We do not typically know much about what our week holds until we arrive on Monday. I had much anticipation for this week because all we knew is that it was “rustic accommodations”, where students had seen scorpions and large spiders, and that there would not be anything to do in the evening, such as visiting coffee shops. As soon as I arrived I immediately felt at peace. It is extremely quiet (very different than Dehradun where cars are always honking) and the landscape is absolutely beautiful. We are surrounded by mountains and vibrant green wheat plants. The area is also filled with beautiful parrots and other chirping birds.
The clinic here is entirely funding my CFHI (the organization that brought me here), which is awesome to see. Even medications are entirely free. It is made up of a physician, Dr Dheeraj Joshi, and pharmacist, Mr Vrinder. They provide basic outpatient healthcare such as prevention, upper respiratory infections, diarrhea, etc. However, they cannot provide any ancillary testing (I.e bloodwork, ekgs) so if that is necessary they are referred to Dehradun (about one hour away by car from here). I also learned that if an emergency were to occur or if a woman is pregnant the government provides free ambulance services.
In addition to the main clinic, every Tuesday and Thursday there are health camps held deeper within the villages. Throughout the month they travel to 6 different locations (by foot). Each site is hosted at someone’s home. CFHI chooses one person in each village to become a “health promoter”. These individuals are provided many resources on healthcare information and serve as a resource to that part of the village. In addition, the health promoters will host a health camp at their home once a month. Today we were able to visit a health camp that was about 1.5 miles away. They were very welcoming to Meredith and I while there and we were able to see a few diagnoses such as earwax impaction and scabies.
We are staying in a small apartment below the clinic. I have to say I was excited to see a western toilet (Indian toilets are just a hole in the ground). All meals are made by Mr Vrinder’s (the pharmacist) wife, Mrs. Rita, and so far have been delicious. We also participate in yoga sessions twice a day. Our yoga instructor trained and still currently lives in Rishikesh (where we traveled the first weekend and is know as the yoga capital of the world). It is challenging but I am really enjoying it. The weather has been fantastic (in the 70s) and it has felt similar to camping only with way better food!