Monthly Archives: August 2013

Ups and Downs

Ups and downs – they happen in all of our lives!  Here in Tansen, we are reminded of literal ups and downs every day – as we walk down the hill to the hospital, and up the hill to return home….some days climbing more slowly than others!

So – what is “up” around here lately?

            The hospital census….. Let’s see.  We have 165 beds in our hospital now – there were 170 inpatients the other night.  One of the newer doctors asked the other day about the record number of patients on the medical ward – we think he probably had the previous record beaten with 48 (33 beds…).  And yesterday, one of the other doctors was wandering around the hospital looking for open beds – there were 55 inpatient children (44 beds….).


            Doctor numbers….. due to some people needing leaves unexpectedly, we are down to only 4 senior General (or Family) doctors for about 2 weeks.  These four need to cover call (that means twice a week for most of them) and to see all the patients in the wards, and see most of the patients in the outpatient clinics or ER.  We are thankful that we have 7 residents and 4 interns to help out, but it is still a very heavy load.


            Snake bites…..  There have been 3 patients in the past 3 days who have come in to either be put onto our ventilator, or to get anti-venom, and sometimes both!  One of the patients came up in a jeep from Butwal (about 35 kilometers down the mountain – takes about 1.5 – 2 hours) and he was being “bagged” by hand to keep him getting oxygen until he got to the ventilator here.  We are thankful that all three have survived.  I am looking more carefully at where I put my feet down these days!


            Supplies in the bazaar….  We were about a month without butter, but we are so happy we have gotten some again the past few days!  Still waiting on a few other staples….tomato paste, brown sugar, etc.  Vegetables are not so available at the end of monsoon, but we still do enjoy yummy cucumbers and tomatoes.


            The temperatures and humidity….  The sun has been out more these past few days, and we are enjoying daily steam baths (HA!) any time we walk anywhere.


            The amount of rain….We put out a little rain gauge in our yard for fun just to see how much rain we were getting.  In June we measured about 35.25 inches.  In July, it was 31.05 inches.  Through today (Aug. 24), we have only measured 16.05 inches.  Perhaps monsoon is winding down….we will see if more rains still come our way!


            Mosquitoes, dragon flies, cicadas, butterflies as big as birds, geckos, and other fun (or not so fun) creatures.  Mostly outside, but a few find their way into our homes….  We still have our mosquito netting up and we use it every night!


This little guy is living in our living room – we like him as he will help eat little bugs we’d rather not have inside!

tiny visitor


            Debbie’s weight.  I’ve been struggling with tummy troubles for several months and the worst part was that food just didn’t taste good.  Finally, when we realized I had lost over 20 pounds, we started various meds and other treatments and I’m happy to say I’m feeling much better.  It’s been a bad year for tummies around here.  I’m not so sad to have lost some pounds, but I wouldn’t recommend the weight loss method! 


            Power cuts.  Not the load shedding type which are scheduled – just the off again on again variety.  The lights went off during church this morning – the worst part was the fans all stopped!


            Numbers of expat missionaries.  Not only are doctor numbers down, but just the team in general is about as small as I ever remember during our times here.  We have 12 adults here and no children at the moment!  (Some are away on various trips and will be back, but it’s a quite different feeling around here right now!)

Playing Jenga with friends…

Playing Jenga with friends....

…a game of ups and downs!

A game of ups and downs!


            Nepali festivals.  A few weeks ago was the day on which snakes are honored.  (Can’t say I did much to celebrate that one!)  The last few days were the festival of Gai Jatra – the cow festival.  It isn’t just about cows – it is for families who have lost loved ones in the past year to remember them.  That’s the serious part.  Then the guys dress up in saris (like women) and dance around pretending to plant rice and have a good time….  In about 2 weeks is the festival of Teej – also known as the women’s festival.  The men are supposed to cook a meal for the ladies who all get dressed up and go out and dance.  (The dancing “practice” has been going on for several weeks already!)


            The noise level in our house.  Not that Hannah was loud when she stayed here with us (unless a spider happened to cross her path), but we do miss hearing her voice, and hearing her play flute, and just having her around.  She is back at Asbury already a week into her last year there studying music education.

Duets: Now all is quiet in the house…

Duets - now all is quiet in the house....

We are so thankful for so many of you who provide us with “ups” when you email, or send a note, or just pray for us.  We pray that your downs will be few!

)Rainbows always lift us up)

Rainbows always lift us up



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Resources…. I’ve been thinking about them a lot lately here in Tansen.  Perhaps it’s not good to spend too much time dwelling on why it all seems so unfair – that there are some countries in the world where you can be sure that if you go to the store for something, it will be there, while in other places there is hardly even a store to go to!

I think it started not with thinking about food items, but about a road.  This road is the one leading from the hospital up to where our house is located.

road to Dornons

I hope you can see that the top portion is “paved” with cement, but the bottom is mud and rock and hardly can be called a road during the monsoon.  So, I finally asked someone why the road was only paved halfway down the hill?  Well – there is an answer!  There was money allocated by the town government to pave the road to the bottom of the hill.  However, when the work was being done, a tree was cut down or knocked over and it hit electric power lines and broke them.  The cost of cleaning up the tree and fixing the power lines finished off the money left to pave the road, so – here it continues to sit – at least 2 years after the fact.  Surely there is some money somewhere to fix that little bit of remaining road??

Electricity is a resource we have come to regard as a privilege here rather than a right.  We’ve had several long power cuts here due to problems with lines – one was 3 days, and the other 2…  Someone asked us the other day – “Why are there so many power cuts in Tansen?”  That is a question to which there never seems to be an answer!  Sometimes we try to phone the electric office, but other than agreeing with us that the power is out, and that something is broken, they usually can’t give us much information!

At the moment, butter is not anywhere to be found in the bazaar.  Every day I go to one of the shops and ask, and every day the answer is, “Bholi auncha”.  (It will come tomorrow.)  Sigh.  I guess that the baking of cookies will be on hold for the time being.

The last few days the rains have let up and we’ve enjoyed sunshine and blue skies.  This means it is much hotter than what it’s been, but it is good to feel a bit dry for the moment.  It is too early for the monsoon to be over, so we pray that the rains will continue to be enough to get the rice grown and harvested!

People resources were quite low at the hospital last week – at least doctor resources.  Between people being away, and unexpected illness, Les and one of the other docs each had to do 2 nights on call during the week, which is not usual.  The patient numbers are not going down – there seems to be an unending stream of ill and injured people heading into the hospital every day.  Many nights most, if not all, the 165 beds are filled in the hospital.

We’ve been happy to see that God continues to send babies – we’ve had some joyful stories here recently.  One lady came in and delivered triplet boys – all weighing in at 1.7 – 1.8 kg (each)!  She was pretty worn down but a proud mom!  The proud grandma ushered us in to see the 3 newborns.


Another lady came in recently, and one of the doctors examined her and determined there was no fetal heartbeat.  She was sent to ultrasound, and they couldn’t find anything there, either, so they told her the baby was probably already dead and she would need to deliver it.  However, a hand came out first, so they quickly sent the mom for a c-section, and when the baby was lifted out, she was alive and breathing!  A special miracle in the O.R. that day.

We are thankful that we don’t have to depend on our own resources to do the work here – God sustains us even when we are feeling worn down or too tired to continue working!   We get emails or encouraging cards right when they are needed,  a friend comes by to visit, or we hear a good message at a worship meeting.  Thanks for so many of you who pray for us, give to us, and keep in contact with us.  We so appreciate it even when we don’t get answers sent right away.  Thank you for being part of God’s work to share resources to far places of the world!


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