Time flies, and two weeks of our hospital stay has already passed. I, Ingvild, am working at Dhading District hospital and I’m staying in the most loving and welcoming family I could’ve dreamed of. In the morning we always get a cup of sweet (read SWEET) tea and crackers from “bhubu” (aunt). Then we hear our “baabaa” (dad) call for us “chori” (daughters) with a warm smile on his face and gives us a blessing in the form of an orange paint mark on our forehead. It’s a traditional home, where the women cook the daal-bath with different curries for breakfast and dinner. The family only speak Nepali, but they tell us with their whole body that we’re warmly welcome.
First day in the hospital we got placed in a small office of five square meter. We were given equipment’s – some that wasn’t broken at all, just covered with a thick layer of dust, and some broken equipment, covered with an even thicker layer of dust and grease. It was quite demotivating to start up, thinking that in Norway this equipment would just have been thrown away ages ago. But we started quickly, and the first thing we managed to fix, was a suction pump. It’s an equipment that is supposed to make a vacuum to suck fluids away, kind of like a medical vacuum cleaner. Proud to have done our first repair, we shoved it to the doctors – or washing people, maybe a good mix, it’s hard to tell since they dress the same. Anyway, they momentarily started giggling. Between the laughs they said “nebulizer. NE-BU-LIZ-ER”. A nebulizer is supposed to blow the air out, not suck it in like we had made it do. So, in our first day, we at least managed to bring some laughter into the hospital – I guess it could’ve been worse!
During the last weeks in the hospital, we’ve had both our ups and downs. Here in Dhading, it’s a miracle just to find the right screw. In other words, spear parts are pretty much non-existing. But we’ve been creative, gluing, cutting, soldering, filing and taking parts from equipment that are too damaged to be repaired. And what a joy it is, when the surgical lamp light up after getting a transformer from Kathmandu, or when the doctors trust us enough to come with their broken equipment for us to fix.
I’m not overstating when saying that the organizing of things at the hospital has a long way to go. Therefore we have a goal that before we leave the hospital we will tidy up all the cardboard boxes with lots of well-functioning equipment. We want to sort them into shelves with picture tags on them, so that it’s easy or even possible to find when needed.
Besides from working at the hospital, we’ve been hiking in the hills nearby. Also, we got the joy one morning to join the rice planting – we got some curious people watching us, I guess it’s not a common view to see three white girls with their feet deeply planted in the mud planting rice. Occasionally we do some yoga with our “baabaa” and we’ve had a movie night with our host sister, watching a Bollywood movie. One night she also painted our hands with henna- tattoo!
Since we came here, we’ve met lots of friendly and welcoming people. All the kids in the streets greets us with “Namasteee” both on the way to and from work, and the grownups are also very friendly. So far- SO GOOD!
//Ingvild Brekke Espedal