Damauli District Hospital

Namaste!

This is Trym blogging from Damauli. I’m now sitting in the only restaurant in this city with an internet connection that is good enough to do anything efficient. The internet where I live is poor.

Elena, Cecilie and me have now been working in Damauli District Hospital for three weeks. We are all engineering students and volunteers in the same EWH program. Elena comes from Tuscany in Italy, but has been studying in KTH in Sweden the last year. She finished her bachelor in Milan. Cecilie comes from Copenhagen and she studies at DTU. She was also our Teaching Assistant in the course we took in DTU, so she is really skilled.

Our first week here was intense; we were excited and worked all day to repair broken equipment. We were lucky, because there had been EWH volunteers before, so the staff had a lot of trust in us already the first day. They showed us around and gave us permission to repair everything that was broken. Then we moved the broken equipment to our own room and could start the most important job. There is no educated technician working in this hospital, so we got the pleasure to do some easy quick fixes in the start. The emergency department, which is right next to our “office”, had a couple of otoscopes that were not working properly. After a couple of minutes with trouble shooting we switched the batteries and turned them the other way. Our first repaired equipment was then reality just after five minutes.

DSC_1206
One of the first things we started on was this microscope. It sometimes gave the staff shocks. Later we figured out that different departments in the hospital did not have ground earth in the sockets. It was written that this microscope had to be grounded, which it wasn’t. That explained why it gave shocks and that might be difficult to repair when they are not using the equipment as it is supposed to. Cecilie did her best, insulated metallic parts and eventually it didn’t give shocks anymore. Explaining the staff that their power sockets are not grounded to the earth is difficult when there is nobody with technical experience that speaks fluent English.
We have used a lot of time on this incubator. It gave shocks and didn’t behave logically. The easiest explanation for that is that it is indian. Never trust indian equipment.
Photo credit to Cecilie.
This Air Conditioner is another story. It was leaking and they wanted us to look at it. After taking a look inside we just wanted to clean it again, but then it started falling down. We tried not to panic, and after half an hour with swearing, glue and tape it stayed in place… Next day we got an AC technician to the hospital, as you see on the picture. Together we made it work again and fixed the leakage. It is to be said that the AC was installed in the maternity ward. There was one pregnant woman in the same room who was in labour and was waiting for us to leave. We just tried to install the AC as fast as possible, keeping in mind that we were told there is not such a thing as ‘privacy’ in Nepal. Less than one minute after the installment was done and we had left room, we heard a baby scream(!). Later, we also got to know that the AC was about to fall down before we started. Why couldn’t they have said that immediately?
Photo credit to Cecilie.
This is how happy you get when you finally make a phototherapy unit work again.
We do also have time to do other things than just working at the hospital. Saturday is our free day during the week. This Saturday we all went hiking to Manung Dada with Rosan Shrestha, the happy Nepali guy in the picture. Here he is looking over Damauli Bazaar, the centre of this small city, where he is a celebrity (or that is at least what he thinks). Rosan is working at the hospital, and he is very social, helpful and happy. Most Nepali people are very helpful and nice (seriously), but the fact that Rosan is the only person in the hospital we know who speaks almost fluent English makes him really important to us. He normally uses a lot of time to socialize with everyone in the hospital (=doing nothing?), as well as being our interpreter. Now we do just have one small week left working in the hospital. Then we will finish our projects here and visit Bandipur District Hospital. The last five weeks have been running away so fast! I have had a lot of fun, but I do also think I have been able to make a change to the better for the people in Nepal. After the program ends I will have one week vacation in Nepal. The plan is to go hiking with Endre and Ingeborg in the mountainous Annapurna region. I still haven’t seen the mountain range of the Himalayas because of the monsoon, so seeing that would be a great ending to my seven weeks in this beautiful country!
 Photo credit to Cecilie.
This is me in my right element.

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