Nepal left a strong mark on me

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Michele Salvagno, Italy
Medical elective
University of Padua

 I went to Nepal to do an internship in a hospital as a medical student. 

I was well-informed about the features of this country, but I didn’t expect that this land, nestling among the giants of China and India, could have such a strong identity, and that the economic poverty afflicting this country may disappear in front of the spiritual dignity and richness of its people. Going to Nepal left a strong mark on me.  

I have done an internship for one month at the Kanti Children’s Hospital in Kathmandu, a government hospital which provides daily treatments to hundreds of children. It is a completely different setting from those present in the western world, and it is unavoidable to be struck by the huge amount of patients who are visited every day, from the lack of beds and the absence of medical instruments which we can easily use in our hospitals. Notwithstanding this, most doctors and nurses are well-qualified and have a great humanity to do everything possible for the children. I did the internship at the General Medicine ward, at the Department of Emergency and the Department of Anesthesia in the operating theatre. I attended the morning visits, the emergency acceptance, sedations and the anesthesia during surgeries. Everywhere I met helpful doctors, wishful to explain and to give you the opportunity to practice. The language was not a barrier: English is well spoken not only by the staff but also by the majority of common people - including children. 

Once you leave the hospital, it is quite normal to be surprised, especially in the first few days, by the chaos and air pollution caused by the traffic. Be careful while crossing the street: it’s one of the most dangerous thing one may do in Nepal!  

The guesthouse is in a strategic location, beside the hospital and a few minutes from the historic centre. At home you would always find someone and a hot meal ready. Mama, together with Ashim and Januka, Nardev and Ram, would take care of you, and you’ll not be considered guests but sons (anyway, be aware of the chilli :))

Thanks to this experience you will know people from all over the world. They will become your brothers for the period you will live there: together with them I saw the Himalayan’s dawn (or nearly:) ), I visited cities like Pokhara, I did rafting, I tasted newari dishes and chaang (be strong :D), I lived  many adventures. I finished my journey with an incredible trekking trip to Annapurna, under the eye of Machapuchare…… but this is an another story 🙂 

The experience will be different for every person, but I can assure that it is unforgettable for everybody.

Michele Salvagno is a Medical Doctor graduated at the University of Padua, Italy