Imagine you have been a nurse or public health educator for many years and you decide to share this passion for the healthcare industry through teaching at a university. And now you find yourself in Nepal, talking to doctors and nurses across multiple clinical settings, engaging with healthcare faculty and staff at several universities, meeting with students who are studying public health or nursing. Then suddenly, you find yourself 8,000 feet into the hills of the Himalaya’s, unzipping your tent to stare at the Annapurna Mountain Range.
Dreamy, right? Let’s rewind a bit.
Several months ago, Dr. Steve Hawks put his visionary hat on with Binod Rai (our Nepal in-country coordinator) while they were running the GCL India program and dreamt up a program to Nepal with Utah State University’s Nursing department and public health program. Within a short turnaround, that dream came true. A small team of nine participants, composed of faculty and staff from Utah State University, traveled to Nepal this December for a GCL program with Youthlinc.
The purpose of this program was to provide community-based interactions with individuals at several universities, clinics, and hospitals in Kathmandu and Pokhara. This GCL program provided a beautiful platform for personal and professional development for the participants while also serving as a site visit for a future program with Nursing and Public Health students at USU. The program established relationships with Nepali people in similar industries and bridged many ideas of how public health educators can work more with nurses and doctors.
You could see the light inside of the eyes of faculty at Kathmandu University as they engaged with USU faculty members. You could see the smiles grow on our participants as they heard why Nursing students at B&B Nursing College chose to do nursing. You could see people exchanging WhatsApp numbers and social media handles.
“Let’s connect and talk about this topic more”
“Let’s connect and do a joint presentation about this”
“Our students would love to meet your students”
Real conversations during our time in Nepal. The program schedule included interactions with visited several organizations, including:
· B&B Hospital
· B&B Nursing College
· Kathmandu University of Medical Sciences
· Green Pastures Hospital
· Patan Hospital & Maternity Hospital
· Hospital & Rehabilitation Centre for Disabled Children
· Leprosy Hospital
The exciting aspect of visiting quite the diverse settings in the healthcare industry, is that each USU participant had a different avenue in their public health or nursing experience. Some had more passion and education with nursing and mental health. Others had more passion and
education for rehabilitation. For such a small team size, the visits added an incredible dynamic to conversing with Nepali professionals with similar interests.
The GCL team wrapped up their program by trekking in Pokhara for four days with Insight Himalaya (Binod’s family business) and learning more about Waves for Water. The trek employed 37 locals near Pokhara to work for Insight Himalaya. The employees were cooks, guides, and porters.
You may feel uncomfortable with the concept of porters. In fact, many of the GCL participants wanted to carry their own backpacks. However, Insight Himalaya has been employing people for decades. Binod’s conversation with our team explained that people are asking for work. They already carry things to their homes in the hills. They might as well be carrying things that provide income to their families. So, porters are a way of living for folks in rural areas of Nepal. It was incredible to see how they too were taken care of by the business and to see their skills in carrying things through the “Nepali flats”.
A term that we quickly knew meant, up and down. Flat trekking doesn’t exist in Nepal so you can imagine our amazing it is to see the hard work porters do.
The GCL Nepal program ignited inspiring conversations, built relationships within multiple healthcare systems, and shared lived experiences and stories from different countries. The future of this GCL program is gearing up for a December 2024 program with USU Nursing & Public Health students.
The magic of this program couldn’t have been possible without the passion and dedication from our in-country coordinator, Binod Rai, and his colleagues Paul, Panu, and his wife Rupa. And of course, from the support of Dr. Steve Hawks and Dr. Carma Miller at USU.