I can clearly remember the lump that formed in my throat when I heard about the earthquakes that hit Nepal earlier this year. My chest grew heavy as I thought of all the beautiful people I had gotten to know there, including the staff that worked in the Banepa Women’s clinic which ACCF funds.
As news poured in over the coming days, I was filled with relief to learn that all staff were well, the clinic had suffered minor damage and our trekking guide and his family were safe. The screening and vaccination work ACCF carries out in the country came to a stop as our focus shifted to assisting the local community to get back on their feet.
Now, as the country starts to return to normal, screening and vaccination programs against cervical cancer are ready to recommence. By taking on an ACCF VolunTOURing trip, not only will you experience new cultures and take on a trekking challenge but through your fundraising you’ll also be ensuring Nepali women and girls can access life saving vaccinations and screening. With cervical cancer being highly preventable, why shouldn’t a woman have access to these preventative methods, simply because of the country she happens to live in?
There are many things that I remember about my time in Nepal as part of the ACCF VolunTOURing trip in 2014. The shy Namaste’s from local children that greet you as you walk along the street; the sight of hundreds of goats you see either on the streets, trekking trails or on the back of a moped as Nepali’s prepare for a festival; the taste of a plate of hot dahl baht after a long day trekking but most of all, the sincerity of the Nepali people.
I still smile as I remember the local kids who came to ‘help’ us paint as we spruced up the Banepa Women’s Clinic as well as the singing and jokes from our guides as we walked through the forests on our 5 day trek.
I also think about the rudimentary beds and medical equipment in the Banepa women’s clinic every time I go to the doctor and say a thank you that my trip to get my Pap test is only a 5 minute drive down the road, not a 4 hour bus ride as it is for many of the women of Nepal who access our screening clinics.
A trip like the Hearts for Health Nepal Challenge will truly challenge you, both physically as you take on a breathtaking trek and mentally as you meet amazing people and contribute to the rebuilding of this remarkable country.
ACCF’s National Community Engagement Manager, Erin visited Nepal in September 2014 as part of the UQ Women’s College ‘Trekking for Change’ trip.