- Maastricht University -
My first impressions of Nepal were great. There were new sounds and smells, holy cows wandering the streets and an abundance of Nepali taxi drivers trying to drum up business.
Many people in Nepal live in poor conditions, some barely able to provide for their families. And yet, the people remain grateful, hospitable and accommodating.
Throughout my trip, they proudly introduced me to everything their country had to offer; colourful Hindu festivals, beautiful mountains, MoMos (the delicious national dish) and a smile for every occasion. I felt humbled by their gratitude for even the simplest things.
In my placement hospital in Pokhara, I faced the sometimes confronting realities of healthcare in Nepal. To see a doctor in the outpatient clinic, patients had to register at the counter in the central hallway and pay in advance for their consultation.
If it then turned out that a patient needed an examination—a blood test for example—they had to head back to the desk again and pay for the nurse to draw the blood, the materials needed for her to do so, and the examination itself. They would then have to go back to the nurse and take the blood to the lab by themselves, no matter how sick they were. Something as simple as a blood test could take an entire day.
If they ran out of money halfway through the process, that was that.
I made balloons from my gloves when spending time with some of the younger patients. It was great to see their heart-warming smiles. Then, one of the Nepali interns told me the hospital couldn’t afford gloves for daily care, so I promptly stopped.
It was in moments like this I realised how much I appreciated how much we take for granted in the Netherlands.
The Work the World house was like a home. Sharing my experiences with students from all over the world was great. I think we can all say that we made lifelong-friendships exploring Nepal together.
I plan to return to Nepal as soon as I am in the position to do so. See you soon, Nepal!