Traveling with GAHP was an amazing experience. We went to two villages in Mustang where we were greeted with much kindness and many grateful faces.
From Kathmandu we took two planes and a jeep to get to our first destination, Kagbeni. Upon arrival we crossed paths with the other GAHP team and spent the afternoon checking out the village. At this time we hiked to several caves that overlook Kagbeni. Many monks come to these caves to meditate for days, months or even years.
The boys left early in the next morning and we five ladies prepared for treatment. Amongst the five of us there were three acupuncturists, one logistician, and an interpreter. We began setting up the room by lining one corner with benches for patients to wait. From there they would go to sit at a table with Jen who was triaging and Kunzom who helped with translation. They completed the interview, checked the tongue and pulse and then prescribed both herbs and acupuncture. The patient would then come to either Nini or I to get needled while Mataya searched for their herbs. All in all, it was a very smooth process.
We spent a day and a ½ treating in Kagbeni and a day and a ½ treating in Jharkot. We would have liked to have spent two full days at each site, but due to the mayhem that comes with traveling during monsoon season, we had to dedicate more time to traveling than expected. I’m not sure what our total numbers are because the team had to run, but I know that we treated over 200 people.
Many people hiked in to see us from nearby villages. On our last day in Jharkot we had intended on finishing by noon so that the team could hike out (due to local politics the jeeps were no longer allowed to drive to Jharkot). Despite our efforts to finish early, several groups of people arrived after a long walk to come to see us. So we continued, and continued, and we finished with the last group who ran to see us around 2-2:30pm.
Luckily the jeeps were still driving to the next town down the hill so we only had to walk a half hour to catch the jeep. At this point, the GAHP team left and I stayed in Jharkot for another week. This village is incredibly beautiful. It is like no place I have ever been before. The architecture is amazing. There are buildings that are more than six hundred years old, there are new stone buildings in the midst of their construction and there are buildings from the decades in between.
The roads here are dedicated to people, animals and occasionally motor bikes. From the hotel window everyday around 8am I saw the cows leaving for the hills and then the goats. Then around dinner time, you could hear the animals coming home and identify them by the different pitch of their bells as well as the number. Usually the cows would come in herds of 10 or so and the goats numbered between 30-50.
During the day I spent my time at the monastery teaching 11-14 year old kids English. They were actually very well spoken. Excluding the 11 students that I worked with, only two other people in the village spoke English. It was a very interesting experience as I do not speak Nepali, and even if I did it might not do me any good because they speak a different dialect in the hills than in the city. None-the-less, I got around fine with the few words that I knew and the few words that they knew. All and all it was a beautiful trip and I feel very lucky to have been able to spend an extra week Jharkot.