Volunteer: April Nedev Neupane

Volunteer
  • During:

    2011

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Nostalgia, I guess this word fairly summarizes my feelings now after 2 months of working in the Bicol Clinic.

It was indeed the most vibrant, enchanting and phenomenal 3-week togetherness in all my life.

To be in the team working for the poorest of the poor people of rural philippines allowed each one of us to explore the locale in unique ways. Working for them and living with them allowed us to learn their fabrics of lives. It was truly hugely educational.

It is indeed the most powerful forum for American Medical Students to realize and feel the world out there and understand what it means by to have been born in the States and have things for granted. Dr. Schuster, one of the most humble men I have known, is yet another inspirational and towering figure from whom young people like me can learn much more in life while working in the Clinic.

All the memories of the times spent there are reeling back in my mind now as I am writing. It was such a great fun and working that I truly treasure the opportunity I was provided.

On an average we used to examine 150 patients a day, which is actually a lot less than what we were used to here in Nepal and it was largely due to language barrier ( Translators were amazing and great, without them we would have died! ) and we had students with us...to whom we again had to explain everything. Tropical and Infectious diseases were the commonest diagnoses while new and interesting cases always popped up now and then. I had never seen so many hypertensive patients, like in the Clinic. For those students who see themselves as a Surgeon in the near future, coming to the Clinic would be an excellent excellent forum for hands-on-training.

I bow to the enormous amount of work American Nurses do on their own! It was an opportunity for me to learn American ways too! We certainly shared our cultural beliefs and practices and educated ourselves.

The weekends used to be a lot of fun with short hikes, Swimming ( We had to have a life-jacket), Dancing ( I danced second time ever with a girl there) Barbecue, Boating, Games and many more.I never felt like working while there, it was always learning using all of the senses and weekends making us feel like we are on a Vacation! Some of the top tourist destinations of Philippines are not too far from the Clinic, we were fortunate to pay a visit there.

The region of Philippines where we went was one of the poorest regions of the Country. Having reached Manila, one's impression of Philippines would be that of American Skyline with Skyscrapers, Huge Malls, and Clean wide highways. I had adequately read about Philippines before I flew and thus was aware of the unfathomable difference between Haves and Have Nots. Having 1/3 of the population below international poverty line of Less than a Dollar a Day and skyrocketing price of Medicine and extremely cheap Cigarette and Alcoholic Drinks, the Filipino Government and multinational Companies are truly robbing off the public. And these are repercussions of Dictator Marcus in the 80s. Yet I found Filipinos very much warm and hospitable.

Thus I conclude, it is very important for every youth to travel to new places and learn. This allows one to be open to world cultures and values that you otherwise consider alien. Bicol Clinic is the excellent forum for students and allows one to have a vacation and Be Part of the Start.

Nostalgia, I guess this word fairly summarizes my feelings now after 2 months of working in the Bicol Clinic.

It was indeed the most vibrant, enchanting and phenomenal 3-week togetherness in all my life.

To be in the team working for the poorest of the poor people of rural philippines allowed each one of us to explore the locale in unique ways. Working for them and living with them allowed us to learn their fabrics of lives. It was truly hugely educational.

It is indeed the most powerful forum for American Medical Students to realize and feel the world out there and understand what it means by to have been born in the States and have things for granted. Dr. Schuster, one of the most humble men I have known, is yet another inspirational and towering figure from whom young people like me can learn much more in life while working in the Clinic.

All the memories of the times spent there are reeling back in my mind now as I am writing. It was such a great fun and working that I truly treasure the opportunity I was provided.

On an average we used to examine 150 patients a day, which is actually a lot less than what we were used to here in Nepal and it was largely due to language barrier ( Translators were amazing and great, without them we would have died! ) and we had students with us...to whom we again had to explain everything. Tropical and Infectious diseases were the commonest diagnoses while new and interesting cases always popped up now and then. I had never seen so many hypertensive patients, like in the Clinic. For those students who see themselves as a Surgeon in the near future, coming to the Clinic would be an excellent excellent forum for hands-on-training.

I bow to the enormous amount of work American Nurses do on their own! It was an opportunity for me to learn American ways too! We certainly shared our cultural beliefs and practices and educated ourselves.

The weekends used to be a lot of fun with short hikes, Swimming ( We had to have a life-jacket), Dancing ( I danced second time ever with a girl there) Barbecue, Boating, Games and many more.I never felt like working while there, it was always learning using all of the senses and weekends making us feel like we are on a Vacation! Some of the top tourist destinations of Philippines are not too far from the Clinic, we were fortunate to pay a visit there.

The region of Philippines where we went was one of the poorest regions of the Country. Having reached Manila, one's impression of Philippines would be that of American Skyline with Skyscrapers, Huge Malls, and Clean wide highways. I had adequately read about Philippines before I flew and thus was aware of the unfathomable difference between Haves and Have Nots. Having 1/3 of the population below international poverty line of Less than a Dollar a Day and skyrocketing price of Medicine and extremely cheap Cigarette and Alcoholic Drinks, the Filipino Government and multinational Companies are truly robbing off the public. And these are repercussions of Dictator Marcus in the 80s. Yet I found Filipinos very much warm and hospitable.

Thus I conclude, it is very important for every youth to travel to new places and learn. This allows one to be open to world cultures and values that you otherwise consider alien. Bicol Clinic is the excellent forum for students and allows one to have a vacation and Be Part of the Start.

Dr. Neupan

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