Well, life sure is full of activity for the SIRC folks in Nepal. Esha, the Executive Director has had a lot to contend with in the past 10 days. Avika her youngest daughter had to be hospitalized for a couple of days last weekend, so besides running a spinal injury rehab facility, attending World Health Organization (WHO) cluster meetings, meetings at the Ministry as well as other aid agencies, she’s also had the worry for her youngest daughter to contend with. When they present the global award for SuperMum this year, it should be given to Esha Thapa – she has my vote!
Fortunately, Avika is doing well now. Esha and I skyped Thursday night and Avika was busy blowing me kisses while her older sister Aahana was very excited to be back at school.
And how is SIRC doing? As Peter & Claire put it aptly in their blog, there is an organized rhythm to life at SIRC. It continues to be very busy with over 114 newly injured patients now admitted. Add the 38 patients already at SIRC before the earthquakes, and that’s triple the usual capacity.
- Dipesh (SIRC’s Administrative Director) is doing a very fine job at coordinating the day to day work at the centre while Esha focuses on fundraising and advocacy for SIRC.
- Recruitment of additional nurses, physios and other SCI professionals has been a key focus, making new hire orientation and staff training a priority for heads of department: Chanda (Rehab In Charge), Mandira (Nursing) and Keshab (Occupational Therapy).
- Having Fiona Stephenson (the Volunteer Coordinator, volunteering herself) has been of huge assistance coordinating overseas volunteers and pairing them with Nepalese staff – each learning from one another.
- This week Dr Apichana Kovindha of Chiang Mai University, Thailand and her team of SCI specialists have been providing medical support at SIRC.
- As they leave this weekend, they have handed over their work to Dr Christine Groves, experienced in rehabilitation medicine from the US who will stay at SIRC for what we hope to be, an extended period of time.
- Dr Renee Maschke (Director of the Spinal Cord Unit in Perugia, Italy) is planning on spending some time at SIRC later in the Summer.
How fortunate are we to have such immense support from the global SCI network. Dhanybad.
Check out Peter & Claire’s blog that provides greater detail on the medical side of things at SIRC – something that is not in my realm of expertise at all! Thanks to you both.
You have heard me mention Stephen Muldoon in previous posts. He is the Assistant Director, International Complex Care Development at Livability International. Too lofty a title for such a down to earth man in my opinion. Me, having the business and admin skills I have and helping Esha and Nikita out in whatever way I can, has allowed me to work closely with Stephen and his wife Maggie Muldoon – who is Overseas Programme Manager also with Livability International.
I have learned lots from this pair in the past few weeks – they have been patient with me but also so very encouraging as I translate my experience from investment management into the development arena. It probably helps that they are Irish, (as I am) – there’s just that innate understanding of terms and references, and they get my quirky sense of humour. We also share a passion for Nepal and a deep respect for the fine folks at SIRC. We haven’t met in person yet (as skype doesn’t count) but I look forward to December when we will all be in Nepal for the ASCON conference SIRC are hosting.
Read the Fisher Foundation’s announcement here.
Stephen was also guest blogger on the BBC’s Ouch Blog, check out his latest posting here. If you like it enough I might ask Stephen to be a guest blogger here – what do you think?
I hear the combination of Esha and Stephen results in a formidable pair. I can just imagine them at WHO meetings, ensuring (little old) SIRC’s voice is heard and given the same respect as the aid agencies with well-known household names. Esha is a very capable advocate for spinal cord injury in Nepal, has been since she first took the Executive Director job at SIRC in 2002. I wonder if she ever envisaged that, in less than 13 years she would play such a key role, planning the future of Nepal’s policy on injury & rehabilitation? Hats off to her.
Stephen has been in Nepal for 3 weeks now and has been of significant support to Esha and SIRC. He’s amazing really. To navigate the complex bureaucracy usually associated with large organizations is alive and well in Nepal. It takes a lot of energy, brain-power and strategizing to find one’s way out the other side. Stephen’s many years experience in Asia (including years living and working in Bangladesh with Maggie and their two boys) gives him a genuine understanding of how to plot the right course. They get things done between them. As I have said before, the Irish are akin to the Nepalese. Say no more.
One last thing before I end this post. I was on a skype call with Stephen during the week and I noticed the lightshade swinging above his head in his hotel room. It’s shaking a little he said but it’s fine. So we continued on. Later, he emailed me to tell me it had been a 4.5 aftershock. That would be considered an earthquake here in Vancouver! It struck me that the continuing aftershocks are now part of every day life – it must be terrifying for those with such vivid memories of the destruction that took place in April and May. But I have noticed I don’t hear it so much from the staff at SIRC who have coined a new motto:
“If we don’t do it who will? If we don’t do it now – when? If we do it, we will do it right.”
That says it all, now doesn’t it?