Becoming a TV celebrity in Kathmandu


X-ing off days on the calendar.

In 2007 I bought a brown leather diary in which to write every day for my first adventure to Nepal, and I filled 198 pages of it by the end of the time, single spaced. In each subsequent trip I have continued the practice, and now I have with me the fourth such brown leather bound volume. How times have changed…. I am blogging in real time and using the diary less. At the end of the summer I will most likely print out a set of the blog notes to add to the diary since I have not remotely generated the volume of writing that I did in the past.

Today the numbers are 37/78. The thirty seventh day out of the seventy eight which comprise this trip. I am just about at the halfway marker of my summer busman’s holiday.

Yesterday was Day Four of the Big Class. We continued with ECG strips, going over AV blocks. This has proven to be the hardest for each of the groups, and in fact, I glossed over it altogether in Bhairawa. Next week we will get to the ventricular rhythms, pretty much the end of the Atlas of strips I brought. I also spent time on the Acute Coronary Syndromes algorithm and reviewed 12-lead again. Then we did mega-codes in the afternoon. As in the past, this is with groups of five, and I try to engage the spectators as much as I can for each scenario. Some of the groups did great, there were a couple though where they did not do as well….. here is where the feedback is valuable.

In side conversations with students during the day, a number of the young nurses in the class told me this has really boosted their confidence and they now are actively participating in emergencies at work whereas they had not previously done so. Also, I met briefly with the subgroup of about eight faculty members and promised them each a “clean copy” of the rhythm strip atlas, for use in their own teaching after I go.

The big new thing was the videographer, Heather Ericson. This is the same young lady I met on the plane here. She came to class and took a lot of mega-code video with a nice quality videocam. She also took a lot of still photos, and followed the class members around during the prepping and de-briefing of mega code. She says this weekend there will be an article in the Kathmandu Post about my course, with photos. So – that will be cool. I gave her one of the copies of my book to bring to the book review editor of Kathmandu Post and place it in that person’s hands. So – there is no such thing as bad publicity, is there?

We met again after class, and she did an outside interview in a small “bahal” in Jawalekhel near my Guest House. I stood against a picturesque wall of weathered brick and answered questions. A crowd of neighborhood kids from that bahal gathered and watched, quite respectfully. In the background, a group of women were doing some kind of Hindu choral singing – I hope this serendipitous soundtrack makes it in to the final video. Heather will take this piece and add it to other interviews she has done, to make a video report on nursing in Nepal which she will submit as a school project at MSU. I hope to get the whole thing and put it on the YouTube channel. She asked excellent questions, I was impressed with her journalistic mien. Heather tells me she was the only female journalist covering the bandhs at the end of May, and has met the Nepal Prime Minister and politicians.

She also told me that she will be back here in a couple of months doing a TV show. Turns out one of the channels has decided to sponsor an English-language program to appeal to the hip young Nepali youth who are so eager to learn about life abroad, and they decided to have an American host for it . Evidently they think they can capture this demographic that way, and get better advertising revenue.

Okay, what’s a bahal, you ask? It’s the internal courtyard of a square of buildings. Bahals are a main social unit of life here for the past eight hundred years. You can be on a connecting street, busy and crowded, then step under a low door into a serene plaza with religious shrines, a well, and children playing. It’s a common area for a block of housing. Sometime you go through a maze of alleyways and the space opens up into a scene that looks like an ancient European city…..

Today I did some housekeeping, entering the email addresses of the folks in Bhairawa and sending a thank you message, then going through various papers here. I will get a haircut, and go to EKDFA to inquire about book distribution. I have been contacted by a faculty member of a school of nursing who wishes to pick my brain about graduate school in USA, and we will go out to dinner this evening. Bakery Café of course, not too far from here and everyone knows the location, it’s also sorta upscale but not so expensive that I will go in to debt.

I think that tomorrow is the day they move the juggernaut – Mechhandranath….. I plan to go… it is quite a spectacle……

About Joe Niemczura, RN, MS

Experienced nursing educator and problem-solver. I have fifteen years of USA nursing faculty background. Add it with 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. I travel outside of Kathmandu Valley as well. When the recent violence happened, I knew the cities - I had trained people in those locations. 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. Global Health Nursing is not all sweetness and light; not solely milk & honey and happy moms and babies.
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