It’s a very surreal feeling to think that in less than a month we’ll be in the teeming streets of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. For 20 days (from December 31st to January 20th), as team of 6 students and 1 professor, we will be helping provide medical services to villagers in rural Nepal with a team of doctors, ophthalmologists, and dentists from Scheer Memorial Hospital (http://www.scheermemorialhospital.org/) in Banepa (see map). The students will be conducting research at the same time into public health in the area through a survey. We hope to get a good look at gaps in public health, as well as perceptions about what causes illness and how one can remain well. Conducting a study like this is definitely daunting but very necessary in order to gauge what the community actually needs, which will guide trips in the future.
We’ll also get to meet Kul Gautam, who served as Assistant Secretary General of the UN and Deputy Director of UNICEF (http://kulgautam.org/2011/03/102-agenda-for-public-health-in-nepal/). We’re really excited to meet such an important man who has such great ideas relating to the main focus of our trip. We’ll definitely take his suggestions seriously when we’re collecting our data. It would very useful to have great advice for our future projects and what work and what won't.
I can't express how excited and anxious I am about going on this trip! I can't even imagine what I'll see! I think that I will be in this state of anxiety until all of us are on the plane ride home.