Do you ever have a “Theme Song” for an event in your life?

I am a musical guy. For each previous trip to Nepal I have had a piece of music that somehow becomes ubiquitous – a theme song.
What’s the role of music in your life?

In 2007 the theme song turned out to be “Tell Me Why” by the Backstreet Boys. Both my daughters asked why I picked such a cheesy tune, but I didn’t really choose it, the song chose me! Read my book and you will learn the significance that tune held for me at the time.

Haven’t chosen one for 2011 yet. Got any suggestions? Add them to the comments below….(“You Can Call Me Al” has been done…..)

Wednesday, after a long day of performing in front of the class, I sat at the front of a now-empty classroom, rehashing the day with Shirley Evans, the former U of Florida faculty member who has lived in KTM since 2004.

It was a nice way to unwind from still having the adrenaline rush of being “onstage.” Shirley is cool, it’s nice to know her, a mutual friend from SNEHA had given me her name. Shirley is my new Wednesday sidekick for The Duration.

One of the BN students from LNC approached me saying that the BN students (from each of the two cohorts) were eager to work with me. My reply was, this has been the plan from the beginning but I just needed to launch the first course before also organizing the BN classes. So – Ke Bhayo?

Turns out that Prateema had already canvassed the BN groups as to the mechanics of how to make it happen. Nice to have a person to do this kind of legwork.

The BN group were about to have a two-week holiday, but nineteen of them now plan to stay here for ten days to do a compressed version of the course. She had the list of nineteen students who would be there. I told her I would agree, as long as the fooding etc was okay’ed by Campus Chief.

The next day we each spoke with Radha Ma’am, who gave permission to use the ballroom for this. The students will do their own fooding, and also bring mine (let’s see how that works…)

So, after some back-and-forth, it’s set to start tomorrow (Sunday), which means that I will have two simultaneous groups going, and since the second is compressed, they will finish first. This forces me to prepare the latter sessions of the course, now, for the smaller group. In the long run the larger group will benefit. Not that I have much to prepare, lecture-wise – this is well-trodden ground for me. I found myself looking through the materials I brought to get handouts ready for the latter parts of the class.

Prateema is getting her BN courtesy of a British charity that operates health posts in Dolpo. Go look for Dolpo on a map of Nepal.

Better yet, here is a link:

It’s the setting in which much of the book “The Snow Leopard” takes place. You’ve probably seen the backcountry of Dolpo on NatGeo cable channel. Lots of Tibetan cultural influence in the small population there.

Prateema tells me she has been on a bunch of fly-in medical camps in her region, similar to the one described in my book in the chapter titled “Sandy’s Report of the Trip to Mugu”. Her plan is to return to Dolpo to repay her scholarship, and to manage a health post. In the near future. Wow. I asked her hey, what would it take to tag along on a fly-in medical camp this summer? She said she hasn’t been in touch with her NGO lately, but she’d call them to see if any fly-in medical camps were planned…… Now, this is still in the fantasy stage but – wouldn’t that be wicked cool?

Back to here and now. Okay, so Prateema will take my class… And afterwards she won’t be practicing in the context of an organized critical care unit. But she will gain some assessment skills, and she will bring them to Dolpo. I chose to work with LNC specifically because I knew LNC was the place where many such persons would be sent to further their education. That’s the benefit of collaborating here. What I have found at LNC so far has been a receptive forward-thinking administration, a good library, and students that want to work. Plus a classroom with a crystal chandelier….. LOL. What else do I need?

To agree to take on this additional cohort means that I now embark on a six-day-in-a-row stretch of teaching. This is what I came here to do, so I am not complaining. 75 + 19 is 94. I will keep track of the tally of nurses reached by my training here. Ninety four is a good number. I can still add to this, but I will still be happy even if this turns out to be the final tally. It’s respeckable.

Another member of the Wednesday class is from Bharatpur. (Not to be confused with Bhaktapur, though she is staying with family in Bhaktapur while here. I have ten students from Bhaktapur and they say they will bring me to visit the hospital there, later). This one had emailed back and forth for three months during the run-up. When we finally met I detected that aura – here’s another bright one that knows what’s she is doing. She is actively employed by the 400-bed hospital in Bharatpur, and it seems she is spending the summer here to bring this specific training back there. She tells me they are renovating and expanding their cardiac capability and now have a cath lab. They will soon add twenty beds. I have corresponded with Bharatpur about doing the compressed course there, and she told me Wednesday that she has been delegated to work with me on the details. This additional info tells me why they are so interested.

Bharatpur is in the Terai. This is rice-growing season. It will be hot. I will still go. That’s where the people are. Forty percent of Nepal’s population lives in the Terai. It’s not on the tourist path – not a place where the Western “Rock Jocks” would ever be found.
Another good reason to spend time there.

So – more irons in the fire, and the chance to establish ongoing relationships for future times to be here. This kind of groundwork needs to be laid, it all flows out of delivering a successful class. I love to perform, now I have added incentive to do well, so as to be in demand.

Today is my last day off for a bit – am now sharing the Guest House with ten Canadians from a Christian NGO. The leader has previously lived here, is bringing mostly first-timers plus a well-travelled Christian videographer. Five women upstairs, five guys here on the first floor. They arrived, took showers, got the didi to do piles of laundry, and now we think the rooftop water tank is temporarily dry. Had just enough water for me to shave and do a bird bath – not a full shower….not my favorite way to start the day. Gotta get this addressed, their leader was up early, and he put in a call to Ram, the Guest House manager. I enjoy their company but…..

My usual breakfast here is two fried eggs plus coffee. Haven’t been able to find a local place to get Chikaune…. (Is that a Palpa specialty?)

Anyway, trying to decide what kind of fun I will have today. Got to pick up some photocopying…. And ….. Maybe to Old Kathmandu – ?????


About Joe Niemczura, RN, MS

These blogs, and my books, and videos are written on the principle that any person embarking on something similar to what I do will gain more preparation than I first had, by reading them. I have fifteen years of USA nursing faculty background. Add to it fifteen more devoted to adult critical care. In Nepal, I started teaching critical care skills in 2011. I figure out what they need to know in a Nepali practice setting. Then I teach it in a culturally appropriate way so that the boots-on-the-ground people will use it. One theme of my work has been collective culture and how it manifests itself in anger. Because this was a problem I incorporated elements of "situational awareness" training from the beginning, in 2011.
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