Teaching in Nepal 1999

In 1999 I was fortunate enough to go to Nepal as part of a team of doctors to teach under the auspices of 'Urolink', an offshoot of the British Association of Urological Surgeons.

Going to exotic places to teach is a fantastic opportunity. I have always learnt more from the people I was visiting than I taught, and you get treated like royalty. If you ever get offered the chance, look noble, and bite their arm off.

I blagged my way on to the trip and went with my mate Roger Plail. The first inkling that we were going to get good treatment was when we simply bypassed the immigration formalities at the airport. Jagdish Baidya, an amazing guy, was one of the movers and shakers and nothing was a problem. We did some operating and essentially taught the Diploma in Urology course in two weeks to the local registrars. Teaching in this environment is like pouring water into sponges and just a delight.

We said that we might like to go for a walk in the hills and it all just happened. I wanted to take my camera bag: an extra porter materialised just to carry it. My dad had a bit to do with the Gurkhas and loved them. I am in his camp. Kind, tough, full of humour and just plain nice characterised the Nepalese that I met.

Of course, Nepal is an amazing place to visit. Kathmandu is perhaps the least amazing part, as it resembles many other large sprawling third world cities. In the middle are the ancient parts and, again, we were privileged to be invited to a reception in the old Palace and allowed to wander around as much as we liked. Unfortunately, it was not so much a camera occasion.

I am constantly impressed by the adaptability of mankind. Nepal is a lot of ups and downs, with some bigger ups than others, Everest springing to mind. But humans adapt to almost anything and the terraces for agriculture are a case in point. Unfortunately, the weather was not brilliant, as we had gone out to work and not to be tourists. So many of the photos that I took are of a leaden winter sky. That is my excuse, and I am sticking to it. Please comment.