WRITTEN BY: Kerryn Dignam
We have just finished the most amazing hike, surrounded by the Himalayas, small villages and potato plantations – it was the perfect finish to our first week.
Staying with a host family is a unique experience. So many differences in culture, yet the same feeling of homeliness, with hot meals by our ‘aama’ (mother), chats with our host siblings, and doing our own laundry. Aama laughed at us when she saw our attempts at hand washing, and our younger brother made us promise him we would eat dinner with our hands.
Delicious tea greets us when we arrive home; we feel like we are part of the family.
Placement has been harder to adjust to. Wanting to help, but feeling unsure of 'usual' procedure and, of course, not speaking the language, makes it difficult with patients. Each day we are more comfortable at our placement, and confident in where our help is most needed.
One patient orders us coffee whenever we walk with him, and others laugh at us when we try to act out the exercises we want them to try. The physios are keen to teach us, but also interested in what we focus on back home. Most importantly, we have finally figured out the best meal to order at the hospital canteen!
After three days, and almost 50 km of walking the group is much closer. Sharing chocolate, stomach pain medication, and complaints about our sore muscles has secured a strong friendship between us. We are all excited for the three weeks to come.