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Acupuncture Adventures in Nepal

Posted Nov 09 2010 5:42am

Recently I wrote about the inspiring work of the Acupuncture Relief Project in Nepal and have continued to stay informed about thier work. On their blog, Leith Nippes, volunteering for the 6th time, wrote about working during a monsoon. She says,


~ The valley was bone dry when I last left and after 7.5 months without rain everything was covered in a heavy layer of dust. Today, the valley is a sea of green and mud from months of monsoon.  When it rains, it’s as though a wall of water is falling for hours at a time. But the air is clean, the temperature and humidity much more manageable than the 90+ degrees in Kathmandu with humidity trapping in the pollution.

It feels like a homecoming for me, I am very excited to see my “Nepal family”; ARP staff, friends, Monks, patients, and even the dogs.  I am greeted by big smiles, prayer hands, blessings, wagging tails, chai tea, and an excited monk running into me around a corner when he hears of my arrival.
I look out the window and I see my “favorite stroke patient”, Mr. Thapa. He is the 43 year old Nepali police officer who suffered a severe stroke over 10 years ago. We have reported on his case and development over the last 3 years.  Today he is 30 minutes early and waiting for the clinic to open, squatting on his heels in the alley. This is a new range of motion I have not seen from him before. He is excited to show me a lot of other new ranges of motion he has gained through his acupuncture treatments. He puts both his right arm and leg through almost noodle -like dance motions, he is thrilled with the treatments, the level of care, and his improvement. At this point he comes to work on his speech and excess saliva.  Anne Frances will work with him 3 times a week for the next month focusing mainly on scalp acupuncture. 2 weeks later his speech is clear, the saliva level is no longer an issue and suddenly he is speaking English! He has always used some English words and fragmented sentences but he is now conversational.  It’s hard for everyone in the room to contain their joy, excitement and laughter.  Before the stroke, Mr. Thapa spoke multiple languages (Nepali, Nawari, Hindi, and English).  Immediately after the stroke it was only Hindi which remained, interestingly not his first language. So the question that now comes to mind; does he now feel confident enough with the decreased saliva level to speak more English? Or did the scalp treatment awaken a part of his brain that has been asleep for years? ~
~ I would like to thank all those who have and continue to help support our project. It is a blessing to be of service to the wonderful people of Nepal. 
 Namaste, Leith Nippes
*Read more about Leith's adventures in Return To Nepal.

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