Friday, 13 July 2012

UniBreakers live amongst Tibetan refugee community

Namaste! Tashi dalek! Today marks the end of week 1 in Nepal for the UniBreakers based in Pokhara – and what a week! It feels like we’ve been away forever and everyone has settled in very well to daily Nepali life.

The July Pokhara group is made up of 9 students; 8 girls and 1 guy. We have…

· Three nursing students (Elli, Bridget and Lottie) and one teacher from Adelaide (Toni)
· One Nutrition student (Emma) and one Journalism/Communications student (Holli) from the Gold Coast
· One nursing student (Lyn), one Biomedical Science student (Nick) and one Reproductive Medicine student (Amelia) from Perth.

The group have been getting on famously and after a week we’re already incredibly close. The group is living in the outskirts of Pokhara in a Tibetan Refugee Community called TashiLing. Our Tibetan host families have been very welcoming and accommodating which has helped ease any nerves!

Elli, Bridget, Lottie and Lyn are placed in Fishtail Hospital and after an initial shock at the conditions within the hospital the girls are full of enthusiasm and wonder at the abilities of the nurses and doctors that work with such limited resources. It’s a similar situation at Manipal Hospital for Amelia and Nick – the medical miracles that take place in hospitals that are lacking in both funds and equipment is often breathtaking. The health students overall already have some great stories and are looking forward to meeting new medical challenges in the coming weeks.

Toni, Holli and Emma have loved their first few days at Kumundini school. They are loving riding the school bus with their students and are getting used other teachers from neighbouring classrooms popping their heads through the window and not the door, which would be too logical! The local kids love to learn and the girls look forward to sharing different teaching techniques with the local teachers and running new classes with their students.

So far, everyone is having a ball. Highlights include;
· Day 1: A roaring rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody and Call Me Maybe, followed by a local musician serenading the group during a road-block on the way from Kathmandu to Pokhara. We still all have “sometimes trekking, sometimes rafting…” ringing in our ears
· Day 2: Nepali and Tibetan language classes – we HAD to know the important bits! (“I love coffee”, “I’m learning Nepali”, “where is the toilet?”)
· Day 3: First day of placement for the group and Holli’s birthday evening
· Day 4: Exploring the local community after placement and a trip to the Emergency Room in the pouring Monsoon rain
· Day 5: Celebrating His Holiness the Dalia Lama’s 77th Birthday with the local Tibetan community – traditional Tibetan dress, feasts and dancing for all!
· Day 6: Seeing the Anapurna range above Fewa Lake after the clouds finally cleared – a breathtaking sight
· Day 7: An interesting variation of Yoga class with a local instructor after placement, which required a lot of heavy breathing and rolling on the floor. They don’t make classes like that in Australia!

Until next time!

Unibreakers, Pokhara Nepal.

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