Stanford Nepal Medical Project 2018 Pikey Peak Camping Trek

1st July 2018

 

Today we started off the morning by crawling out of our tents in the monastery grounds and saying goodbye to our last distant, hazy opportunity to see Everest: we were making our way to Khamding, where we will be teaching our lectures and running clinic for the next few days. Our breakfast consisted of porridge, eggs, and bread – as well as a completely new container of peanut butter, which was doubtlessly the highlight of the meal and was promptly mostly consumed. After a challenging slip’n’slide down the valley with a little sprinkle of rain, we arrived at last in Khamding! Our kind guides herded us into an amazing guest house with clean, white tables and a great view of the valley. Once we were settled in, we managed to resort through all the materials we brought for the schools, our class, and general clinic use – including hundreds of toothbrushes, toothpastes, and floss containers! During lunch we also found out that our cooks had devised an ingenious use case for ramen noodles – specifically, rolling the noodles into a fried hot pocket of sorts, accompanied by some green vegetables. It was innovative and delicious. In addition to a delicious lunch, at the guest house we also met a kind and adorable dog named Michael Jackson. Michael didn’t seem to know any tricks, but at least he wanted to hang out with us. The rest of the day was a combination of preparing for lectures and visiting local schools to ask if we could host dental hygiene courses. When we visited the Chyangba primary school, we also were able to meet with some of the teachers. One of our guides was incredibly kind and let us sit to chat in his in-laws’ home, where we drank coffee and mango juice. We asked some of the teachers questions about the courses they teach, the students’ schedules and school operations, and how they got interested in teaching. The math teacher told us that students did learn plotting and graphing in primary school, using X and Y axes – this was rather interesting but also great to hear, since previous iterations of our own classes really struggled with this concept (specifically regarding pediatric growth charts). So now we are all very interested in seeing how plotting growth charts will go. Once back in Khamding, the most exciting thing that happened before dinner – other than more lecture and class preparation – was that Michael Jackson sneezed out a leech in front of us. Around dinner time though, not only did we get food but also two medical students from Kathmandu Medical College arrived! We went around and greeted one another, and then sat down for a meal of buffalo, pizza, and pasta. The pizza also had ramen noodles stuffed in it, making it hands down the most interesting pizza we’ve ever had. Phula then told us his life story, and we were all really appreciative of everything he shared about his family and his journey to becoming a guide. It was great for us to learn more about Phula. Finally, over dessert, we began finalizing lecture slides and discussing translation with the medical students. It soon became clear that some edits were drastically needed, and there began a mad dash to the laptops to institute changes – everything from font color to explanation of difficult concepts. The air was full of excitement for tomorrow, which will be the first day of class! Stay tuned to hear exactly how that will have gone…