listening to a Nepali Lullabye

Today, Day three, it’s raining.

So Day Two In Bharatpur began with another rickshaw ride, I have to admit I pay the rickshaw drivers more than the going rate, but it won’t stop me from another ride today. The heat and humidity were already oppressive at 0700. The stream of humanity to the building was beginning to pick up but before I joined them I decided to take a closer look at the Hindu temple on the hospital grounds. Took my shoes off at the entrance and tiptoed in. There were a few other visitors but mainly a crew of three women sweeping the place. All the doors to the icon rooms (Ganesh, Hanuman, Shiva, Laxmi, Durga) were open. It was very much a multi-purpose place, about a dozen shrines as well as a picture of Jai Baba.

On my way in to the main hospital, ran into another of my old TNS student group – Kusum Shrestha – she was happy that I remembered her name. She’s working here in night duty since one and a half years. We talked about who else we had seen lately and posed for a picture together.

Momentary confusion about finding the classroom for my event…. Which building?

Morning class consisted of more ecg. There are some knowledgeable persons in this group and I enlisted their aid in going around the room and explaining to others (in Nepali) as we went along.

It was noticeably hotter (102 F!) than yesterday but we soldiered on. Aarju went off to see if we could find any room with A/C. – and presto! They moved us to an A/C doctor’s conference room for afternoon. Instant relief. The door to the administrative suite here, is unmarked and nondescript.

Once more how to help family members during a crisis

We did the class on acute coronary syndromes, then on into megacode. For the scenario where the family interrupts resuscitation, I had arranged for Sita Ma’am, the Matron, to attend. She’d been enthusiastic about the idea. The team trying to resuscitate was not forewarned of the specifics. The students role-playing the distraught family members and the team of chowkidars did a great job. Sita led the debriefing session, in Nepali. She laid out her ideas and expectations, and there were a lot of questions and back-and-forth. Excellent discussion with lots of participation. We then re-played it again “the way it’s supposed to go under the best of circumstances” and this too was good. We ended on that note.

The confluence of rivers…..

They had offered to take me to Sauraha, to see elephants, but I didn’t want to go that far. So – after class, six members took me to DevGhat, a temple complex at the confluence of two rivers. We got on one of the hospital buses. To get to the complex we had to walk across one of those wire suspension bridges, which was of course, fun. In the distance, the first mountain range obscured by haze. The cafe au lait water rushing by comes from the Himalaya and is still cold…. Given the heat here in the terai there was a mistical layer of fog over the rivers.

The rivers are the Narayani and the Trisuli. (? The 3rd name…) All the water output of the Kathmandu Valley was roiling past me…. Toward Ganges and the ocean…..

It’s a holy place to be cremated and so there are hostels for the elderly here, as they wait for God. The students took time to explain some things to me, such as the tulsi plant and some of the legends. One nurse has a casted foot and she gumped along heroically. We saw the cave from which the one hundred and three year old lady gives blessings. She wasn’t there today though and we wondered where she goes.

We watched the sadhus and ayurvedic monks come down to bathe, stood at the very tip of the sand bar and saw the little piles of debris to mark somebody else’s puja.

Singing childhood songs

On the way back, the six women sang Nepali folk songs and Bollywood songs and clapped hands. They had the most fun when I asked for children’s songs.
One was about “where is my food?”

We went out to a place called “Chili’s” for dinner – which shared the exact same logo as the American franchise of the same name. That’s where the similarity ended. We had momo and barbecued chicken. Bollywood MTV was on, and we discussed our favorite actors.

It was a fun day. For Day three we will continue the program; I have been asked to talk about nurse’s responsibilities when assisting at intubation. Today at the end, we give certificates, signed both by me and by Sita Ma’am. And then I will be off to the airport for the quick hop to KTM.



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.
This entry was posted in nepali culture, nursing education, The Hospital at the End of the World and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to listening to a Nepali Lullabye

  1. here’s a video of Dev Ghat


  2. and on Tuesday, the class sang a Nepali children’s song for me


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