Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Dust, hail and sweat with some physiotherapy in between

We carried on this week at our respective placement sites in the morning and completing tutorials and case studies with our teacher, Julie, in the afternoons. One of Heidi's patients, a paraplegic post-surgery complication, is becoming more independent and we've ordered her a wheelchair that will fit her so she is able to get around more easily. One of Ryan's patients has progressed from not being able to sit for 10 minutes to now sitting for more than 6 hours with ease, which enables them to make the necessary travel requirements to see their family and friends.

Luci enabled one of her patients to get out of bed independently using a rope attached to his bed so his wife now won't have to drag him out of bed using her strength. Alexa, Alice and Elise continue to improve the motor skills of the children at the Rotary school so they are able to socialise with other children in the playground. The other students at the private practices continue to minimise the negative impact of the various injuries they've been presented with.

Dust and sweat 
Two weekends ago we travelled as a group to Amritsar, in the nearby state of Punjab. As the hours crept up on the bus ride so did the Celsius outside. 6 hours later we arrived at our hotel in 44-degree heat. It was a struggle to leave the comfort of our big fluffy beds and aircon to head out and drive to the India/Pakistan border. Our driver got us as close as he could then we were on our own. Outside and covered head to toe for cultural purposes, we squished in between the crowds of thousands who lined up to get through the first gate towards the border. Two gates further on, lots of sweat, plenty of selfies and we were sat down in the special "foreigners" section awaiting the spectacle. It was an hour wait in the sun once we had our seats but, definitely worth the wait!

Each country had an MC whose job was to hype up the crowd and dance along to the loud music blaring from the speakers. Then the guards from each side appeared and essentially had a dance off! Swinging guns around, jumping up and down and carrying out high kicks better than a cheerleading competition. The ceremony lasted for about 45 minutes with a confusing combination of the guards shaking hands to show friendship and threatening each other to show who's boss.

We followed the swarms out of the ceremony to meet our driver to head back to Amritsar and visit the beautiful golden temple. This Temple is open 24/7 and serves food for free but don't forget to walk through the water on your way in or you'll be smacked by the security guards with a stick, Alice learnt the hard way!

Hailstorms for hours
I'll start by saying we're all safe and alive! Just last weekend we set out for a blissful hike up the beautiful Himalayas to a well-known camping spot called Triund. We were prepared for spectacular views during the day and cool weather at night but that's not exactly what we got. The hike up was magnificent, with the view getting better and better at every turn. We shared the hiking path with donkeys and were greeted by thousands of cows and goats when we reached the campsite after the 9km trek.

We found our tents and the storm set in. Strong winds, hail and thunder had one tent collapsed within minutes and 12 of us bunking into 3 tents suitable for 7. We had a few laughs and made the most of the situation until even stronger winds, more hail and a broken zipper meant the second tent collapsed and 12 of us squished into 2 tents for the remaining few hours of the storm (7 in a 4-man tent and 5 in a 2-man tent). We held up the remaining 2 tents until the first storm passed. We ran to the closest market for snacks and drinks and feared worst. The second storm hit and we were bunked down in our overpacked tents once again!

We missed dinner and packed like sardines to attempt sleep and waited out the storm which ended up lasting from 3pm to 10pm. Wet and cold we exited the tents at 5am for sunrise and trekked back down the 9km path. A quick look at the markets, some lunch and a visit to the Dalai Llamas monastery and we were on the bus for the drive back home. It's safe to say we all enjoyed warm showers and sleeping in beds with fans more than ever before!

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