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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6 responses to “Ups and Downs

  1. Peter A Block

    Thanks for the great letter about the ups and downs. it evoked a stream of memories in my mind ass I read it. Some things so familiar and great while others not so good, e.g. not enough beds and also not enough doctors and missionaries. Hard to imagine Tanseen without missionary kids though.

    God bless you and keep you and give you peace and joy.

    Peter and Arlene

  2. Alma Taulbee

    I really enjoyed reading about your life there and seeing the pictures. God bless all of you. Alma Taulbee

  3. Neil and Clarice Solvik really appreciate your letters having lived there for 19 yrs. Clarice wonders if anyone is gardening on the compound. Are you living in the house at the top of the compound? We continue to keep you all in our prayers.

  4. Risto

    Thanks for reminding us about rain! 35 inches is about 3 feet!!! which is just short of a meter……..! I bet the tanks of the Hospital are very full at present. May be you should plant a garden :

    How to Plant Your Garden…no dirt required!!
    This is so great!!

    First, you come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses……….



    1. Peace of mind
    2. Peace of heart
    3. Peace of soul


    1. Squash gossip
    2. Squash indifference
    3. Squash grumbling
    4. Squash selfishness


    1. Lettuce be faithful
    2. Lettuce be kind
    3. Lettuce be patient
    4. Lettuce really love one another


    1. Turnip for meetings
    2. Turnip for service
    3. Turnip to help one another


    1. Thyme for God
    2. Thyme for each other
    3. Thyme for family
    4. Thyme for friends

    Lots of Love, Risto and Martje

  5. Hello Les and Debbie! Thank you for your report. I imagine that we visited Tansen in the best season with mainly clear skies and without any rain at all… We´ll keep you and the rest of the team in our prayers 🙂
    Olof and Miriam

  6. Margaret Fain

    Hi Deb & Les, It is always nice to read your blogs,,you have a way with words and tell a great story about your lives there in Tansen. Definitely not a life for the faint of heart!!!! I am sure you get accustomed to seeing those majestice mountains every day, but when I see this background photo of them, it fills me with awe. I am surely glad you are better with your “tummy”. That can get a little scarey. We are doing well here, up on Bushy Rd there has been no rain for over 6 weeks and we are really dry! Thank goodness we hooked up to the county water system last summer! Now to weed my flower beds, I have to water them first to soften up the dirt!
    No wonder my thumbs and wrists ache. Anyway, hang on there and stay well. Love, Maggie & Dick

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