Volunteering in Nepal, A Personal Story

Amy in NepalThis metal monkey just turned 30 and is a body worker. I have been a body worker and holistic health practitioner for 6 years. It’s my life, it’s who I am, it’s what I do and the motivation for most of my endeavors. I am also currently working on a master’s degree in traditional Chinese medicine so that I can become an acupuncturist and herbalist. I’ve made it halfway through the 4 years it takes to accomplish this, that is, 4 years if you don’t care about having a life.

I want to have a life! I want to experience things, people, and places as well as be in love with Chinese medicine. To become an acupuncturist you have to be passionate about it, you have to love people, and you have to be driven. It’s not an easy path but it’s very rewarding. To be a Chinese medicine practitioner is to give your life to it, to live it, and to be an example. At least that’s what they tell you. To become a traditional healer, you have to do hours of rote memorization, you have to study relentlessly, and you have to get to a point where you just don’t give a shit any more and then try to remember why you’re there. You have to half ass your way sometimes and choose your battles.

So, I needed a break. A good break, a real break—not just the measly two to three weeks you usually get in between trimesters. (Yes, school is year round.)

I’ve never been to Asia before and here I am studying Chinese medicine. So much is lost on me because I don’t innately know the culture. Asia is huge; it encompasses places like Nepal, China, Tibet, both Koreas, and Japan. I’m not a very experienced traveler; I’ve been to some of the standard locations in the U.S. , as well as to Spain, Mexico, Jamaica, and Costa Rica. None of this could really prepare me for what it’s like to come to Nepal. I knew I had to get the hell out of dodge and take a break from school before I went crazy, stopped giving a shit, and stopped learning.

Why Nepal? Well, it’s where Mindful Medicine Worldwide has its two clinics. I became compelled to work with Mindful Medicine Worldwide after I met the founder, Grainne, at an acupuncturist’s convention. She was well-spoken, educated, and passionate about her work. Grainne told me about her organization and how they bring health care to Nepal and are also working on other locations in Thailand. I was impressed that an organization that had only been around a year had accomplished so much. It’s in my nature to mistrust new organizations so the fact that I didn’t feel this way was something significant to me. Over the years I have learned to trust my instincts and intuition  (call it a perk of my career).

At the time I didn’t know this but Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world. After a long war there was no money left for health care and the people were left to deal with it on their own. A lack of education, health care, and hard work has made the people of Nepal deeply in need of free and inexpensive health care. As it turns out, a lot of people don’t know this about Nepal. In fact when I told people I was coming here half of them weren’t even sure it was a country.

“Where’s Nepal? Is that a country?”

“Yes, yes it is and, by the way, it’s a landlocked country on the Indian subcontinent, it’s where Mt. Everest is.  Go ahead and Google it like I did.”

Please visit here again soon, as I share my adventures of being in Nepal.


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