Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Day 13 - a trip to the hospital

Woke up feeling much brighter after a good night's sleep. I have finally worked out how to put the fan on. I cannot use it during load shedding but of the two sockets in the room only one is connected to the battery backup. I've plugged the fan into the extension cable on the other socket so when the power is on, the fan is on throughout the night and if the power fails then it will stop and not drain the battery. The different was incredible and I slept well until about 6.30 when the temple bells started.

Had a shower then breakfast of croissants. If anyone can work out a way of warming croissants using only a 4 ring butane gas burner then I would love to know! Then walked to school where I signed in and was slightly earlier than usual so caught assembly. This was outside in the lane next to the school and the children sang the national anthem and - I think - a prayer as well as doing some exercises (in the UK we would term this brain gym!). Then they all went into class. I got what I needed from the library then went to teach English to class 2. This was a lesson on colours, animals and where they live. I had differentiated it which the English teacher found rather bemusing but it worked well and I was pleased. I now have them all saying "basket" with a short A as in the north of the UK (Anne - we will overcome!!!).

Then i had class 5 for circle time. We had introduced it yesterday and so today was a little more intense. We started with rounds and games then talked about things that make us happy. I got them to do some paired work and there was a bit more forthcoming from them. The teachers in the library translated for me when the children did not understand but they really need to do it in Nepali so that the language is not a barrier to the discussion.

I settled down in the library to mark the books from class 2 and was joined by the head teacher. We talked for over 2 hours about a wide range of topics from education to life in the UK and Nepal and, most interestingly, her faith and beliefs. It is conversations like these that i really treasure and it was lovely at the end of it to feel we had made a better connection.

I had milk tea with the teachers at lunchtime then up to the family home for daal bhat with chicken. I didn't eat the chicken kidney! A group from Italy who are visiting joined us and asked me about the school. I excused myself to go and play carom board with class 4. On returning to the school I saw that there was something going on outside so went to investigate. There the younger children were preparing for a game of "apple bobbing" but with sweets on a string rather than apples. It was wonderful to watch them.
Skipping games

Badminton (with the emphasis on the BAD!!!)

Nursery Class having their 2 hour afternoon nap.

Snakes and ladders with class 1

Hula expert

School gong

Chin ups on the old swing frame.

The school building

My afternoon cuppa

I let the children borrow the camera...the phrasebook has been invaluable.

The boy behind had a nose bleed! I think this is called photo-bombing!

Drain cover

The teachers' sign in board (the other side of the star is red)

Sweets on a line

I then left to sign out and walked to Patan Dhoka to pick up a taxi. I managed to bargain the fare down to 400rs - about £3 - for a 20 minute journey. We drove through downtown Kathmandu dodging the many motorcycles and the rickshaw drivers. One man with a rickshaw was really struggling and as we drove past I realised he had 5 sacks of rice plus a passenger sitting on top of wonder he was tired!
Carving of Ganesh on a door on the way to Patan Dhoka

An ingenious engineering solution in the taxi!

Bites - ouch!

At the hospital I went in and was greeted by a shiningly clean clinic with air conditioning. I filled in the detailed forms then sat and waited. I was called in an given a preliminary examination by no fewer than 3 nurses who took height, weight, BP, pulse, temperature and medication history. I was then sent back to the waiting area to await the doctors. As they were already with a patient I was given a cup of tea and magazine.

Two doctors then arrived and I was taken to the examination room. There one of hte doctors who is training for their new clinic opening in Pokhara took a full medical history then took a look at the bites on my legs, some of which are going septic. Using insect repellent and a mossie net has not helped and they itch like crazy despite anti histamines. I was installed on the examination couch which was on a wooden base about 4ft high. Then he left me for a while t consult with the other doctor. I spent the time looking at all the labels and was amused to see that there were "protective googles" available as well as a vasectomy kit next to the sutures!!

On returning both doctors diagnosed an allergic reaction to flea bites. I was given calamine lotion, strong antihistamines and antibiotic ointment for the infected ones plus advice to return if this does not help. I then went to pay the bill - $75 - which I thought was very reasonable given the length of examination and care. I have authorised this with the insurance company so can get a refund when in the UK.

I had planned to get a bus back but as the taxi was so cheap I decided to get another one back. I managed to negotiate 400rs again and we drove back through the smog to Patan Dhoka passing some rather familiar signs on the way....

At Patan Dhoka I got a bit panicky as I was running short of cash and 2 of the 3 machines I tried wouldn't accept any of my cards. I finally found one which did and felt much better once I had cash again. It's a very vulnerable feeling. I browsed round the supermarket and found Edam, a very small wedge, which was priced at almost 1000rs (about £10)! I settled instead for the Nepalese "made with cows milk" cheese as a change from the yak variety which tastes of soap.

A leisurely dinner in Cafe Cheeno followed starting with an iced coffee, then a steak (REAL steak!!) cooked perfectly with seasonal vegetables (okra and green beans) and potatoes, boiled, hollowed, stuffed with melted cheese and with a small dab of tomato ketchup on the top! I moved inside for my cup of masala tea as I was getting bitten. Then a slow walk back to the apartment where I managed to Skype Mum and wrote this blog. 

I'm off for a much needed shower now then reading. I'm getting through books very quickly here and my kindle is a godsend. 

Weird notices of the day:
At the restaurant: "All burgers are served with salad and fires".
Over an educational establishment: "School for sponge learners".

...the mind boggles!


  1. Love the cheeky chap with the cotton wool up his nose! Your photos of the children do capture their mischievous moments.

    The critters of Nepal are finding you very tasty. Clove oil is supposed to help deter mozzie bites but not sure about fleas.

  2. What a lovely photograph of the girls chatting, children are the same the world over. I am pleased to note you are wearing school uniform!

    I love your observations of quirky signs Jane, still got your sense of humour despite the bites. Hopefully you will be able to locate the source and avoid it.

    Keep smiling.:)
    Love Mum xx

    PS Is there any other way to pronounce 'basket'? You'll be getting them to say 'betta' next!!

  3. The kids look like they're having a great time with their new playmate ;) Hope your bites soothe soon.

  4. put a stick through the croissant and suspend it (somehow) over the gas burner.