuine concern, which I loved. As I carefully put a few vegs on my plate I heard a familiar tune.

“Nicola, she’s got Ebola”, apparently it has become quite a hit in the past 24hours. I managed a couple of bites of dinner and then went back to bed.

The next day was an early rise at 5am, with breakfast at 5:30. I still felt pretty horrendous but couldn’t wait to have a mini break from the short sentence I’d been serving in my room. It was only me, Lynda and Millie going out, the group had been granted a day of rest. Supplies of toilet paper and rehydration sachets had been scattered outside rooms. About half the group have been struck down with the disgusting gastro illness and our group will forever be known as the “spew group”.

Anyway, we were off to a nursing college for the morning to see how they do things over here in Nepal. Our journey was not the most relaxing experience. Our rear lights were out so we had the hazards on whilst navigating slowly through the mist and dark, avoiding cyclists, pedestrians, motorbikes and elephants. We could barely see a meter in front of the car the whole way. The driver did a fab job and we got to the college in one piece.

All of the nursing students were coming in for a 7am start in their beautiful lilac uniforms. We met some of the teachers who told us a bit about the college. This is a college of about 120 students, 40 in each year. They study for three years for a diploma in general nursing, so they cover all topics including paediatric nursing and midwifery. Students can start from about 16years old and they pay for each year of study, I cant remember how much, but it was a substantial amount!

We went into classes and introduced ourselves and explained what we do in England and some of the differences we have seen in practice in Nepal. We openly discussed things like the lack of hand hygiene, and they said they knew how important it is but the hospitals don’t have great facilities and they don’t have time between working with so many patients. We asked what they do if they get needlestick injuries, they said “nothing”. We were horrified, with the prevalence of HIV here that is a pretty scary thought. The teacher explained that the third year students who are involved in a lot of stitching in Caesarean sections are responsible for a lot of needlestick injuries, they all giggled.

We got shown around some of their practice rooms, there was a hospital room with simulation dummies. Their community room was focused on health education, and health promotion, apparently some nurses do home visits but this is mainly health prevention work, which is really positive. They also had a maternity focused room, which seemed well equipped with pictures of foetuses and breast development and another dummy in the room. I couldn’t compare this room to anything back home because we don’t do any midwifery.

After our tour we hung out with the staff whilst we waited for our ride. We had chats about their favourite movies, apparently anything with Angelina Jolie seemed to be a hit and another lady was besotted with “letters to Juliet”. One teacher invited us to her wedding in February, we politely declined as we would no longer be in Nepal at that point. They also invited us to a picnic on Friday but we would be busy working with the volunteer project.

After an interesting couple of hours I was happy to be back at the hotel relaxing and recovering. I started reading some of the book “Little Princes” I was worried I might struggle to get into it as it has rather serious content, but I’m loving the way it is written so far and would highly recommend it from the first couple of chapters.

Life is getting better X

Deadly D and V

D and V (diarrhoea and vomiting) is what this post will mainly be about because that has unfortunately ruled my life the past couple of days. Luckily there are no photos included in this post πŸ˜‰

I had a surprising wake up call at 6am on Sunday, I put this down to having lived mostly on boiled eggs and dry bread the previous few days. I ignored the fact that several of the volunteer group had been struck down with a terrible stomach bug recently whilst I ate my breakfast.

I was due to be going to a rural pharmacy for the day, where villagers present with a wide range of ailments, which would be an awesome experience. However, traveling 45mins to get to a rural village (with probably only one very basic toilet) and finding out then that I was in fact very sick, would not be an awesome experience at all! I decided to stay at the hotel on my own, and this was a very wise decision.

Whilst my roomies were out working I suffered a bit of an upset stomach, but nothing I couldn’t handle. When they came back excited and telling me about their day watching tooth extractions and diagnosing patients with fractured hips, I took a turn for the worse. Lynda went for a refreshing shower and I rudely interrupted with the first of many violent vomiting episodes. This certainly helped breakdown some boundaries between me and my room mates, who share just a small bedroom and bathroom with me 😳

And so the afternoon continued, with me apologising as I stumbled to and from the bathroom every few minutes. The perks of sharing a room with student nurses is they know how to be compassionate πŸ˜‰ luckily I don’t take life too seriously and I enjoyed a bit of gentle bullying from them too. They devised a new song,

“Nicola, she has the Ebola”, it is quite repetitive and catchy (very like my stomach bug).

After a few hours and many litres of water, I was still no better, there was no end in sight for this horror. I was dizzy, my heart was racing, my hands and feet were cold and tingly. My blood pressure was obviously low because I was rapidly becoming dehydrated. I couldn’t believe how quickly I had deteriorated.

I started having terrifying thoughts of being admitted as a patient to the local very unhygienic hospital we had been working in. They would probably poke me with all kinds of horrible needles, I would have to lay on the dirty floor next to patients suffering TB, who would cough in my face….my dehydration may have been getting the better of me at this point.

My roomies were awesome and gave me some anti sickness tablets to take, but I couldn’t hold them down. Then they took it in turns sitting with me whilst the other had dinner. Then they went to go get more meds from the local pharmacy, on the back of another volunteers motorbike.

Millie turned up with some intravenous ondansetron and a couple of medical students who were ready and willing to administer it. Cleverly Lynda had packed a lot of sterile needles, syringes and gauze in her suitcase, which were greatly appreciated. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t even usually take paracetamol for a headache, and I am certainly not a fan of needles. On this occasion though I was quite happy to offer up my arm.

They used a headband as a tourniquet and wrestled with the vial of medication to get it open. I was a bit nervous the med student might have to stick me with the needle several times to get a vein as I’ve been tricky for people before taking blood etc.

I didn’t express this though, I was just so grateful there were people able and willing to do this for me. I needn’t have worried anyway, turns out he is awesome at giving IV meds and hit the jackpot first time! They wished me well and said they were happy to come back if I needed cannulating and fluids putting up. Which was super kind of them! And I’m sure they enjoy every opportunity they get to practice their skills πŸ˜‰

Half an hour later and I hadn’t vomited, not even once! It was a beautiful miracle! I gradually tried to rehydrate. I spent the rest of the next day stuck in my room, not eating and suffering abdo pains, but I could drink, and I was gradually improving.

Since coming to Nepal I have learnt a lot about health, just in a very different way to how I had planned. Hopefully my luck changes soon

X

The Come Down

After a sleepless night sharing a cold school room with 15 people. I finally arose to a spectacular view over the hills, which I enjoyed whilst chowing down on some more boiled eggs and dry bread, yum.

Then we set to work organising the local people into groups of men and women to talk about specific health issues. With a translator we spoke to about 50 women, to learn what they understood about sexual health and advise them on safe practices. The volunteer group also tried to promote good hygiene practices. Then we spoke about symptoms of UTIs and asked the women with suspected UTIs to queue up and we distributed oral medication and creams and gave advice on how to use them.

I believe the men’s group also spoke about sexual health and had a handcrafted piece of wood to demonstrate the application of condoms. Haha!

Then it was time for lunch, more spicy vegetables and rice. I just had a small amount of rice it was too hot in the middle of the day for eating a lot. Then it was time to descend back down the mountain. A lot of us were feeling pretty apprehensive about going down the steep slopes in case we slipped and fell to our deaths 😳

I hung out near the back of the group on the way down and sure enough fell on my bum. Some of my fellow volunteers rushed to help me and ask if I was ok, I was fine, my dignity was just a bit bruised πŸ˜”

The rest of the walk down went without any problems and it was so much more enjoyable than going up! We even had a little dog who joined us and followed us all the way down! ☺️

We got on the bus for our long journey home, and had a slightly less considerate driver than on the way there. We hit ever lump and bump in the road which would literally send us flying out of our seats. We were sat on the back row of the bus, which was a new experience. You get all of the dust from under the bus come and sweep over you constantly. My hair looked grey my bumbag was very dusty and I couldn’t wait to get in and have a wash.

I used a baby wipe on my face whilst I waited for the shower to become free

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My face was so mucky! Like a little dirty pig 😊 it was so good having a wash and settling down for a good sleep. Little did I know what would happen next…….

X

“Hill” Walk

It was an early start, we were up even earlier than the ridiculous cockerel that we hear every day! But I was super excited! We were going on an hour bus journey up to the base of a hill, where we would then walk for about 3-4hours to get to a village.

We had a cup of tea and got on the bus, it is an open sided bus so it was a bit of a fresh journey. We went past some elephants and plenty of mustard seed fields. We got gradually more remote and could see rice fields and huge mountains that were cultivated on even the steepest slopes. Our bus went on some windy roads through some rivers and eventually stopped in a village at the base of some huge hills (I would definitely call them mountains). We used the last toilet we would see for many hours, a stinky hole in the ground, I tried not to get pee on my trousers, I think I was mainly successful. Then we hung out with some baby goats.

One of the Australian girls Sierra snapped a good 40 pictures of herself hugging the baby goats, the locals just watched, probably very confused about out behaviours. But those were some cute goats!!!

Then we started our hike in our sandals (which Australians funnily refer to as “thongs” haha!). We would be crossing a river 20+ times so sandals were the most appropriate footwear? I hadn’t been that keen on the idea, but they did the job.

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After about 40minutes walking gradually uphill we stopped for breakfast, boiled eggs and bread. I slapped on some factor 50, hoping not to burn myself anymore. The view was amazing and a little house was pointed out to us high up on a hill side. Apparently an elderly man had been loving on a cave and when Keshab found out some of the locals worked together to provide him with this house. Now he lives more comfortably.

Then we carried on with out hike, which involved a lot of stepping up big boulders and trying not to break your ankles on loose stones. The local porters blazed ahead of us carrying massive suitcases and bags full of medications and bedding and clothes to be donated. They made it look so easy….but it wasn’t. Towards the last half hour of walking the route got really steep and narrow with one side dropping down into the valley. We were all sweating buckets and stopping for photos as an excuse for a breather.

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Coming over the final edge into the village we were greeted by a few villagers, confused as to why we were so sweaty and out of breath. We were all very pleased with ourselves and compared sweaty back patches, we were all winners! Then we got our work stations set up again, hand washing and first aid. More and more people arrived from the hills, I heard some had walked for a couple of hours to be seen here.

A lot of the injuries and health issues were closely related to issues with hygiene. A lot of wound were infected and slow healing due to the amount of dust and dirt cakes into them. It is understandable though as they have to work very hard and this environment is very dusty. I washed and covered a lot of minor wounds. One poor little baby boy must have had about 4 or 5 oozing wounds. They appeared to be from bites that had been itchy and become infected. Another major issue here seemed to be dry, infected or irritated eyes, again from all of the dust. People were having their eyes irrigated and being given eye drops.

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In the afternoon we chilled out and had some lunch, curried vegetables and rice. Then we set up our bedroom for the night. The buildings they use as a school. We had foam on the floor and a few blankets and pillows, it was quite cosy looking.

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Unlike the toilets 😳

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We spent the evening around a fire, having magic coke (coke with any form of alcohol πŸ˜‰) and some barbecue. Then we tried to settle down for a restful night.

Trying to Catch Up

I’ve been without wifi for several days now, so I’m having to catch up with my blog. I’ve got plenty of time today because now to top off my sunburn, cold and scabies I’ve got a bit of jelly-belly…..anyway, more about that later.

Keshab works with the volunteer programme I’m with, SVPI. He is a local community leader, over the past couple of decades he has worked with several rural communities to help make them more self sufficient. He helps promote education and provided essential resources like access to clean water and has bought goats for the villages.

On Thursday we went to look at one of the villages he has been supporting. There was a blind lady living here and he had encouraged the villagers to support each other and this lady where possible. Whilst we looked around several villagers carefully followed us, intrigued by the sudden prevalence of foreign people. It was a really beautiful and remote village, with chickens, goats and cows living harmoniously with the people. There were vegetables growing everywhere even on the roof tops!! I loved these coke bottles that had been used as plant pots ☺️

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After this we hopped back on the bus and went to where the local day centre is for small children and a school for slightly older kids too. Keshab explained how important these facilities are as many of the men go into other local towns to labour and women will look after the crops and animals or also go and labour. Obviously having a day centre and school provides a decent environment for the children to be in whilst there parents are busy. When we arrived they all greeted us with little flowers.

I went into the day centre where the SVPI group were donating some toys and balloons. I am a bit unfamiliar with children and felt pretty awkward but they were super cute, especially once they got in to playing with balloons.

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After hanging out with the kids we prepared the work stations in the garden area between the school and day centre. We had a tooth brushing station, hand washing station and a first aid station. Student nurses and doctors worked at the first aid station to assess small wounds, injuries and health issues and treat them when possible or refer on if necessary to the hospital. I cleaned a few wounds and patched them up as best as I could, feeling grateful for my previous experience in community nursing, which was mainly wound dressings. I also spotted a bad case of scabies now that I’m an expert in it πŸ˜‰. A lot of children had very sore ears too, it seems they don’t get them washed often or thoroughly and this would lead to infected areas of skin. One of the medical students showed us how to create a draining instrument for ears filled with wax, using just tissues.

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Some volunteers helped distribute tooth brushes and encouraged the children to have a good scrub around their mouths. Other volunteers worked at the hand wash station using bars of soap and jugs of water to clean the children’s hands. And plenty of people had fun playing with the children outside on their break. I believe some volunteers who are teachers worked in the classroom reading books about dinosaurs too!

It was a very varied day. When we were finished we waved goodbye and hopped on a bus to a stream where we had a picnic in the jungle. I had rice and spicy vegetables sat on my rucksack whilst people squealed with grasshoppers hopping all over them.

Friday and Saturday were going to be days of hiking up a hill to a very remote village to set up a health camp and provide educational discussions about women’s and men’s health. When we got back we had to dash into town to buy some essentials (for me this was an attractive new pair of sandals πŸ˜” ). Then it was time to pack our bags and have an early night. This is when I saw my hearty sunburn on my neck, let’s just hope it burnt any scabies bugs if there were any remaining πŸ˜‰

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