Namuna Samudayik Hospital
Sundarbazar, Lamjung, Nepal
April 3, 2013
After two years of planning and many hours of difficult giving and working, this effort became a reality.
On April 3 of last month in the community of Sundarbazar, district of Lamjung in a very rural area of the impoverished country of Nepal, Glenda and I were blessed to be part of the Inauguration Program of this, the first of its kind in the country, dental medical hospital.
After 28 hours of flights and layovers, we reached Bangkok, Thailand, for a two-day rest before continuing the final six-hour flight to Kathmandu, Nepal. Our team of eight included Glenda and myself, Joe & Marcene Harris, Steve & Rhonda Frost and Mike & Teresa Larsen.
Our first two days in Nepal were spent giving a five-hour continuing education experience at two separate dental schools in Kathmandu. On our third day in Nepal, our team, along with eight dental students, one nurse, and the team of Choice Nepal, left Kathmandu at 6:00 a.m. to make the 140-mile, seven-hour journey to Sundarbazar for the 1:00 p.m. inauguration.
The inauguration was held in a large tent on the grassy hillside next to the hospital. It was led by government officials and celebrities of Nepal. The hillsides were covered with about 2500 people who had walked from the surroundings areas. The hospital is equipped with a large diesel generator for its power supply, a water purification system and three air compressors to serve the dental equipment. There are three workstations for restorative dentistry and dental surgery and two workstations for dental hygiene. The balance of the building is dedicated to emergency and basic medical care.
We have also placed two portable units by Aseptico that will be used for outreach dental camps along with all headpieces and restorative and surgical and endodontic instrumentation necessary for complete patient care. The initial placement of supplies was donated by Henry Schein Company and the eight of us hand-carried these supplies to Nepal as checked luggage. This will be restocked through fees paid by the patients being treated. The dental facility will be manned by a continuous rotation of dental and dental hygiene students from Kathmandu who serve internships for periods of up to one month at a time and are housed by local residents. This is an very special opportunity for them and they receive no pay. There is a full-time maintenance and management team in place for the entire hospital. The fees charged will provide payment for the work of these people.
Glenda and I committed to this effort two years ago with trepidation, but also with faith that it could be done and that it could then become a vision and a model for future efforts of its kind in the remote reaches of this impoverished country. We are so grateful for the gift of time and financial support we received from the Harris’s, the Frost’s, and the Larsen’s, who we refer to as “Team Nepal.” We are also very grateful for your support of Learning Curves which gives the resources to continue the mission of the Hammond Family in our efforts of Smiles for Hope Foundation.
After the day of grand opening, speeches, dancing and festivities, our team was blessed to spend three days working side-by-side with the students in the new hospital. We then moved further into the mountains in Land Rovers to the remote area of Okhalepani where we lived and ate in the stone and mud homes of the village people while conducting dental care with the portable equipment we have provided for the hospital. For me, and I think for our entire team, this was both the most difficult, but most rewarding part of our experience.
I want to once again thank each of you who support Learning Curves by allowing the Hammond Family to serve you. Your support is what makes it possible for us to have the blessing of serving others as we travel the world to the poorest of the poor.
Many of you know I drive a black Chevy pick-up truck with a six-inch lift and nerf bars to help Glenda and I climb up to the driver’s seat. I remember my first date with Glenda three years ago. It was our first meeting face-to-face and we only knew of each other until then. I told her I would be coming to pick her up in my black truck. Her children said, “No way Mom. He certainly must have a car.” Well I don’t, and so it goes that I came to the front door in my big black truck. Glenda walked to the truck with wonder as to how she could manage to climb up onto the seat and still look like the awesome lady that she is. Well, she did it, and still does it, even in her high heels and short skirt. It is a sight to behold at the front door to our church, but she has been a good sport with every test I have put her through.
Well, now to the “Blind Spot.” This truck has huge blind spots all the way around because it sits so high. It is hard to get into and hard to turn. But, just like when Glenda wears those high high heels that are so hard to walk in, and that sometimes hurt her feet, all that really matters is it looks great. At the carwash the guys always tell me what a sweet truck I have and I stand a little taller. Because of the blind spots on the truck, I never know if I am in the lines of the parking stall. I don’t know if there is a shopping cart left near my front bumper at Wal-Mart until I drive forward and then I find out. I do have a back-up camera now which helps on that end. The first time I backed into another parked car and did not know what I had hit, I did not have the camera.
Ok, I know, too much information. But, I want you to get the point. Every vehicle, including your Harley, has blind spots. You look in your rear view mirror and even glance over your shoulder to be sure all is clear before making a lane change and you can still miss seeing another vehicle due to a blind spot. The larger the vehicle, the larger and more numerous the blind spots.
When we are on our bikes, we are vulnerable. If a car changes lanes and you are in their blind spot, it is not just a fender bender. You are down on the pavement and the rubber side is no longer down. We have a responsibility to protect ourselves by staying out of those blind spots. We need to ride where we can be seen through the car’s side window or drop back where we can be seen in the rearview mirrors. Don’t hide behind a truck. If you can’t see the driver of the truck in his or her rearview mirror, then they can’t see you.
I hope this will remind you to be more aware of automobile blind spots so that you will select road positions that ensure that drivers see you. Always try to be aware of your surroundings and predicting what actions drivers are likely to make. Select lane positions that give you the highest chance to always be seen. Oh, by the way, I also like loud pipes. I have always felt like my Harley was made to be seen AND heard.
Looking forward to the honor and blessing of serving you on one of our rides this season.
STURGIS or NEW ZEALAND
If you want to experience the Sturgis Rally and have not signed up, let us know and I will call in some favors and try to get a few more rooms. I have people in high places that can work wonders at a time like this. August 3-11 are the dates for this one and only Learning Curves Sturgis Adventure.
On another note, our January 2014 trip to New Zealand is near to being full. If you have been thinking about this one, get hold of Angel now by phone or email.