August 16, 2003 - Yomari: In 1969, Laurence Connors came here as a Peace Corps volunteer and worked for some years in Myagdi, a remote district at that time

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Nepal: Peace Corps Nepal : The Peace Corps in Nepal: August 16, 2003 - Yomari: In 1969, Laurence Connors came here as a Peace Corps volunteer and worked for some years in Myagdi, a remote district at that time

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In 1969, Laurence Connors came here as a Peace Corps volunteer and worked for some years in Myagdi, a remote district at that time

In 1969, Laurence Connors came here as a Peace Corps volunteer and worked for some years in Myagdi, a remote district at that time

I came here again to serve the Nepali people: Laurence Connors

Laurence Connors, physician, is very much familiar with Nepal. In fact, this is Connors' third visit to Nepal. At first, in 1969, he came here as a Peace Corps volunteer and worked for some years in Myagdi, a remote district at that time. After four years, he again visited Nepal as a tourist. Although, he was not satisfied by just visiting the country. In the course of time, he left the Peace Corps, joined medical school and became a medical practitioner. He used to tell the story about Nepal to his wife Barbara Connors, a schoolteacher, presently retired, and his son Matthew, 13, presently studying in seventh grade.

Always he had been seeking an opportunity to visit Nepal as a doctor to serve the poor Nepalese people. Suddenly, he met Narayan Shrestha, president, Helping Hands International. And, Shrestha arranged for Connors family to visit Nepal.

Connors, also a master of business administration, is currently working in the internal medicine section, Kaiser Permanente, Denver, Colorado.

Connors, along with his wife, a former head of the Upper School, The Sawson School, Lafayette, Colorado and his son, stayed here for two months. During his Nepal stay, Connors, with the Nepali medical team, worked in two health camps organised by Helping Hands, Nepal. Excerpts of talks with Connors, his wife and son given below:

Q. How did you like your Nepal visit?

A. I enjoyed it very much. I had been to this country 30 years ago (in 1969) to teach English with the US Peace Corps. Again, four years after that, I came and travelled on my own. This is my third visit to Nepal. I am very happy to come back here again.

I see many changes have taken place. Today, Kathmandu has many more people, many more cars. It's very interesting to see the changes. I enjoyed the chance to speak Nepali again. I don't speak Nepali very well, although, I enjoy speaking Nepali.

Q. When you were with the Peace Corps, did you have any opportunity to visit other parts of this country?

A. I worked in a small village in west Myagdi district. At that time, there was no road. I had to walk to get through villages from Pokhara. That was immediately after my college. Till that time, I had not studied medical science. Some years after I worked with the Peace Corps, I went to the medical school and completed my medical training.

Q. This time, you are visiting Nepal through a Helping Hands' programme. How did you get in contact with the Helping Hands?

A. Yes. We are in Colorado. There is an office of Helping Hands in Colorado. For some years, I wanted to come back to Nepal. Being a medical doctor, I thought that doing some kind of medical services in remote areas of Nepal would be the good way to visit the country. I was looking option for an opportunity to do that. One day, my wife and I went to Boulder. Just by chance, my wife saw the Helping Hands office there. We met Narayan Shrestha (Helping Hands International president). We asked him how we could provide medical service in Nepal. He said, "Well, I can help you do that." Finally, he sent us to Nepal.

Q. When did you arrive here?

A. We arrived here on March 9. We have been here for two months. During our stay here, we organised two Helping hands medical camps. One in Khadbari, the other in Kushma.

Q. How did you feel while working with Helping Hands people here?

A. Yes, Kalpana (Shrestha) has been a wonderful support. The Nepali doctors in our team were much delightful. Nirmala, the nurse, who worked with us in both the camps was very efficient and good and the local staff was also very helpful. Especially in Khadbari, I say, they cooperated very much.

Q. Basically, which type of disease did you treat in the medical camps?

A. Most of the diseases were intestinal. Everyone could pay a little bit more attention to avoid such diseases. Sometimes, it is because of the infection, but often it is because of acid. We also saw people with broken bones, skin infections.

Q. Apart from accidents, what could be the root cause for such diseases?

A. I think contaminated food and old infections are the main causes of such diseases. I was surprised that we saw very little heart disease though I don't know why. I don?t know if there is very little heart disease or people with heart problems simply don't go to the clinics.

Q. How did you feel this time compared to your past visits?

A. Nepal is a very different country now. It is an educated country. It has grown a great deal. It has many problems because of the growth of pollution, garbage etc.. I think in someway the changes have become very hard for Nepal. The Nepal of today, has many problems. There has been progress. There is clean water in the villages. Thirty years ago, there was no clean water. Roads have been developed. The people now are living with improved facilities. I wanted to come here again because I am a doctor and I wanted to do something from my side to the people of Nepal.

In this visit, I felt that people have many challenges. It is because of the growth. I really have best hopes for the future, though the future looks difficult.

I worked with many people from Helping Hands. I found them very cooperative. I think, one of the best things in the Nepali people is their friendliness. I think, in Nepal, the family is very strong. Because of it, the people are full of love.

I extend my thanks to volunteers working in the camps. Especially to Kalpana, Nirmala and D. N. Shrestha in arranging everything. I have a very warm experience from everyone in Helping Hands.

Barbara Connors:

Q. How did you feel here?

A. I am not a doctor, nurse or any medical staff. So I didn't participate in the medical camps.

But for many years, my husband had been talking about this country. This time, I am very much grateful that I got the opportunity to visit Nepal. This is my first visit and thus it is my first experience about this country.

I worked for a long time as a schoolteacher. Specially, I taught English in a high school in Colorado.

Here in Nepal, I visited some schools. I saw the way of teaching in this country. I found there is a lot of difference in teaching students here. Your schools are much more formal. In the United States, we do not teach students this way.

Q. What is your suggestion for the Nepalese students?

A. The schools are doing very good while providing information to students about health education. The other important thing is that the Nepalese students have to be given English education with enough priority. Because, the language would provide them better options in the future. In the mean time, I am worried about the many children who do not go to school. I am worried about them who have no chance to get an education. I saw them working at the age when they should have been in school.

Master Matthew Connors:

I felt that life is very hard here. I suffered from bronchristic. Otherwise, I had a wonderful experience. I had an opportunity to interact with local people and doctors in the camps. In fact, this is my first visit to any foreign country. For many years, I had been hearing stories about Nepal from my father. I found, things have changed there. Life here, especially in the countryside, is very hard and different.

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Story Source: Yomari

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Nepal; Return to our Country of Service - Nepal; Service



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