Namaste. It’s been busy. The power outages are beginning again to cut into the days – but at a mere ~4hrs per day right now, that’s manageable! Tuesday, I depart for Karigiri Leprosy Hospital (www.karigiri.org) outside of Vellore (Tamil Nadu, India). Dashian, the biggest festival of the year is coming in a couple of weeks. Look it up: http://www.nepalhomepage.com/society/festivals/dashain.html . Many goats will die – but then again, many turkeys will soon die in my own country. Although the festival lasts for ~10 days, Anandaban will just have a 4 day weekend. Almost everyone travels to their home village for related rituals, etc; therefore, practically EVERYTHING in the nation closes…newspapers, public transport, all shops, etc. Many of the patients will check out of the hospital to go home and then come back. In leprosy, they may not feel the pain and this is the most important religious festival of the year.
A couple of med teams left to go to some districts in the far west region that are experiencing cholera epidemics. They’ve now returned and given presentations on their trip. I hope to post some pics and stories from that soon. Those areas are so remote and the terrain extremely difficult. Far, far from roads. Days of walking or mule trains into steep, steep hills. Many of the people there have never seen a vehicle. During one health education session the doctors held with some village kids, they asked, “Who has a toilet?” No one did. The teams split up into two districts and walked days between villages. In total, more than 3000 people were seen by doctors etc in the camps. These areas are so difficult to reach and to live in that few educated health professionals want to even go through the effort to get there, much less live there to provide health care. The med teams found buildings that had been built at district headquarters some time in the past, but no doctors.