Over the 2016-17 Christmas and New Year period, BPM legends Brad Stewart and Anthony Gadenne joined BPM Nepal Project Co-Ordinator in a search for new regions for BPM to continue our work. Below is a short field report from Anthony, along with a pictorial tribute to the mission. Stay tuned for exciting announcements about our expansions!
A FIELD REPORT: REFLECTIONS ON NEPAL AND THE SEARCH FOR NEW OPPORTUNITIES
by Anthony Gadenne
As I wander the streets of Kathmandu and watch a large eagle gracefully circle above the hustle and bustle of the frantic city below, I consider the journey I have just completed over the last couple of weeks and I am once again reminded that life in Nepal is all about balance: between nature and man, between the beauty of the surrounding hills and mountains, between the danger that they posses and occasionally unleash in the form of a powerful deadly earthquake or landslide. During the start of this most recent trip I was reminded of the importance of balance early-on as my pick up from the airport was by motorbike. I tried to balance a 20kg pack on my back, a 15kg pack on my front and sit on the back of a small motorbike moving at break-neck speed with just fractional clearances to other traffic and nothing but my ‘safety beanie’ on for protection. I kept repeating to myself: “balance it’s all about balance”.
This recent adventure was my third trip to Nepal in two years and each trip has been different: a different purpose, a different feeling, a different flavour.
My first trip to the country was in early 2015 with the aim of setting up a small local rescue team to aid in getting the sick injured to the Moonlight Community Healthcare Center. A team of us worked hard at training-up the locals to be able to respond with first aid, low angle roping techniques and the ability to stretcher the ill and injured to further help when required, something they had never been able to do previously and would prove vital in the months ahead.
The second trip – just a few months later – was in response to the earthquake that shattered so much of Nepal. BPM quickly organised a small team to deploy and was on the ground providing assistance within 48hrs of the incident. The team of paramedics that where sent over worked tirelessly for 10 days, piled onto the back of a small pick-up and sleeping on any kind of flat ground. All were very experienced professionals and had worked within the Backpacker medics organisation before. The team worked independently and remained self-sufficient moving from village to village helping a many as we could before moving on, until we were exhausted and had ran out of supplies eventually had to return home.
The third in late 2016/ early 2017 was launched to seek-out and establish new areas of need that could be set up for future healthcare teams. We were also looking for possible areas to establish remote area clinics. To do this Brad, Sushant and myself travelled by jeep, by foot and by motorbike- following steep muddy tracks and icy roads to get to some of the more distant parts of Nepal.
During the short space of a few weeks we were able to find three main areas of interest: one in the foothills of lower Everest and two in Gorkha (the home of the infamous Gurkhas), to the west of Kathmandu. The value of these new areas would open up a range of possibilities for BPM as they were remote and required the crossing of arduous terrain that will need a more adventurous and robust type of medic to attend to. Of particular significance was the real need for quality healthcare in these outlying areas.
Were were met with great fanfare and incredible hospitality in every village we stopped at- even if it was only for a few hours! Often we would inspect any current healthcare facilities, give a small presentation to the community and discuss the needs of the villagers with representatives. It soon became evident that some areas were better-equipped than others- but I guess that’s what this trip was all about: finding new opportunities!
Upon our return to Australia, we discussed all these opportunities with the BPM committee and we should be able to reveal a host of new work areas, volunteer opportunities and genuine adventures!