Goodbye New Zealand and Namaste Nepal! I can’t believe I am heading off on my elective. I have been thinking about it and planning for it for so long! First stop of this 13 week journey is Nepal.

And what a first week it has been!  After a very long flight, I finally arrived in Kathmandu late at night. The roads (if that’s what you want to call them!) are chaos and there do not appear to be any road rules here so it was a very interesting trip to the hostel.

I was met by the organisation Hope and Home on my first morning and introduced to their medical programme. To start, this first week is orientation to Nepal and the culture. They believe (as do I) that we are better prepared to help in the community if we know the history, parts of the language and some of the culture.

We did a tour of Thamel, the main tourist area of Kathmandu city. It was sensory overload from the minute we stepped outside. There are just so many people, colours, shops, smells and let’s not forget the overwhelming amount of dust and smog that clog your lungs. They were able to point out useful things such as ATMs, where to eat, what to eat and how to ask for directions home!

This week I have been taking language lessons which have been extremely helpful. They have focussed on the main verbs and adjectives as well the key medical terms such as pain, vomit, headache, and various body parts for example. During the week I have also done some sightseeing to Monkey Temple, which offers great views over the city and Patan Durbar Square with old palaces and temples.

I also managed to check out one of the hospitals in Kathmandu – but not on purpose rather as a patient! An unfortunate introduction to the food poisoning that affects so many tourists here! But – what better way to see the medical system but from the bed itself!

I don’t know quite how to describe Kathmandu. From the tooting of cars, the dust and the enormous amount of rubbish littering the street mixed with temples, shrines and prayer flags – it is a city of opposites.

I have been placed in Banepa. It is a small town about 30km from Kathmandu (although that is a 2 hour bus ride!) and it supports a large farming community. I will be working in Scheer Memorial Hospital which is a Seventh Day Adventist mission hospital.

I can’t wait to get started! I head to Banepa tomorrow to meet my host family and will start at Scheer the following day.