Today was our last full day in Kathmandu. Wyndham and I headed back to Helping Hands hospital while everyone else and some volunteers from different schools went on a hike to see a temple. At the hospital again and this time on our own, we were free to observe almost anything we wanted. In this hospital at least, we found that students are allowed to travel anywhere. Almost every ward had a couple nursing or pharmacology students in white coats and we were welcome to join their ranks. I sat outside the surgery for a while and watched peoples’ comings and goings in the hopes of being invited to sit in on a surgery. Unfortunately I didn’t have a copy of the schedule and was out of luck. Wyndham spent that time in the Emergency Room and found out that Saturday is a holy day for most Nepalis and that many of the doctors were at home, which explained the emptiness of the hospital. Back together again, we headed to the I.C.U. where a helpful aide in gray scrubs instructed us to trade our shoes for slippers and tie on smocks. There were only two patients in the four bed ward but there was a doctor surrounded by at least four nursing students. The doctor handed us the patients’ charts after determining our student status from which I learned that scripts and patient histories are written in English in Nepal. This was somewhat surprising but explained the proficiency of the medical personnel in English.
Because the hospital was so empty, we took the public bus back to the Mountain Fund house pretty early. The bus costs only 15 Rupees which is only about 15 cents American and there are tens of buses running constantly. You walk up to the bus stop and choose the one that is least crowded. You can also pay anytime during the ride. There is no stress in waiting for a bus and I actually really enjoyed catching public buses in Nepal. When we got back we found the house empty except for Jimmy, the cute little dog. Our hiking friends didn’t end up getting back until 5 o’clock. Apparently, the hike took them several hours and it was all up stairs. I took this extra time to sit on the roof of the house and look over Kathmandu. The smog over the city is extremely heavy and limited visibility. I realized later during take-off that the Himalayas are in view of the city but you can’t see them. The city is surrounded by mountains creating a smog trap.Dinner that night was super fun. The sisters of the house bought food from the Richmond Cafe down the road and we feasted on momos and curry. We also had a large group: three students from Iowa, a student from Washington, and a medical student from New Zealand joined our party of seven. After dinner we played Pictionary by candle light. One of my favorite parts of this trip was meeting all the different volunteers from all the different places. We had all found the Mountain Fund and had all decided to make the trek to Nepal, but we represented a large variety of interests, majors, and life experiences. I also learned that I’m terrible at Pictionary. - Isabelle