just a short entry.
The novel takes place in Beni, Nepal, a pretty town in the hills of Nepal.
just a short entry.
The novel takes place in Beni, Nepal, a pretty town in the hills of Nepal.
1)know your blood type.
2) get on Twitter if the only reason is to follow @YouthForBlood
3) esp if you are AB ( + or -)
4) join their Nationwide FaceBook page or one of the local FaceBook pages. https://www.facebook.com/groups/youthforblood/
5) watch this inspiring Nepali-language video and share it with everyone you can think of:
I am on Twitter. There was a tweet.
I read the Tweet because I follow @ShiwaniNeupane and she always has interesting perspective. I have not read her novel, Crossing Shadows, but the reviews were excellent.
Another of her followers, a videshi from UK, Tweeted:
Something really needs to be done about Nepal’s blood banks. Seeing increasing numbers of social media shout-outs for emergency donations.
I’m not sharing the name of the videshi. It’s not about that person. They imply that something is wrong when the opposite is true. They don’t know any better. But I realized that something amazing is actually happening in Nepal which, to my mind, shows the kind of love and community that is possible in Nepal.
The best of Nepal.
First Nepali-language video:
Here is an English-language video from The Netherlands that describes what happens when you donate. How the blood is processed, etc
Here is the amazing part
There now is a network in Nepal named Youth for Blood and they use social media to publicize the need for blood and it seems to be nationwide. Click here for their website. http://youthforblood.org/
This only has 693 views as of today. I think we all need to publicize this organization and the work they do. Please share it as widely as you possibly can.
Oh and by the way here is some science
We need more donors but that is not the only problem. My first inclination when I read this was to focus on the AB blood type of the pregnant lady in the original tweet. We need to get donors with specific blood types. Specifically, AB+ and AB-
If you google it you will find that scientific medical studies have been conducted. this is something Blood Banks do. Here is the summary of one study conducted by doctors at TU IOM:
This study was undertaken to find out the trend of blood group distribution (ABO and Rh) among the 1310 Nepalese attended in Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital and Nepal Medical College Teaching Hospital Kathmandu. The frequency of distribution of A, B, AB and O was 28.5%, 27.3%, 8.7% and 35.5% respectively. Only 0.8% of them were found to be Rh (-) ve. In this population of study, O (+) ve blood group was found to be predominant among the Brahmins, Magars and Gurungs. A (+) ve blood group was predominant among the Chhetris, and B (+) ve among the Sherpas and the Lamas. (source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17357642 )
Get your blood tested.
Here is a chart showing distribution of blood types in various countries:
How to read the graph above?
Very simple. If you are walking down the street in Kathmandu, one out of every three people you pass will have type A, and another one of three will have type O. Only one out of twenty will have type AB. To find a donor for that person you may have to test nineteen more people before you find the one person who matches. That’s why most of the public appeals are for type AB.
The above graph did not include China. I have read reports that in China, 95% of people are type O. To find a matching donor is relatively simple in China.
If you have AB+ or AB- blood, get registered with Youth For Blood Nepal.
The Sacrament of the Goddess
The Sacrament of the Goddess is the title of my novel that takes place in a hospital in Nepal. You can find out where to get a copy if you browse this very blog you are reading. Part of the plot involves blood transfusion – the way that blood is transfused (or not) in Nepal. Like many nurses and doctors, not just in Nepal but from USA, I have seen the lifesaving effect of blood transfusion but also personally watched people die for lack of blood. I hate the helpless feeling when no blood is available. Frankly, I found myself getting teary-eyed to learn about Youth For Blood and their mission.
are you the kind of traveler who hates the idea of a t-shirt that says “My parents visited Nepal and all I got was this lousy t-shirt?” or perhaps “Hard Rock Café Kathmandu”?
Got a singing bowl? how about a Thangka? a little golden figurine of Buddha? these are two items that seem to show up when everyone unpacks after their trip.
Here is a short break taking you to a Himalayan Trek in Solu Khumbu, which by the way, I have never visited myself.
“Tokens of Love”
I happen to have those items and more, not because I bought them, but because people have gifted them to me. At the end of each class session we invariably have a ceremony in which I am given a “token of love.” Now, at this point I own about a dozen small Buddhas.
I am difficult to please in the Nepali scale of gift-giving. Actually, I’ve always been difficult to buy for – I don’t like clothes for example unless I pick them out myself. Frankly, I am the kind of person who enjoys books as a gift.
In the travel industry, people have made studies of the type of handicraft or souvenir that goes with different archetypes of travelers. For example, there is a specific sub-type of tourist who does in fact enjoy getting a Harley-Davidson logo item that might include the name of an “exotic” dealership – (“Harley-Davidson Waikiki” for example. Or a t-shirt from Super Bowl XVIII. The Nepal equivalent would be a football shirt that says “Fly Emirates” I guess.
There is always a specific group of travelers who buy specific handicrafts. The handicrafts on display do not arrive there by accident.
When you take the Grand Tour of Rajasthan, the tourist people have it arranged so that when you hire a guide, the guide steers you to a specific shop that is making whichever handicraft is associated with that city or region. For example, in Aggra you are brought to a place where they do stone inlay work such as that found on the actual Taj Mahal.
In Jaisalmer you get a class on those bedspreads made of eclectic quilted materials.
In Jodhpur you get those moghul miniature paintings of the Kama Sutra. You get a class on the technique then an offer to buy items on a discount. When you get the backstory you end up learning how to appreciate the item you bought and you can practice what you will say when you show it to your friends back in USA.
Umm, those people with the Harley-Davidson logo? They are probably not visiting Nepal. Nepal has a high percentage of adventure tourists and vagabonds.
the top ten physical things people bring home?
as you see, these are ones I think of off the top of my head. I am not disputing the quality of pashmina or the singing bowls, I’m just saying these are what “everyone” gets.
Anyway, I tend to look for the less commercialized gift, or at least the one where the accompanying story needs to be as good as the item. Oh, and it needs to be inexpensive!
My turn to be “snooty”
I’m not better than others just because I like different stuff.
I try very hard to de-clutter my life in USA, but I do like to have unusual items. I usually return home with
As you can see, I gravitate to the offbeat. because I am given many “tokens of love” at the end of any given teaching session, I try to make sure people are told not to give me any item that contains glass or that can’t be crushed when it is shipped back to USA. That’s why textile items are so handy – they don’t break when you drop them!
Most of the above items can be found in “Old Kathmandu” – the neighborhood of Ason Tole or Indra Chowk south of Thamel but north of Kathmandu Durbar Square.
and of course a copy of the Nepal edition of my novel. Here is the back cover:
I will edit this in future, hopefully to add pictures and also locations of some of these things ( I already posted blog entries about the Bead bajaar and where to get Haku Patasi).
If you got this far, please feel free to add suggestions as to what exotic items you would bring back…… there are so many!
In The Kathmandu Post of November 29th, a tourism consultant gave his ideas for resetting Nepal tourism. here is the link: http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2016-11-29/a-new-trajectory.html
Note: My novel of Nepal makes a fine Christmas present especially for a nurse or doctor thinking of global health or medical missionary work. Buy it on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Sacrament-Goddess-Joe-Niemczura/dp/1632100029
The consultant seemed to advocate restricting flights so as to get rid of low-cost airlines; and clearly stated that “hippies” are not wanted. These were astounding assertions.
You can’t tell how much money a tourist has to spend, by looking at their clothes. Frankly, any tourist who comes to Nepal wearing a business suit (an outward indicator of the type of wealthy tourist he wants to attract) will get right back on the plane the moment they realize there is no toilet paper and few western-style toilets. (see below).
This very same day, a Nepali guy wrote on Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/2017-nepal-as-traveling-destination-and-culture-shocks_us_581d782be4b044f827a78d49?ncid=engmodushpmg00000006.
If this is your first time in Asia this might be interesting for you. Nepal does have some western style toilets but in most of the homes you will find only a regular Nepali style toilet. You can practice using this toilet by doing yoga positions and maintaining your balance to drop your stuff into the hole. Nepali people are experts in it but I have heard out of 10, one foreigner says they would rather hold it for a year than use the squat toilet. The next thing you’ll notice is that there is no toilet paper. Most of the people use their hand and water to wash their stuff after poo. It is taught from childhood to wash their hands with soap after use of a toilet but you never know for sure if you can get soap in every toilet.
The Kathmandu Post article appeared in Nepal; the Huffington Post article appeared in an online publication read by hundreds of thousands of people in USA. The guy who wrote for Huffington Post was giving them an unsweetened view of Nepal travel – read it your self and ask if it entices you to visit Nepal….
For me? My opinion?
I wrote my opinion in summer 2015 after the quakes, and I think it still holds true. http://wp.me/p1pDBL-AQ. Marketing decisions by the tourism industry need to focus on the five main target groups as I reviewed them in my 2015 piece.
The plain truth:
Nepal is an amazing, mystical and fantastical place, and holds a special place in the mythology of humankind.
You can quote me on the above. Much of my CCNEPal blog ( http://www.joeniemczura.wordpress.com) is used to share information with a highly specialized group of possible visitors to Nepal – nurses and doctors thinking of sharing their skills with their Nepali colleagues. I travel to places no western Tourist ever visits – and I am treated like royalty. So can you be!
Tourism to Nepal took a huge hit when the twin earthquakes struck in April 25th and May 6th 2015.
Okay, so Nepal always promoted themselves as a place to go for adventure tourism. Nepal is 800 miles from the nearest ocean – nobody would take the kids for a sun and sand vacation as if it were Cancun or Cape Cod or Maui. You don’t see any Nepalis winning swimming medals at the Olympics, do you? there is a good reason….
Nepal has tried various strategies to re-introduce them selves to tourists, mostly along the lines of “it’s safe to come back now” but not really making an impression.
the above is more or less “It doesn’t suck as badly as you may think.” Hardly a ringing endorsement.
My friend Donatella Lorch, the enigmatic journalist, https://tangledjourneys.com/ wrote a piece in Goats And Soda titled “I am in Nepal now” http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2015/09/10/439195188/i-am-in-nepal-now-says-new-tourist-campaign-only-nepal-is-in-chaos that examines this issue.
Here is a seven minute video montage:
Read this piece titled 8 Reasons to visit Nepal. https://www.travel3sixty.com/8-reasons-to-make-nepal-your-next-adventure/
About the movie Everest
probably the biggest recent event to promote Nepal in the public consciousness of USA was the movie “Everest.” Here is the trailer;
Here is the problem with all the above. The promo pieces are either too shallow or too deep and they don’t really appeal to the audience of travelers who might actually visit the country.
A shameless plug for my own book to be made into a movie
Nepal is a terrific place for trekking and hiking. The problem with the movie Everest is, when that’s what people see, they think all trekking and hiking in Nepal is death-defying, and while the story is suspenseful, the person in the audience is saying to themselves “those guys are truly crazy and they are risking death for no good reason.”
America’s Insatiable appetite for stories about Everest may actually be scaring people away from Nepal tourism
The key is, the movie Everest represents a mythological extreme. Trekking in Nepal is not death-defying, and it’s not a man-against-high-altitude-elements experience. It’s really really fun, and part of the fun is to learn about the wonderful hospitality and culture of the people of Nepal along the trekking routes. You can go on hikes in areas with green forest cover and distant snow-covered vistas, without needing to be in world-class mountaineering conditioning, or risking death.
What the Nepal Tourism Board needs
Nepal needs somebody in USA to make a Hollywood movie that will show the scenery but also the nature of it’s people. Or maybe a TV show. Having a TV series set in Nepal would echo a very successful strategy employed by the state of Hawaii in USA. In Hawaii, they try to always have a TV show set in the islands – Hawaii Five-O; Magnum P.I., etc. Why can’t Nepal find a way to do the same?
That’s where my book, The Sacrament of the Goddess, https://www.amazon.com/Sacrament-Goddess-Joe-Niemczura/dp/1632100029 comes in. the Nepal Tourism Board needs to find somebody who will make it into a movie. This book is set in the western hills, along an area later designated as “the Guerilla Trek” after the civil war was over. The Maoist combatants travelled over beautiful scenery in their quest to overthrow the Royal Government. Nowadays is peaceful and beautiful with a rich cultural history.
Some of the readers of my book have told me that the fast pace reminded them of a screen play and they found themselves picturing who they would cast in each role when it became a movie.
The Sacrament of the Goddess could be Nepal’s version of “Slumdog Millionaire” – after all, the novel includes a love story, an exotic location and a compelling plot. with a suspenseful ending.
The Sacrament of the Goddess could also be a medical show on TV. Not too long ago there was a series named “Off the Map” which purported to show a health outpost in a low income country. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1587694/ That one didn’t last long. Jenna Bans, the creator and producer, should have consulted me. I could have provided better technical advice than she received.
ER the TV series
In my opinion, the best-ever sequence showing USA doctors using their skills in global health was the sub-plot of ER a few years back.
Somebody posted a tribute and link is here: https://youtu.be/83ozEDEA1QU Having said the above, I do need to tell you that most global health experiences as nowhere near as intense as the ER clip depicts. All the same, I think that subplot of ER iout nspired a generation of nurses and doctors to get involved in global health.
and of course, ER included this short scene that was and is incredibly powerful for anybody who has ever really and truly prayed: https://youtu.be/wXhUEyzCuR8
So – if anybody from the Nepal Tourist Board reads this, or if there is any movie producer sympathetic to Nepal looking for a screenplay that would entice Americans to fire up their curiosity about this exotic (and yet peaceful) place – let me know. The movie rights are for sale!
I already own a singing bowl, all the Thangkas a man could ask for, and every small gift item you can think of. When I teach, the students give me these “tokens of love.” When I want to bring a present to my daughters, they expect something unusual. I can’t just send a postcard and call it good.
If you have visited Bhaktapur, surely you must have seen women wearing this outfit, even when they are just doing chores of daily life.
Or, perhaps just enjoy this video:
I wanted one. Not for myself. I wanted a special gift for people in my life. I’m very particular about things I bring back to USA. They can’t be run-of-the-mill souvenirs. Need to have some sort of provenance.
Here is another video. For this one the tune is a classic folk song; the visual component shows the weaving process for the Haku Patasi cloth. Simply wonderful!
The Newari-language name is “Haku Patasi.”
I never saw these for sale, so I asked around among my Nepali friends. They sent me to Ason, in the heart of Old Kathmandu south of Thamel. ( well, specifically, Indra Chowk).
Here is yet another video, the tune is titled Haku Patasi” – so – it’s nakkali!
What’s not to like? first, the woman shows classic Newari beauty. Next, the guy has a wonderful singing voice; finally, the scenes of Newari women’s culture are stunning.
I needed to ask around, but ultimately a guy brought me to this shop:
Typical of such shops, you can have a seat while they show you many samples from which to choose.
The selection in this shop focuses on hand-woven items made of Nepali-grown cotton. The fabric has a wonderful feel to it.
Note: the blue-and-white checkered cloth is for a lungi a man would wear. .The fruit-sellers with the bicycles full of bananas usually wear this. I always wondered where they got this – now I know! (600 rupees if you have to ask).
And above, are some typical waistband cloths. If you are observant when you go out in the morning to buy vegetables, you will notice many of the women wear these.
I also got the red and white shawl to accompany the Haku Patasi, he showed me how they wrap it. here is first step.
Turns out that Haku Patasi is just one of many Nepali textiles still in daily use in Nepal. You can get them all in the shop pictured above.
Here is video showing the above.
I need to do a separate blog on the subject of Palpali Dhaka. Many shops at street level sell Dhaka, focus on Haku Patasi for now!
Below, is a ten-minute tour of items in the shop:
and the business card for this particular shop:
He waved good bye from the window when I left.
I recommend this place if you are looking for something that is closely tied to Newar culture. It’s common for young girls to have the child-sized version of the same outfit, and they sell these too, readymade. I did not photograph one, though I should have. They can help you order a “cholo,” the double-breasted jacket, in the traditional pattern.
The Sacrament of the Goddess is a great “beach read” for persons who want to be transported to an exotic time ( in the recent past) and place (on the far side of the planet from Boston).
It’s a way to learn the boots-on-the-ground of #Globalhealth and #globalsurgery without wading through a textbook. The story of working in a remote hospital in the Himalaya is told through the eyes of an international crew of medical volunteers working with a team of Nepali and Indian doctors.
Doing surgery is hard enough and it is not the usual experience to be around sick people every day. Taking your skills and offering them to people of another country during a civil war will take the challenge to a new level. Soon you are thinking about commitment, courage and sacrifice in a different way.
This book is available on Amazon.
UPDATE April 4th, 2016
CCNEPAL will be at #CUGH 2016 in California. If you are in interested in global health in Nepal, find us there! Here are some links to look at before hand….
Pleased to announce that I will be the guest speaker for Nursing Grand Rounds at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. The talk will be held at 12 noon in Auditorium F for an hour, Friday February 19th, 2016. DHMC is in Lebanon, NH.
I made a FaceBook event page for this. Tell your friends!
Here is some reading that will enhance the meeting, along with some random photos.
I will bring a powerpoint of my favorite pictures from Nepal.
what do nurses want to know……
Nurses want the unvarnished truth, without sentimentality and without the glossy glamor. Nurses may be picturing themselves there, doing patient care, interacting with the people, living the life, sharing their knowledge with newfound friends. Facing life’s issues – birth, death, sickness, tragedy- in a foreign culture.
The main thing is, I do not present the “Fantasy Nepal.” The Nepal I live in when I am there is the one where we work to heal sick people and address human suffering. There are many dimensions.
Here are some things from the Internet to look at before we meet:
Learning about Culture Shock and Re-Entry Shock
http://www2.pacific.edu/sis/culture/. this is a critical resource for personal adjustment pre- and post-deployment on any global health experience, as well as for any disaster response.
My blog entry on How to prepare for global nursing. These are practical tips for how to lead your life as a cosmopolitan citizen of planet earth even if you never do a global health adventure.
Risk Reduction strategies
This is important if you are a newbie. The single most important risk reduction strategy is to eliminate alcohol use. Click here for a more comprehensive analysis
Subina Shrestha’s video on childbirth in rural Nepal. She has a terrific vimeo channel. She archives all her work for Al Jazeera English, there.
My blog entry on burn care, with all the links.
My blog entry on the differences between USA and Nepal hospitals. I used to use those pics when I did these talks, but I have more interesting stuff to cover these days!
The FaceBook page for CCNEPal. There is also one for each of my two books. Look at the links to the right.
the Web Page for The Center for Medical Simulation. This is Nepal’s only American Heart Association International Training Center. If you are an ACLS or PALS Instructor, they would love to talk with you!
The twenty-minute video that shows what I do when I am in Nepal.
The Event February 19th
Here are the specific goals and format:
Nursing Grand Rounds in Culture and Global Health
short summary: a quick review of factors in Nepal that impact the
decision to volunteer in a global health nursing role.
examine aspects of personal readiness to volunteer in a Low Income Country.
Identify “culture shock” and “re-entry shock”
identify common myths about global health nursing.
create a personal plan to prepare for future role as a Globally Aware Nurse.
format; a slide show of about 40 pictures with minimal text. A
reading/viewing list related to Nepal health system will be available
online for study by attendees. About thirty minutes of the time will
be devoted to Q & A. During the presentation, participants will be
encouraged to text their questions to the presenter.