Monday, August 15, 2011

The Clinic

I have written quite a bit about Surmang, but not much yet about the clinic where we are staying.  It was envisioned and created by Lee Weingrad, the man who we met in Beijing.  Twenty years ago, Lee was living in Boulder, Colorado, when he was being taught Buddhism by a very special monk.  This monk was the 11th incarnation of the Trungpa Rinpoche, which is one of the highest positions in the Buddhist religion.  Lee made a real spiritual connection with the Rinpoche, and, after the Rinpoche died, in order to give back, Lee organized the creation of this clinic.  He created the clinic here in Surmang, because this is where the Rinpoche’s monastery is. 
Our Clinic
Dawn, a nurse, and Drolma, a translator in our kitchen
Over the past twenty years American health workers have been coming to this clinic, as volunteers, to help provide health care.  Currently, the clinic has two exam rooms, and the living quarters (where we are staying) are upstairs.  Two Tibetan doctors work here seeing sick patients from the Surmang region.  Also, the Tibetan doctors are working with American public health volunteers to lower the mortality rate of women and babies during childbirth.  In this region, one in five babies die in the first two years of life, and one in three hundred women die in child birth.  It’s hard to imagine childbirth being so dangerous.  I have always thought of it as being safe when my friend’s mother’s have had another child.

Our day today began with a nice walk down the long valley beyond our village.  Right at the beginning of the walk, a man invited us into his house for bread, apples, and hot water.  He spoke no English, so we had to use our Tibetan vocabulary.  In Tibetan, we figured out that he was the father of one of the doctors in the clinic.  The living space was on the second floor of the house.  The lower area was where they store food.  I thought it was super nice of him to invite us in, being strangers.  One would never do that in the U.S.A. The rest of our walk was dusty and beautiful.  Fields of open land, with rivers flowing through them.

Hot and dusty
Prayer flags on our walk
A Nearby Village
Prayer wheels
After our walk, we came home and I am writing my blog.  I just had a yummy dinner of rice and many creative toppings.  I am excited that I do not have to move for another month.
A Good Dinner
Thank you for reading Rohan Geographic!  

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