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kopila clinic

There's a scabies outbreak at school this week.  Scabies... as in the little bugs that crawl under your skin, itch like crazy, and spread like wildfire. This morning I stayed home from school to do a few loads of laundry and clean my room. I found the tiniest bump on my ring finger and in a panic, washed my hands a few times and gave Namraj a preventative bath while he screamed at the top of his lungs. Lexi bathed four of the boys and then doused them with scabex lotion. Jeff took off the period after lunch to do the same while Nurse Emily manned the school clinic. Due to the living conditions of our students and basic lack of sanitation, little things turn into big things really really quickly here.  

Exhibit A: One day it's a cold sore, and after a long weekend, Jenima comes back with this:

And when one child has it, it's only a matter of time before five or ten more kids come in with the same exact thing.  

I don't usually talk about stuff like this on this blog...boils, staph infections, impetigo...the hundreds of lice and nits that come falling out of our student's hair when we comb it. Tapeworms, rotten teeth, diarrhea, giardia, typhoid, broken bones, burns, tuberculosis, seizures and much too regular cases of child abuse and neglect. If only it ended there. Sometimes I feel so accustomed to seeing and hearing about these things every day that I feel a little desensitized to it all.  Like last year when Rashmi urgently needed stitches: In the pitch black with no electricity, I watched the medical worker stitch up her foot with the dim green light of an old nokia mobile phone. Another time, I helped deliver a friend's baby and minutes later when the nurse wanted to move her to post-maternity, they brought us a wheel chair covered in someone else's dry blood. A few months ago I stopped at a clinic in town to pick up some medicine and saw the body of a woman who had just died in childbirth. The image still really affects me to this day.

You've probably noticed how I like to focus on the positives on this blog and this is where our heroine, nurse Emily comes in! Emily has an action-plan and a wish list for the year, and together we are going to slowly chip away at that list and plan. We had a dentist visiting all last week and, per Emily's request, I found an eye-chart in Kathmandu that she will use to check all the children's vision.  We also want to de-parasite all the kids, get up to date on their medical charts, records, and vaccinations, and crank up preventative measures that we will take to be healthier and more hygienic.

Around our home and school you can hear Emily—on a daily basis—saying things like, "You know guys, hand washing isn't just about soap and water, it's all about the vigorous scrubbing!" and you can see her taking temperatures, boiling water and lancing things, putting on bandages, and comforting the children when they are sick. I LOVE having Emily here and I love that we are really improving our health and taking the Kopila Valley Clinic up a few notches. You can check out and follow Emily's blog, Kopila Valley Clinic for her wonderful perspective.

And last but not least a message for the scabies!  Go away and leave my little children alone!

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Reader Comments (7)

Maggie, we need a post like this every once in a while -- this is your and those children's reality, and out here in our stupendously-satisfied world, we need to know that life is not good for so many. Christine from Seattle

February 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChristine H

Dearest Maggie, I've read your blog for a few years now and I just really want to tell you I'm praying for you, and the children and the staff at Kopila. You all are in my heart I pray the God of power and love will surround you, protect you and supply all your needs. You are a very blessed woman and your life example is so encouraging and inspiring to me :) I really really hope to meet you and all the children one day!! I live in New Zealand and am still studying a dental surgery degree but one day...Lord-willing, I can come over and help out in some way! :) Anyway, much love from Hannah! xoxoxo

February 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHannah

Maggie I'm reading the blog of Emily. She is very important there, pheraps some of the older girls and boy can learn basic elements of igiene and first aid from her.

I don't know if it's possible, has she desire to teach in school? (igiene, nutrition).

Maggie you know my work, also for me is impossible to forgive people and children I lost, and what sustain me is to remember people for which I made the difference. More if kids.

Shake Emily hands by my side.

February 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSara Mary

Maggie, I think you and Emily are both heroines!! You are making such a huge difference for the children there. Take good care of each other, and remember that there are many of us thinking of you and sending you oceans of love! :)

February 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEdward

I told you Nurse Emily could take it in her stride.

February 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSylvia

Thank you for this post. We need to hear these not so positive but real stories of life at Kopila. Your fans can handle the truth!

February 17, 2012 | Unregistered Commenternadine

yuck. that is exactly why I'm not there. :)

February 17, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersting

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