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.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Cold showers suck.  It's just not hot enough here for cold to be ok. Imagine, if you will, an old timey commode, with the tank that is way high up with a pull chain flush.  That is what appears to be in my (luckily en suite) bathroom, except the tank is a water heater for the shower.  There is a hot tap which goes to a shower head and a cold tap which goes to a hand sprayer like what lots of kitchen sinks have. Yesterday, after my second cold shower, I fiddled with the heater and got it to turn on.  Better late than never.  Cut to: this morning. The end of the taps coming out of the tank were both quite warm.  Promising.  Turned on the shower and? Cold.  Sprayer? Cold.  Bugger.  Clean up, get on getting ready for my day.  Fiddle with the heater again before heading out, still couldn't get a positive response from it. Later in the afternoon, I realize my Camelback is running out, so I bust out my bucket and proceed to fill it from the cold sprayer to get on with filtering.  Hot water.

I've been trying to load pictures here and on facebook, but the internet connection just will not cooperate. I'll keep trying.

As usual, forgive the typos.  This mini keyboard is a pain.

So, my average day so far... hard to say after just 2 days in which I'm really just shadowing Matron to learn what an average day is, but I'll do my best.  The day begins with a wake up call from the neighborhood mussein over the super duper loud speaker at 4am precall and 5am call to prayer in case you didn't hear it the first time.  Funny how quickly one gets used to neighborhood noises.  The first day, it was appallingly loud, but this morning I nearly slept through it.  But I was still up before 6.  Cold shower, clean up, hope for internet connection (my lifeline to home), breakfast at 7am. Yesterday morning, I had Somali bacon, which is camel meat jerky.  It's laid out to dry in the sun, then fried. It pretty much just tastes like beef jerky, with an ever so slightly gamey flavor like mutton.  The hospital cooks lay out a table for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the volunteers and employees who live here at the hospital. It's pretty repetitive, but it's good.
7:30, rounds begin with the resident midwife through the ante/L&D/maternity wards. 8:30, rounds with the doctors through the medical wards and any OB patients which need more attention.
I am working with Matron, who is not a nun. She is a Latvian nurse who is more or less charge nurse for the whole hospital, hospital administrator, supply manager, facilities manager, and general whip cracker.  She is probably about my age, married, and quite impressive for the job she has taken on here.  Matron is terribly excited to have me here as they only ever get visiting doctors, never nurses.  She is thrilled to have some back up to keep an eye on the troops and, hopefully, improve their performance.  She isn't someone I would want to defy, so I'm not sure how the troops will listen to me any better than they listen to her.  We shall see.  This trip may well end up being an exercise in learning how to beat my head on the opposite side of the world instead of at home for free.  I will make an effort to learn a bit of Somali and hope that greases some wheels.
Speaking  of which, the nurses are all taught in English in their nursing classes, but few of them speak English with any real proficiency.  Herein lies the problem.  Their incompetence is lamented by senior staff, but they've been started unfairly.  Because they are being taught complex ideas in a language they don't really understand, they rely on memorization to pass exams, but have little real understanding of what they're being expected to know.  Then, later, management endeavors to get better work out of them when they are entirely ill equipped to perform.  We'll see how far I get with that issue...
Holy moly! The craziest rain storm just exploded out of nowhere! Windy and insane! I better wrap this up while I still have a connection. Cheers!

1 comment:

  1. Great stuff! Love reading about your trip.

    Your blog will load a TON faster if you set it up to only display your two most recent entries. It is trying to load all the images across the planet each time.... Keep what it has to do as simple as possible and it loads quicker. Send me an email if you need help.