Practice English Speaking&Listening with: HEARTS IN THE HIMALAYAS

Difficulty: 0

(music and birds chirping)

These villages are in total isolation.

One wall of this valley are

the Ganesh Himal.

The Himalayan mountains.

And the other side of that would be Tibet.

These hills are as tough

climbing as the mountains are.

This is very very difficult terrain.

It is brutal living here.

People here were considered cavemen

or what they call people of the jungle

and looked down upon.

A lot of these folks have absolutely nothing.

(baby cries)

So many children were dying

in these villages.

So no government support was here.

No services were here.

No healthcare, no nothing.

Nobody wanted to

come up the hill to help them.

I tried to not look at the children's

faces. Sometimes the kids are

well, too far gone.

You can't save them.

People weren't living very long

in rural Nepal.

One in five kids were dying by age five.

One in ten women were dying in childbirth

and their life expectancy was very low.

The government had promised medicines

for so long and yet,

where they live, if you get a fever

one day you could be dead.

You just could die up there.

They know for sure what their

basic needs are.

What is next for them

or what would help them

is kind of lost for them.

because they are living day to day.

But then you ask them a lot

okay, what do you think

would help you in your life?

Based on that we've organized our efforts

to help them with that.

We target three main programs

healthcare, education and income.

There are almost about thirty projects

we are doing at a time.

For each of them

there is a committee, a subcommittee so

the people are involved.

Let them make the decisions

as stakeholders.

Actually getting to say what they want.

Yeah, the mission is very simple.

It is just help people

help themselves.

Jargon that most social organizations

speak about.

But we actually do it not just talk about it.

(music montage)



We call them medical treks.

We invite international volunteers.

We've had almost 600 doctors come

into our program.

Many of them come multiple times.

Some come almost every year.

It's as huge as an Everest expedition.

There's already an advance team of

fifty porters will be taking almost

thirty baskets full of

medicines and some of the

heavier equipment in advance.

Then there will be fifty others who

will be with us

carrying the food, to the tents,

the tables and the chairs.

To get this whole team of people over

two high mountain passes.

Through snow and ice and what have you

to enter this valley called the

Aku Kala Valley in central Nepal.

We have to drive about ten hours.

This winding dirt trail to

get ourselves up to the first camp.

From there onwards it is

walking over passes through the


It is not easy.

There are only two ways in Nepal.

Up and down.

And very rough terrain.

This is not like a regular trek route

where you have tea houses and

the trails have been fixed.

It goes over these two high passes

In the middle of really nowhere.

Every step you have to be careful

where you put your foot down.

And also the ledges. They are steep

slopes, several thousand feet drops.

If you fall off

that's it.

to reach this village area called

Tipling, Shertung, Lapa and Chala.

Generally, a trek will last four to five

medical days at these specific villages.

It is a good week overall to two weeks

to get in and out.

During these treks we will see

anywhere from 800 to 1000 patients.

And that's only one aspect of the trek.

One of the most important parts of

these medical treks is actually doing

the educating of the healthcare workers here.

That is one things we spend a lot of time on.

The most important thing to us

because we are providing health service

for these people.

(if he told you he has difficulty...)

You know it's almost like having a resident

work with me.

In 24 hours or whenever that was,

I am not going to be there anymore.

It's him.

So it is a matter of him

being able to take as much away

from what I am able to provide for him.

The stress he must be under 24/7 here

being the only provider in Tipling.

Called any and all times of the day

about medical conditions that would make

us pause in the United States.

Then he just tackles them and goes right on.

He's fearless.

You want that attachment to not be

attached to the tooth anymore okay?

What we are going to do today a lot of

is her do a lot of the work and me

be here to help her and get her through it.

Talk a little bit about what's the right

tools to use and how to go about it.

What I love about her is that she is

so eager to learn the new instruments and

how to use them. She is not afraid.

Every time I say "Do you want to try something"

and she always says yes.

And it's really fun to see her the two days we've been

working with her how each day she is getting

better and better and more confident.

Working with all of these healthcare providers

they get it. That is awesome to see.

The healthcare was, I would say

the hub of the program. That's a good start.

But with that comes literacy classes.

If you don't understand about health

and hygiene and the connection

between them it is all lost.

We said okay, the wives are the people

we really need to work on, the mothers.

They are very receptive.

They are very concerned for the children

for the family and they are like the

main people in the villages.

Help them with toilet building and about

latrines and about clean water.

That's how we stepped into literacy class.

We started the latrine project.

The women's groups started getting

very excited about it.


Over a period of time we tried

twenty or thirty projects.

This failed and that failed.

We did pretty miserably.

We said income generation.

How can we help them make a little

more money so there is more money at home

means more food and then it helps the

kids directly in their health.

And eventually we got partners and friends

who said okay maybe this will work.

Then we went into environmental handicrafts and

goat raising and a bunch of other stuff.

Every time we found somebody who has the

brains or the talent or the interest and we

just took those people in and we started

training them.

So right now we have about eight teachers

trained and teaching in the villages.

Bahudur Bishikama is a teacher

now in Shertung. He is the first teacher

from a blacksmith family.

We are very proud of him.

You know the lives of the Nepalese

and providing healthcare in these

rural areas is tough enough to begin with.

It was just compounded many fold with

challenges once the Maoist Insurrection

and the guerrilla warfare started back in

1996 and lasted until 2006.

Between sixteen and twenty-thousand

that's the estimate, died from this

guerrilla war and unfortunately, many

of those were innocent men, women and


It effected not only the rural Nepalese

but also us as an organization.

We had staff members that were

kidnapped and held ransom.

We did get them back.

But we were extorted to get them back.

The Maoist as well as the government

forces put pressure on us not to treat

the other warring side telling us that

we could not do what we were here to do it

and that was to offer healthcare for all.

HHC managed to build a hospital in

Ilam overcoming many obstacles

that a war would throw at any organization.

That's a project that is dear to our hearts

because of all the efforts and also

because of the time it was started when

civil war was so huge and so devastating

in Nepal.

We can't allow civil war to

beat us down.

We said let's just go ahead and do


Hundreds and hundreds of people

showed up to participate as stakeholders.

It was very touching and

heartening to see that people were

so involved and so enthusiastic in spite of

the civil war.

April 2004 we were able to launch it.

It was the beacon of hope for

the people then in the midst of all

this battle and people dying.

And that even out of all of this

we have to continue with this.

There is hope here and that is

what we persisted with.

Through the darkest moments of this war

we stuck to what we did best

and that is give healthcare, education

and income generation opportunities

to these villages.

How Himalayan HealthCare navigated these

difficult times has made me realize what

a special organization Himalayan HealthCare

is. We are resilient, we are responsive.

And now it is one of my more

proud moments of being part of

Himalayan HealthCare, seeing

how we negotiated this line we had to walk.

I always believed that NGOs are not

about empire building.

NGOs are facilitators and catalysts and

they fill gaps.

Times have changed. Since 2006 after

the end of the civil war new governments

have come in and all of the different

political parties have come together

to write our new constitution.

Healthcare and education seems to be

something the government is promising and

starting to deliver a little more.

As the villages and the Nepalis are

evolving and changing, we have to change


Fill in those slots and make up for those

deficits so that the people have long

term benefits.

We are looking to individual

entrepreneurs and see how we can hone

their skills and help them write out

business plans.

We are going to do that more and more

especially with women.

If we train young people

to take over a lot of the projects

that we do and they will continue with

the work and that will enhance or create

better and bigger things beyond what

we have started.

I've been in Tipling where this started

in 1992. The leaders of that village

community are young people in their

twenties who actually have been around

and grown up in the environment of

opportunity provided by

Himalayan HealthCare.

So now you have a whole set of people

who are leading the village and the

communities because of the influence of

Himalayan HealthCare.

So I have really seen first hand

the kind of change that has taken place.

One reason I keep coming back to this

organization and I am so committed

to it is the work it does and at

the end of the day, the results that

we get.

"up top, up top!"


We've really made a difference in the

lives of the Nepalese

helping them help themselves.

You know, everytime we come back

there is things you can see that they

have done and improvements

they've made and you know still

there's a lot more to do.

(so we looked at his creatinine)

(so we can use it in this case or no?)

I think Anil Parajuli is the heart

and soul of Himalayan HealthCare.

He founded it.

He's been working day in and day out

ever since 1992.

He's really got passion for serving

the people of Nepal.

He has done a good job

of developing a vision to

develop healthcare for

villages that have never seen

anything like it.

And good stuff too.

Not imperialistic culture invasion but

simple stuff. Hygiene, toilets, the stuff that

really saves lives.

Anil is universally well respected

and liked in all of these villages.

You see with the Blacksmiths, the Kamis

that he is educating them where they

have not been educated before.

With women, he's set up

Women Empowerment programs in the


His educational component has had

a direct effect on their healthcare.

We've been able to lower some

of the infant mortality rates in

some of these villages from

two-hundred per thousand

down to around twenty per thousand.

(this is the start of it)

He knows sort of the next step

in the process.

He has a lot of great foresight in

terms of working with the people

and what his next steps are gonna be.

This is something that other

organizations, I think, should really

look to emulate because it is

something that could tremendously change

the landscape for care in many

impoverished rural areas elsewhere

in the world.

Himalayan HealthCare is proud of

what it's been able to do for

the people for all these years.

But we are very humbled by

all of our work.

(so I don't see any signs of a secondary infection)

(it's much better)

There's such a thing as altruism.

There are people who like to do things

for others.

(If this comes back...)

It's the heart more than anything.

You just have that passion to go

help people.

We are not doing any rocket science

and I have not created these things

in my head really.

But the passion and emotion yes definitely

that is the key ingredient in doing all

of this.

Because without that

it's not going to work.

(music )

(music fades)