Where has August gone???

August has been a busy month – and it’s gone by really quickly!  We’ve had the chance to catch up with old friends – we started the month with Bokuro Urabe and family.  Bokuro was one of Debbie’s students in Japan back in the 80’s at the Sendai Student Center.  He and his family are now serving in Bangladesh, and we were able to meet with them in Pokhara for a few days.

Urabe family

We also traveled to KTM to meet our mission “bosses”.  Our current boss, Becky, is going to be retiring and we will really miss her – but we were happy to meet our new boss, Paul.  We enjoyed time to visit with them, and of course to catch up with Hannah, as well.  As a bonus, our friend Theo was in KTM with his daughter, so we were able to meet with them too.

GBGM at UMN Theo

Finally, another old friend from Japan, Jun Yasuda, is here in Tansen for a couple of weeks with us following Les around in the hospital.  He is a medical student who was here with his family in the 90’s.  Jun and our Hannah were preschoolers together.


In the midst of all these joyful reunions, we have both kept busy with work.  Les has stepped down from the medical superintendent role, and is looking quite happy and care free these days.  He is very much enjoying his role now as the in charge of training courses, and also just being in the clinics.  He is called the “RIPE coordinator” – RIPE stands for Rural Inter-Professional Education.  He organizes training sessions not only for the resident doctors, but also for village health post workers and others.

ALSO course

The hospital has been extremely busy – with many, many sick patients, and overflowing wards.  Here is a photo of the patient count recently – note the number of beds available, and the number of patients!  Beds in the corridors are a common sight.

hospital numbers

Last week, Debbie organized a gathering for the didis and bahinis who work in our homes. These ladies work so hard to keep our homes clean, and to provide us with tasty and safely prepared food and water.  Many of them are dealing with family members who are suffering from a disease that is becoming more and more common here – diabetes.  There is a Nepali word for this disease – it is “Madhumeha”.  However – everyone these days refers to it as “chini rog” (sugar disease).  There is so much misunderstanding about how to eat a healthy diet appropriate for diabetes, that we decided to do a bit of teaching about it.  I was happy to receive help from a friend in KTM who sent me dietary information in Nepali, and Les came as the “special guest” to share with the ladies and to answer their questions.  We decided to serve snacks that were all appropriate for both diabetics and for gluten free diets!  Popcorn, hummus with carrot sticks and cucumber slices, peanut sandeko (peanuts lightly fried and spiced along with onions, cucumbers and garlic), and sugar free milk tea.  I had packets of aspartame so the ladies could sweeten their tea.  It was a fun gathering, and several ladies mentioned going right home to share the information they had learned with their family and friends.

Les teaching didis didis listening Didis listening.2 Didis eating healthy snacks for didis

Tomorrow (Wednesday), Les and I will start our travels to the U.S.!  We are very excited to visit our granddaughter – this will be Les’s first time to meet her in person.  We will be away from Tansen for 4 weeks, so Debbie has especially been busy preparing things for her time away.  There are 7 new people coming to Tansen in September – for short term volunteering, medical electives, or to come as a long termer!  A few of these seven have actually been previously, but since they don’t live here regularly, there are always preparations to be made.

We have had a much better monsoon than the last years – but the rains took a break for the past couple of weeks.  The other evening, Ganesh and Laxmi hosted all the team (25 of us!) to a wonderful meal up in front of their house – and this was our view!  We appreciate prayers for enough rain for the rice to finish well.

Ganesh and Laxmi Himalayan view

Thanks for reading – and for your ongoing prayers and support for us!  Much love!



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5 responses to “Where has August gone???

  1. Peter A Block

    Enjoy reading your letters so very much. Great to see the picture of Jun Yasuda. The Yasuda’s were in Tansen when we were so I remember them.

    Have a good home leave.

    Peter and Arlene >

  2. Margaret Fain

    I enjoyed reading your article/letter very much. Want to wish you safe travels back to the US and to your granddaughter’s side! I am sure you are excited. We look forward to seeing you both !
    Love, Aunt Maggie

  3. Sarah Acland

    Best wishes for your trip to the States. I often think about our time in Tansen, it was a real gift. I just learned that I too am expecting a grandchild! This is really exciting news, no child has been born in our family for nearly 50 years. My mother will be ecstatic, she is going to be 98 next month and I’m sure she will regard this as a birthday present!

    Sent from my iPad Sarah Acland


  4. Christine Harsh

    Thanks for sharing with us! It’s always good to read your updates! Safe travels! Hope to get to visit with you while you are home!!

  5. Thank you, Les and Debbie for your faithful writings! Thank you, Les, for your faithful work over many years as Medical Superintendent – vital part of Hospital Administration – as I know that you love just to be the clinician and educator. Thank you, Debbie, for being the faithful partner in serving in Tansen and educating those around you to eat and be healthy. “Well done, good and faithful servants” will be expressed.
    Lots of LOVE, in Him, Risto and Martje
    PS LOVE to Rachel and Staff who may remember us, PLEASE. Thanx!

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