Day 19: The Wall of Affection

Trip Start May 20, 2008
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Trip End Aug 19, 2008


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Flag of Nepal  ,
Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sushaan has learned a new English word: "Cadbury Bar!"  He has also learned to combine this with one of the only other English words he knows, "me!"  Silly Sushaan.  It was a relief to be back in Pepsikola after being away for what felt like an eternity in the hills.  The Himalayas might've been peaceful and serene, but they did not have Sushaan.  As soon as I got back and opened my pack, he pounced onto it and began probing for Cadbury bars, which I apparently promised him but have no memory of doing so.  I got him one at the local hole-in-the-wall a couple hours later to keep his adorable rampages at bay.

There are some new faces around VSN, and some old ones have vanished.  Stan returned to his Canadian home and has been replaced upstairs by a shy Swiss girl (ding!) with a funny accent.  Two new British volunteers arrived, a guy named Andy and a girl named Crystal/Kristal/Krystal, both of whom are really cool and tried in vain to tempt me into another jungle excursion.  I met Andy first and he apparently described me to Kristal as "oh yeah, there's another guy from the UK here!"  That's now the second time in history such a thing has happened, the first time was early freshman year when Sir Wheeler suspected me of being an Englishman faking an American accent.  I have to cut back on the James Bond marathons.  When I asked Kristal what brought her to Nepal, she said that in England, med students get a year long vacation in the middle of a four (as opposed to seven +) year curriculum and she thought this'd be a good thing to do during her big gap.  British medical schools are also apparently much easier than ours and give students enough free time to maintain a social life, so note to Clark & TLee: you shoulda gone to school in the UK.  Note to everyone else: Don't ever allow a British doctor to treat you.

After some sluggish construction work on the school, I headed off to OCRC orphanage with the Brits for our daily duties.  We plowed through the wall of affection that hit us upon entering and set the kids loose to run around their back yard.  In the lead up to arriving in Nepal, I was kind of worried about what I'd actually do in the orphanage, but them kiddies know how to put you to business.  Their itinerary for us consisted of a half hour of some sort of Hindi Ring Around the Rosey followed by "use volunteers as monkey-bars" time and a game of sort-of-soccer... it was a blast all around.  There were only two Nepali workers for all forty plus kids, so the sudden tripling of elders/potential monkey bars sent the orphans wild.  One of them tried to trick me into opening what I guess was the candy room; he put on a sobby face and dragged me to a shut door he was too small to open.  As soon as I started to, a flock of older kids surrounded and urged me to not let him in.  I'd been had.

After a twenty minute wait for a no-show minibus to Pepsikola, we gave up and begrudgingly began what would be a long walk back home.  Just then, hope!  A large bus-shaped object rolled by and Andy instantly jumped into the road to flag it down.  We scrambled on, took our seats, breathed a sigh of relief... and noticed all the uniformed school children staring at us awkwardly.  Oops.  The snickering school bus driver happily gave us a lift most of the way back home.  Home consisted of an early dal bhat and a quiet but pleasant hangout in the Hut, nothing noteworthy there.  Probably nothing noteworthy today either, but on Wednesday I'll be accompanying Steve to the central Kathmandu government hospital to provide otherwise absent moral support to the mortally wounded patients there.  The few volunteers who have visited this hospital came back with horror stories: trash strewn hallways, stray dogs trotting in and out of surgery rooms, patients who'd been waiting three *years* to get their burns treated, etc.  I'm more than a bit nervous, we'll see how it goes.

General Vital Signs:
Tibetans Freed = 0/2.4mil, though the trinket I bought from one prolly helped a bit
Hand Sanitizer Depleted = 60%
Time Elapsed Since Last Opp To Shower = 3 days (deficient running water)
Athlete's Foot = Conquered
Wallet Depleted = Don't wanna think about it
Food Poisonings = 0
Mosquito Bites = 34
Calamine Lotion Depleted = 70%
Pickpockets Thwarted = 1 (slapped his wrist away, hooah)
Yetis Scalped = 4
Maoist Insurgencies Thwarted = 0

Trekking Vitals:
Almost-Deaths = 2
Almost-Sprained Ankles = 12
Almost-Leeches = 7
Sprained Ankles = 0
Leeches = 0
Shirts Soiled Beyond Hope of Laundry Salvation = 1
Four Leaf Clovers Found = 1!!!
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