While we gather information on the status of friends and family in Nepal, organize resources for them, and ascertain how we may best support recovery efforts in the quake-struck region, there is some comfort knowing that our work extends beyond guiding and the tourism industry – the preparedness, assessment and care skills taught in our courses make many of our students the most highly-trained in their communities. Many of our Nepali students live in mountain villages that are cut off from immediate support, it’s unfortunate to know they will be using their training to care for family and neighbors, but good that they are able to provide such support and leadership.
Training outdoor professionals around the world in disciplines like remote medicine has been an amazing adventure, and a real honor. In addition, it has led to some fantastic opportunities to help develop healthcare where we work: at the national level like advising the Kenya National EMT curriculum, and more local like Mkuru village, where we just finished our third annual training. Working with Istituto Oikos each year to bring cost-free medical and veterinary training to this remote village in West Kilimanjaro has been one of our most rewarding achievements. This year we had a big and mixed group of 43 villagers, including chairmen and even the traditional doctor. It was a good class with lots of laughs and participation; there were some eye opening moments, for us as well; and the good doctor even admitted to learning a thing or two.
We will continue to run these cost-free programs for remote communities, and it is clear that we should be doing so in conjunction with our next Nepal courses. We’ve talked with a lot of development experts who work around the world that have pointed out the need for this kind of disaster preparedness and response capacity within local communities. We are working on a plan for how we can best help in Nepal, stay tuned.