Evolution of an Adventure

Evolution of an Adventure....

10/23/11 Greetings! Welcome to my Nursing in Nepal blog! In May, 2012, I'll be graduating from San Jose State University's School of Nursing and in early June I'll be leaving for three weeks in Nepal along with SJSU faculty and other nursing students to provide nursing care to women and children in Nepal and I need your help to get there! Our team will be providing wellness exams, vaccination clinics, and health education in Kathmandu and other villages in the Kathmandu Valley. My goal is to raise $5,000, which will cover a significant portion of this trip. I realize that the current economy is making life difficult for all of us. Any amount contributed is appreciated as each dollar gets me closer to an opportunity to help disadvantaged families while building my skills as a nurse and caretaker.

I'll be updating this blog with amusing tales of adventures in preparing for international travel and, once there, I'll be documenting my experience with photos and stories as much as the available power supply will allow! Subscribe to my blog and please join me on my adventure in Nursing in Nepal! I welcome your comments, questions and insights through this amazing journey.

12/8/11 I have just received the uber disappointing news that the nursing trip to Nepal has been canceled as political unrest has put Nepal on the State Department's watchlist and the university won't let us go. While it will be incredibly difficult to quit dreaming Nepalese dreams, I am unshaken from my determination to take an equally awesome nursing trip after graduation. I just have to figure out where and how. So, I'll do some research in the hopes of finding another exciting opportunity off the beaten path and apply my passion and your generosity there. If I can't find anything within a few months, I will refund your donations. Thank you again for your support and stay tuned!

Next stop...

1/6/12 It's on like Donkey Kong! So, a bit of change... turns out I'll be going to the Edna Adan Hospital in Hargeisa, Somaliland. It is a midwife-led clinic and I'll be staying in a guestroom at the clinic (which I hope isn't code for hospital bed) and I will share more details as soon as I have them. When the trip to Nepal was canceled, I was heart broken, crestfallen and downright bummed. I had just long enough to think about it all that I had created an idea in my head of the adventure that I was going to have there. After a few hours of being sad girl, I said to myself "Self, you can still have an adventure somewhere. You'll just have to figure it out for yourself." According to ProWorld, their projects in Nepal are still on, so that was still a possibility, but a very expensive possibility. No different than when the school trip was on, but as long as my adventure options are open, why not find something equally mind blowing for a bit less money? I emailed a doctor who spoke to my nursing class about the Fistula Foundation (www.fistulafoundation.org) and asked if any of the clinics they support in Africa might be willing to take a new grad nurse for a few weeks this summer. An email turned into a conference call which turned into me going to Somaliland!

Side note to any nursing students who might be reading this: clinic placement is not the regular domain of the Fistula Foundation. I lucked into a formal introduction, but you can contact the Edna Adan University Hospital directly for service options.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Today, I had an errand and oh what an exciting errand it was! Actually, it wasn't the errand that was so exciting, but, as is often the case, the journey surrounding the errand. Driving here is very nearly a contact sport.  Indeed, I think my driver missed his calling as a rally driver.  Travis Pastrana, if you're reading this, you may want to think about getting this guy on your team. Seriously.
Picture, if you will, a city not unlike Tijiuana. Mostly dirt roads, what paving there may be left on a road most certainly does not make it smoother than a dirt road.  Rubble and garbage is everywhere and, by everywhere, I mean everywhere. It lines the road side like a protective wall. Meanwhile, back on the road, it is like a video game come to life. Cars and trucks are backing out into the road randomly, pedestrians and goats and donkey carts wander back and forth.  The drivers just rip along as fast or a s slow as they dare (quite fast in my driver's case) and dodge and weave like Muhammed Ali.
The horn is used so prolifically here that after a while I began to wonder if the horns are perhaps used with more of a morse code-like purpose, communication amongst the bretheren.  At one point, my driver went to strike his horn and it did not sound off for him. I wondered how that wounded him: if it was akin to stripping an Arab trader of his haggling abilities, or cutting the hands off an Italian. Without his horn, he was rendered mute.
The neighborhoods have no obvious form of division.  Imagine a few Beverly Hills homes plopped down in the middle of Compton.  An Atherton mansion amongst the carports of East Palo Alto.  The few of Pacific Heights mixed in with the many of Hunter's Point. That's what Hargeisa is like.  There is simply no room for separation of economic class, not if you want an apartment that is convenient to downtown and shopping. The mansions are smashed in with the corrugated tin lean-tos and mud brick structures. The dividing factor being the broken glass-topped protective walls surrounding the nicer homes. And by "mansion," I don't mean a Shah's home. Rather, nicer cement brick houses with pretty windows. Outside of the broken glass walls is the same rubbish that covers this city as effectively as the ubiquitous dust.
Having safely arrived at my destination, I gazed out of the window at the breathtaking vista of a goat's ass, standing stop a pile of rubble, surveying his kingdom. Charming.
Back in the vehicle and racing back over the roads at top speeds, my driver nearly drifted through his corners, using the piles of rubbish and dirt (and probably a few goats) for berms. I suspect the goats didn't notice and my driver made it back just in time for noon prayers.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Berbera road to Hargeisa.  This picture does not adequately illustrate how cram packed we were in that bus. The landscape went on like that for miles and miles... our bus got stuck in the sand at one point and the men had to get out and push.