Many clowns in a very small car…

Well my faithful travel companion and colleague Jackie and I have arrived on Nepal. With the exception of a momentary confusion lost in translation wherein which we thought our clothes bags were going to be left in Dehli, we had an uneventful trip across the globe. Carrying 5 pieces of luggage and 2 backpacks, we were grateful to easily pass through customs with 100+ pounds of granular herbs. Upon meeting up with our Mindful Medicine founder and liaison Grainne, she took us out to begin our fabulous fun filled journey with a circus act called “How to fit 5 pieces of luggage, 2 backpacks and 4 grown adults into a mini-Cooper sized vehicle.” With all of us smashed in the car and two of our largest suitcases on the “top rack,” we set off through the narrow dog and cow filled streets of Kathmandu towards our end destination- the SheChen Medical Clinic (also where we are staying). Without any warning, our ears were suddenly filled with the short scraping and final thud of Jackie’s suitcase crashing to the ground. Our poor taxi driver was mortified and more so because, before he realized it, his three very strong willed DIYS (do it yourself type) passengers charged out of the car almost faster than he did. It only took me a second to start the giggling as I realized the cars and motorcycles are going around us on all sides and he was trying to wrangle us back into the taxi which was as futile as herding cats. He only wanted to move off to the side of the road so he could safely remedy the loading of the luggage but language barriers and stubbornness prevailed and we quickly rearranged into a different stuffing of the car. As we continued on down the road, Jackie and Grainne very quickly got to know each other as they were sandwiched into the backseat with most of the luggage, and my arm felt exuberant with cold from holding on to the suitcase on the top. It was all really quite hilarious!!!

As we got further from the airport and closer to our clinic, the once thickly polluted air thinned into more a tinge of fire smell and the road resembled a four wheel drive track littered with trash piles and dogs along with a few sprinkles of cow. Our pace slowed considerable but we still arrived in quick time and the taxi driver was a fabulous road negotiator despite all that was weighing his car down.

The next morning, we were invited to attend the teachings of the popular Tibetian Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche who happened to be in town at the same time and was conducting a week long seminar. As weren’t able to go in first thing in the morning because we were not attending the full seminar, one of our other colleagues Amanda joined us in a walk to the local Internet cafe (we were anxious to let our families know of our arrival). It was also a wonderful opportunity to meet each other before the work week begun. We headed back to the teachings at their morning break and Grainne introduced us to Choyki Nyima Rinpoche who we found out was her teacher. She had given each of us a kata with which the Rinpoche gave us each a blessing and then allowed us to sit in for the remainder of the morning session. This was such a gift…Thanks Grainne!!!! Especially after we found out that he is her teacher and they have a very special bond. I really enjoyed meeting him. With his big round eyes, and beaming childlike smile, He is the cutest and closest to Yoda that I’ve ever seen. To meet him and hear his teachings, This was a real gift!!!

We are staying on Boudha (Boudha) which has one of the holiest and largest Stupas in Nepal. Similar to many old churches in Europe, this Buddhist temple dominates the skyline and the village has been built around it. I will share more stories and details as we explore further.

Day 1 in the clinic was a gentle pace. We hear that it has been pretty slow but as word that the acupuncturists are back spreads, we anticipate a larger client load. In total we probably saw close to 20 patients between two rooms but this was ok because it allowed us to get orientated to the clinic and the flow. (Amanda and Ferran were with Bob and Jackie and I assisted Honora) We saw mostly pain patients with an occasional internal medicine problem here or there. We got to collaborate on herbal formulas for most patients and of course Jackie and I really loved that!!

More to come…..


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