Medical Student Electives
Interested in a remote experience for your medical elective? Away from the constraints of hospital medicine, whilst having the opportunity to integrate with the local population in a high altitude environment. Read the account below of (now) Dr Kate Gazzard from her time volunteering at the rescue post in September 09:
Wow – where to start! In summary – I had the most amazing trip and would go back tomorrow if I could!!!
I absolutely loved my whole Nepal experience – the hiking, the mountains, the people and of course, the medicine! Jenny and Paul were great, acknowledging how close I was to being a ‘real’ doctor and put me to work! Jen and I hit it off straight away, and she was the most wonderful, enthusiastic teacher giving me every opportunity to see patients myself, present my findings to her and then nut out a solution. She also quizzed me in our down time and encouraged me to present the talks each day which I really enjoyed.
Kancha and Chewang were also wonderful! So patient, so friendly and nothing was ever too much trouble! They were also very patient with my complete lack of ping pong skill but still let me join in the games and even give me a point or 2 for my self esteem! Kencha also gave Jen and I a cooking lesson on my last day – Chapetti bread. Mine didn’t look anywhere near as perfect as Kencha’s but we ate them none the less and had great fun in the process!
My only disappointment was that I couldn’t spend longer at Machermo!
In terms of the rescue post itself, I found it to be the coldest building I’d stayed in for my whole 8 weeks in the mountains! (Not too mention burning a great big hole in my down jacket trying to get too close to the little fire in the lounge room! Oops!!) I ended up moving to Namgyal’s lodge which was much warmer and gave Jen a bit of space.. nice to have our own rooms, especially as I was getting up at 5 to go walking before work and trying to study before bed.
As for the rescue post manual, it was excellent as a resource and we were all making notes for updates for next year. As I was leaving, Namgyal and Gokyo were getting internet installed so I’m sure that will make a huge difference for next season. I organised my hike through Ecological Treks (Rakesh and Ramesh) and they were just fabulous with everything for my whole stay in Nepal! Highly recommended!!! I also got the pleasure of meeting Elsie and having lunch with all of the above plus Jim Duff and his partner before I left K’du. Great people and great fun! Thank you for those contacts!
At the post we got into a great routine where every second or third morning one of us could start late to allow time for a good hike up the valley somewhere which was heaven! Great for the lungs and great for a bit of ‘me’ time. About 3 times a week I would walk up to Gokyo and have breakfast with the lodge owners of Namaste who have become like family to me, then walk back to work. I ended up staying with them for 3 extra days after I had left the post en route back to K’du. Speaking of Gokyo… I heard a whisper that you were looking at setting up another post there. As I will be a doctor in less than 2 weeks times, I would LOVE to be kept in mind as someone who could help set up the post or do a season in Gokyo. It was my favourite spot out of all the places I visited and I would really cherish a chance to go back and give back to the people in the area that were so wonderful to me!
So, I think that about covers it! I absolutely loved my time over there and am hoping to maintain contact with Nepal, IPPG and rescue medicine. I’ve put my name down for the volunteer week long medical clinics run by Ecological each year and one day would even love to spend a season at Everest Base Camp!
I can’t thank you enough for my opportunity to work with the IPPG. I am so grateful for the experience and really hope to stay in touch.