“The Wise Men Say There’s a Thousand Ways to Kneel and Kiss the Ground”

Nancy Harless was right when she said “Joe! Stop and smell the incense!”

The title of today’s blog comes from The Gathering of Spirits, a wonderful song by Carrie Newcomer, one of my favorite singer/songwriters.

Birthdays and Anniversaries

A year ago today I was backpacking through Shenandoah National Park in Virginia USA, averaging 14 miles per day, due to the heat there I was able to travel light, for example not carrying a sleeping bag. I had the trusty BlackBerry, but reception was limited. When I checked in that day I was delighted and awed to learn that I had a new nephew – Peter Joseph. And today – Happy Birthday, PJ!

This week is also my daughter Amy’s birthday. She was my backpacking buddy last year on the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) – and this year, even as I write this, she is backpacking again – from Pawling NY to The Canadian Border on the A.T., then the Long Trail.

My last few weeks here seem to be full of activity and I am trying to make the most of it. There was a point when I added a three-day course which would have been taking place right now. When it got cancelled I actually breathed a sigh of relief. Yes, Ms Harless – it is my summer break after all.

Not everything works out ( though this summer has gone remarkably according to plan for me) and the trick is to adjust. So, I have been able to use the time to regroup leisurely for my other two remaining events – getting the handouts together etc.

Loaves and Fishes

When I am done with the Wednesday course, I will be leaving all course materials with LNC in their library – the algorithm posters, instructor manual etc.  I always make sure to rbing things here, and to leave everything I bring to Nepal – s much as possible – I call it the Loaves and Fishes approach. And the only book I will bring back with me is my Nepali language book. Lots of room in return baggage for souvenirs and trinkets. Still thinking of which trinkets exactly – managed to get through three previous trips for example without buying a singing bowl.


Okay, I might as well admit I bought a Thangka, a Tibetan-style painting. I saw it in a shop, asked about the price, then thought about if for a week. When I went back I offered half what I’d been told – and the offer was accepted. I plan to have it framed and it will go on a wall in my apartment.

January 2012 Update: It’s too big to photograph in one shot; I took a series of smaller phots of this thangkha, on Flickr.

Patan Hospital

Some of you know that I was asked to meet with people at Patan Hospital to explore ways to collaborate on nursing education issues. I expect to meet with them again this week to finalize some ideas as to how to work together. I am honored to have the opportunity to look at ways to collaborate.


Whenever I need to write something “official” in a hurry, I rely on a method of editing and review I began to use when I was President of the nurses of Maine. I write up a quick draft, getting ideas on paper, then email it to people who can review it. They email it back. I incorporate the changes and re-send. This way I can get input from a variety of people and perspectives. It’s chaotic at times because I may have several people in different stages of review with progressive drafts. But it is worthwhile, and produces documents that reflect maturity and wisdom (two attributes people don’t always ascribe to me). I used this process the last few days. THANK YOU to all who shared their wisdom. I think it’s a solid proposal which is do-able and will point the way. I will let you know the outcome.

Looks as though the final number of trainees for the summer will be around 190 nurses. I would have been happy with half that number.

The weather here today is cool, the humidity seems to have broken.

Yesterday I found myself having fun instead of doing the training; and taking it all in as far as being where I am. Today I will go on another “urban hike” with no particular destination except to walk…..



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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One Response to “The Wise Men Say There’s a Thousand Ways to Kneel and Kiss the Ground”

  1. M A says:

    Joe-You call it learning to “adjust” and when I was a Fulbrighter, it was termed to always be flexible. I think that is important when visiting another country. However, it is not always easy to be flexible.I am glad you have some time to smell the incense too. That is the time when we truly integrate into another culture. Take care, M A 🙂

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