Meghauli- a very small, rural town outside the major hub of Bhaktapur, the center city of the district of Chitwan. Chitwan lies to the south of the Kathmandu Valley (where I am living) and is in the terai (plains), bordering the northeast boundary of India. Chitwan is also HOT. When I say HOT I must capitalize because it is HOT HOT HOT HOT. I was there for only 3 days and I never stopped sweating once! Every Nepali warned me of this, one saying “you will just boil”, and boy was he right.
I took the tourist bus from KTM to Chitwan on Thursday. There had been a landslide (monsoon season and mountain roads) a few days earlier so the road wasn’t great going through the valley. What is normally a 4 hour ride maximum, took 8 hours. I didn’t mind too much though as I made friends with the Nepali girl next to me and with a Canadian first year medical student who had just arrived in Nepal and was going to be in Chitwan for 4 weeks shadowing/volunteering at the hospital (I hope he hasn’t boiled down to nothing by now with the heat). He was fun to chat with because he called everything ‘cute’ and had not been in a developing Asian country before, so he was very surprised by all the little things, like the bright clothes, the cute little kids, the food, etc, and it reminded me of my first time out of the country when I was 15 and spent a month in China.
I was in Meghauli to volunteer with Clinic Nepal. 2017 is it’s 20th anniversary and it provides primary care completely free of cost. It is a small, private clinic that has been welcoming foreign aid for a long time. When I arrived, to my delight, there was a group of 5 university students from the U.S. living in Meghauli through the Global Peace Project out of Florida State University! I ended up staying in the same house as them and what started as an unexpected Namaste, ended with 5 truly great world-changing friends who I am planning on reconnecting with one more time before we all leave Nepal!
Friday and Saturday saw me, dripping sweat, trying to decipher doctor’s prescriptions chicken scrawl writing in the pharmacy portion of a health camp organized by the district. Clinic Nepal provided all the medications free of cost and I spent nearly 8 hours both days running around our little make shift room grabbing what each patient needed. It was hot, tiring, and fulfilling work. The Clinic Nepal team, from Nik to Suman to Seina (a dutch doctor with a heart of gold), are all AMAZING people truly making a difference in their community!
Friday night we played soccer (futbal here) with the local kids on the old air strip and it was so fun to just be young and sweaty and not care and run around like an idiot (I played soccer when I was younger, but not for many years) and just be very grateful for where you are in the world at the time. I have to say though, I did score 2 goals, but that might have been just because of my physical size advantage over the younger kids and most Nepalis.
On Sunday I took some tourist time and had a bath with elephants! So fun and silly those elephants, like big babies rolling around in the water, just completely submerging their heads with just the tip of their trunk floating along the surface 5 feet away to keep them breathing.
Monday I returned via a 12 hour bus journey this time! We didn’t take the normal route because of another landslide, and instead took a tiny mountain road. Mountain road, meaning we climbed literally above the clouds, zig zagging back and forth as we gained elevation. Then we hit traffic coming back in to the KTM Valley. I wouldn’t have survived had it not been for my seat neighbor, a wonderfully kind guy named Soraj with perfect english from studying abroad and two Britts who were so friendly! Actually, I saw the two Britts about 2 days later in a random cafe in Thamel (the touristy area of KTM) by coincidence! It was awesome to reconnect with them in not such a hectic setting. They are worl travelers, having been on the road for the past 8 months, 12 countries total so far, with the 13th being India (they were flying out the next day!)
Anyway, I am currently in a rush to grab some breakfast and head to the tourist bus to Pokhara where I will be trekking in the true Himalayan mountains for 5 days! I will try to post when I can!
Much love xoxo Marin