I am pleased to announce that no major catastrophes struck the Kathmandu Valley in this past year. In fact the load sharing problem that has left different sections of the city lacking access to electricity for periods exceeding 12 hrs per day has been rectified. For the first time in decades most of the valley now enjoys access to electricity 24/7. How did this giant step forward occur? Actually, this hardship did not need to exist. It appears once again corrupt Government officials secretly sold electrical power meant for the Kathmandu Valley to India instead and pocketed the profits. The new Nepali Constitution, adopted in 2015 is meant to put a stop to such rampant corruption as the new Government endeavors to become more decentralized and transparent. This is great news for the citizens of Kathmandu. Let us hope that there will be further success stories in such a spiritually rich but economically poor country.
Having a reliable supply of electricity has made the HMF’s work easier, especially for Dr. Karma Dolma, our full time dentist. She no longer has to carry a small petrol powered generator around with her as she sets up Portable Dental Clinics throughout the valley. Also, our Benchen Clinic X-ray Department and Laboratory is now functioning more efficiently without the unexpected down times of electricity.
It has been a good year for the HMF as all of our 7 clinics have been fully operational without unexpected closures due to earthquakes, flooding or political calamities. Dr. Karma Dolma has had a busy first year working both at the Benchen Free Dental Clinic as well as operating portable dental units at each of the seven HMF clinics. Several Community schools, orphanages and two other monasteries have also benefited from her services. She recently spent over two weeks at Nagyi Gompa, performing dental exams and procedures for all the residing nuns and lay community. This was the first time such a service has been offered to Nagyi Gompa and everyone there has been very happy and appreciative. An interesting development is that Dr Dolma’s brother, dentist Dr. Karma Tashi recently completed a 4 year assignment running a rural dental clinic in Bhutan. He has relocated his family to Kathmandu and has been volunteering his services by helping his sister, treating the HMF’s dental patients. Dr. Chiring is very proud that two of his children received scholarships to study dentistry in Poland and are now working as fully trained dentists in Nepal.
I spoke recently with the 16 year old Yangsi Tulku (Born Again) of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche who with a wonderful smile shared that in spite of the significant damage done to Nagyi Gompa by the recent earthquake, the nun’s population has grown to over 200. That is 20-30 new nuns in the past 3 years! In addition, the Yangsi was happy to report that Ka-Nying Gompa in Boudha also experienced a significant increase in its monastic population. It is wonderful to see that in such a confused and chaotic time, the Buddha Dharma is still flourishing in its homeland.
A larger monastic population will require a larger staff and additional funding in order for the HMF to operate …. but we are delighted to have this challenge. To provide medical and dental care to the monastic and local lay popula on of the Kathmandu Valley has been a great honor and a wonderful opportunity to be of service.
The HMF recently responded to a catastrophic event outside of the Kathmandu Valley. Unexpectedly heavy monsoon rains with accumulations of 17 inches of water in just 8 hours in the plains of southern Nepal brought on massive flooding and destruction. The Diplomat newspaper stated on September 5th: “Though Nepal experiences severe flooding in pockets during most monsoon season, this year the floods have spanned nearly the breath of the entire country from east to west at the same time. This has never happened before in Nepal. Currently, floods are affecting over 16 million people in India, Bangladesh and Nepal. In Nepal alone over 120 people are reported killed, 7,000 homes destroyed, over 18,000 families displaced and entire communities are devastated.”
In response to this catastrophe several government agencies and NGOs such as ADARA and the HMF teamed up and sent a medical team to the Parsa District of the southern Terai region of Nepal to provide much needed emergency services.
Arriving at Parsa after a long bumpy 8 1⁄2 hr drive, the medical team led by Dr. Chirring Lama, set up an Emergency Health Camp and began seeing patients. A team of two doctors, two HMF health assistants, as well as volunteers from the Benchen Gompa, the HMF and ADARA treated over 1600 patients in just three days. All services were provided free of charge. The most common ailments were skin infections, rashes and dysentery all brought on by contaminated and toxic flood waters. Many Nepalis have been rescued from isolated patches of dry land, having become weak and dehydrated by being without food or water for as long as four days. Because mosquitoes breed in standing water the incidence of Malaria and Dengue Fever is starting to rapidly increase and is expected to affect a significant percentage of the population in the coming weeks. Kudos to all of those kind souls who volunteered to help! Having suffered from Dengue Fever before myself, I was quite happy not to be a part of this venture.
The following are photos of the HMF’s medical and dental work in the Kathmandu valley during this past year as well as the Emergency Health Camp in the Terai. See if you can notice a difference in Nepalis living in Kathmandu and in those living in the Terai of Southern Nepal. In spite of the poverty which pervades Kathmandu, the condition of the poor Nepalis living in the vast flood plains is shocking. Malnourished and emaciated Nepalis with bare feet and worried faces show a population that is truly suffering.
The HMF will commemorate its 25th year of operation in 2018. Your generosity over the years has been our primary source of funding and your help is greatly appreciated. The HMF is a 501 c 3 nonprofit organization and all donations are tax deductable. Our operations and budget have expanded over the past two years, so your kind donation is essential to our work.
Please make a donation via Paypal, or make out a check to the HMF.
Our mailing address is:
The HMF, 608 Portside Court, Lafayette, CO 80026
Dr. Gregory Rabold, Founder and Medical Director HMF
Phone: 720 387 8087