Hi, my name is Vilija. I’m a respiratory therapist from Canada who spent the past 4 months volunteering for Dr. Shakya at International Friendship Children’s Hospital. Although my area of expertise had me working mostly in the VICU, I was always welcomed by the friendly and well educated doctors and nurses in all areas of the hospital. It was interesting for me to see how hospitals are run on the other side of the world. Although I came to Nepal to teach the staff what I can about respiratory therapy, the amount of knowledge I gained from everyone here cannot be measured. I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to volunteer at IFCH – not only for professional and education reasons, but also because it gave me a chance to explore the beautiful land of Nepal. My experience is one I will never forget, and I strongly urge medical professionals to volunteer here!
I still fondly remember the first day we stepped into Dr. Shakya’s office, a setting we would become intimately familiar with over the course of the next month and a half. Fresh faced from our first year of medicine, and having close to zero clinical experience, we found that we actually learned so much more from Dr. Shakya and his team of health care professionals than we had ever expected. Dr. Shakya is one determined man with great ambitions, and also a man who is also extremely dedicated to his patients. During our time there, he would often teach us many-a-thing, and quiz us very often. We usually never knew the answers to most of his questions, and ‘ohhhh doctor..,’ accompanied by a subtly humorous shake of the head was a common response we elicited from him. Nonetheless, he was so keen to teach that oftentimes when we left early to sightsee, or just have an early day, he would always leave notes for us telling us of an interesting surgery to scrub into the next morning. This was actually my first extended experience in a hospital, and something I will never forget. For his dedication to teaching us and making us feel so at home, I truly have to take my hat off to Dr. Shakya and sincerely thank him for all the time he has shared with us.
Dr. Shakya also has team of motivated and friendly workers – from security, administration, nurses and medical officers, all these people made our time at the IFCH an immensely enjoyable one. And who can forget the friendly canteen staff! Every day began with french toast and digestives, finished with a generous helping of the most delicious milk coffee in Nepal. Most of the day thereafter was spent in the wards or in Dr. Shayka’s outpatient clinic. I made many good friends with the doctors and nurses there, and until today, I still remember the things that they have taught me – both about medicine and about life in Nepal. Thanks Dhai’s and Bahini’s. You guys are dherai ramro! Overall, the IFCH is a fantastic place to be, whether you are a health sciences student, a health care professional, or simply a willing volunteer with no experience at all, these guys will welcome you with open arms and you will definitely be in for an amazing time there. So what are you waiting for? Do it, do it!