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Nepal you have taught me a lot. I already have a place for you in my heart.
On Saturday October 1st 2016, I walk through Thamel, a hot spot for tourism in Kathmandu made up of many narrow streets packed with shops, restaurants and cafes. Tomorrow night will be my one month anniversary in Nepal, which I've spent volunteering in Bhaktapur Cancer Hospital, CBR Bhaktapur (community based rehabilitation centre for children with disability) and NRH (nutritional rehab home for children under the age of 14).
I notice today, walking through the busy streets of Thamel among many other tourists, we all have something in common, we all have a confused look on our face. After all, there's alot to take in. Today in particular I'm feeling this emotion, maybe it's a delayed reaction to th change, lack of sleep from last night when I was too busy thinking and not sleeping, or maybe it's confusion from life in general, not just Nepal! I head off to find a cafe to have a coffee and do some more...thinking!
I notice so many different tourists especially in Thamel, all here in Nepal for their own reasons. Doing what they need to do, with that confused look on their face.
I think the hardest think I've found to deal with in Nepal is people, male and female, spitting on the streets. In public. Everywhere. Also I find people stare alot, but not in a rude way, I feel they take things in alot more, observe a lot. Maybe because us tourists look different. Sometimes I find it a little over powering. Then again, I spoke to another volunteer about this and she replied...aren't you staring to know they are!
One thing that has really struck me though, is the kindness of the peole here. There are a lot of nasty people in the world, but thankfully many humble, kind hearted people too, who are so ...
Dinsdagochtend was er slechts 1 vrouw aan het bevallen. En waren er 8 studenten die om haar bed stonden. Toen deze vrouw niet snel genoeg reageerde op de opdrachten van hen, sloegen ze haar of knepen ze haar. De baby werd uiteindelijk met een vacuümpomp gehaald. Toen de vrouw door de pijn schreeuwde, duwden ze een doek over haar gezicht. Doe toch ff normaal..!
Voor ons was er verder die dag geen werk. We zijn wel nog even bij de mini's op neonatologie wezen kijken. Deze baby'tjes werden juist gewogen. 1.25kg, 1.40kg, 1.20kg. Wat een kleintjes!
We wennen hier inmiddels aan de koude douche en van kakkerlakken kijken we ook niet meer gek op. Die zitten niet alleen onder ons bed, maar ook zelfs in de koelkast!
Gisteren besloten we een avonddienst te draaien. We begonnen iets voor 7uur. Op de verlosafdeling was geen enkele vrouw om te bevallen. Er was die dag maar 1 baby geboren en dat is echt heel weinig. Na een praatje met de verloskundige besloten we op de SEH te gaan kijken. Hier was het nog rustig, dus konden we even het logboek bekijken. De meeste patiënten die hier binnen komen hebben: Hiv/Aids, ernstige brandwonden (kinderen), bloedvergiftiging, voedselvergiftiging, overdosis, hersenletsel (door motorongeluk), buikvliesontsteking, maag-darmproblemen of onvolledige miskraam.
Opeens werden er 3 patiënten tegelijk binnengebracht. Een kindje, een jonge vrouw en een jongen. De jongen, later kwamen we erachter dat hij Daniël heet en 17jr is, was bewusteloos en zat helemaal onder het braaksel. De 2 jongemannen die hem binnen brachten legde hem op een bed en kregen van de arts de opdracht om naar de apotheek te gaan en een infuus, infuusvloeistof en een katheter + opvangzak te kopen. Wat zou Daniël mankeren? Hanneke en ik moesten ...
This week at projects abroad we had an interesting week, less than normal due to a couple of circumstances. With two new volunteer arrivals and a temporary departure of our boat the dive schedule was throwin off. On tuesday our first new arrival came then on friday the second; both with different levels of dive experience but both made amazing additions to the volunteer team. Before the boat died we managed to go on several marine life identification dives and one seahorse survey dive. The dives were magical and went by way too fast, I personally didn’t have enough time to take everything in on top of trying to master my new dive skills. The coral reef dives were pretty beautiful and we had some great visibility and weather, although we didn't see anything too rare or spectacular that I wish I could report on. On the Seahorse survey we got to see two sea horses one being almost microscopic, shout out to mila for the good eye, and the second was a decent size seahorse that was really cool to see. Then on the way back from the survey is when the boat began to fall apart. The engine mounts had come loose so the engine was wobbling around in its bay and had already partly knocked off the exhaust. It was sent into the repair shop that evening. During the weekend some of the volunteers and staff members took a trip down to kampot to do shopping and visit the mountain there. The town was really clean and pretty with lots of activities to do and made for an exciting weekend trip. After the weekend was over it was back to work, but without a boat we decided to start working on the local elementary school. At the school we were in charge of cleaning and painting some of their classroom. That was pretty interesting as well, we only had a couple geckos get stuck to the wet ...
Last Saturday was Emilie and Fred’s last weekend so we decided to have a picnic on Palm Beach. While the food and company was good we all walked away in varying shades of rouge and were also hassled quite a bit by people wanting anything from our food to our phone numbers. There were protests in the city which had something to do with the up-coming election (I’m not entirely sure) so there was a lot of security round. They didn’t seem to have much to do though and two of them came over to speak to us. Maybe their uniform made them feel like they’d have better luck with us than the average Tom, Dick or Harry, because they were quite insistent about us giving them our numbers. I don’t know why these people can’t just take no for an answer? They seem to think they can talk us out of it when our decision has already clearly been made.
Anyway after the picnic we went home for dinner and to get ready for the night ahead. At around 9:45pm (an hour after the predicted time of arrival) the mini van arrived outside our house with all the volunteers and the boys from the weekend before. Bar crawl time! The first place was quite close to us and really cool although the music was a bit loud. We paid 10 000 CFA each for the bus, the driver and drinks for the night which I think was a pretty good deal. After that first place we visited quite a few other places which were all quite cool. At the second last place however we were getting tired and a little sick of the Togolese music which we could not understand nor dance to. We were ensured the final club would have a dance floor and English music so we were pretty disappointed when it played neither English music nor the Togolese music we’d come to learn, but rather really terrible French pop ...
Well that's it, volunteering in Fiji is over. I'm now sat in departures waiting for the first of my 4 flights. Feeling pretty much wrung out with so many emotions on so many levels about my whole Fiji experience. From my actual work in placements to time with my host famil. From time spent making new friends and spending time and sharing experiences with them. Never ever did I imagine the strength of how I am feeling. So many people said to me before I went it will be interesting to see how you will change. I had reservations about this comment before I left and when I first arrived here but gradually I've realised yes I am different. I'm now Laura that seemed to have got lost through life. Really hard to explain it and not sure how this Laura will pan out once I'm back to day to day life but I have the realisation that I can be happy, carefree, funny and good to be with. Not saying I wasn't this back home but perhaps not as much as I could be or wanted to be. Walking through Nadi town today I felt so confident and happy and reflected back to my first visit to Nadi town where I just walked very quickly with my head down trying desperately hard not to have to say Bula to anyone.
Volunteering is such an amazing thing to do. I urge anyone no matter how young or old to do it. The friends I have made from all around the world have made the whole experience even more special. Never would I have thought that in a short amount of time some people would get to know me inside out. We've laughed together, cried together, sat in quiet contemplation together but best of all we have been there for one another.
Thank you to everyone of my new friends both volunteers and Projects Abroad staff.
Stay in touch and enjoy life to the ...