Nicole Farkhouh ( Uterine Prolapse Alliance)

Nicole Farkouh (Collective Campaign for Peace – COCAP): Nicole graduated from Smith College with a BA in Cultural Anthropology. She also has a Master of Education from the University of New Orleans. Nicole’s professional background is in education. She has worked as a teacher, administrator, and consultant, mainly with middle school students with special needs. She is also a certified community mediator and has studied a complementary model of mediation based on Non-Violent Communication. She has studied abroad in India, lived and taught in Mexico. At the time of her fellowship, she was studying for a Master of Public Policy degree at the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley. After her fellowship, Nicole wrote: "More than anything, this summer I received a new level of understanding /appreciation for the complexity involved in “development” and “human rights” work…. Particularly being a foreign body trying to work in a new culture."


02 Aug

One of the chapter’s of Raka battle with traveler’s diarrhea (mentioned in a previous blog) involved us being convinced to admit her to the district hospital so she could receive all night care in case of any emergency that might arise. We decided this was a very logical thing to do. However, as the overnight bag started to include bedsheets, a towel, and soap, the reality of our context and the realistic prospects of the district hospital set in and I became ready to abort the mission. Unfortunately, the momentum was already under way…

As we pulled into the compound dotted with trees encased by large cement donunts-cum-park benches and worked our way up to the “urgent care” ward, I realized I should have followed my instincts. The damp, stark rooms were littered with rickety hospital beds that evoke images of WWII. I was assured the bathroom was clean, but asked to see it anyway, knowing its state was crucial as we would be spending a considerable amount of time there. When I saw the stopped-up eastern toilet littered with a few discarded pieces of bloody gauze I quickly realized there was no way I was going to let Raka stay here.

Ward of District Hospital

In contrast to my typical efforts to be unconditionally accepting and to try to function from a place of “if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me,” I mumbled a feeble excuse about “more privacy at home” and used the full strength of my will to put our entourage in reverse down the hill, through the center of town, and back home.

Once Raka’s crisis had passed, I reflected on this the significance of all this. First I felt really lucky that I hadn’t needed any medical assistance last summer. Then I spent some time integrating that this is, in fact, the most advanced medical facility in the district. Gaighat, unlike much of the rest of the country, is not very remote as it is completely accessible by road – so I can only being to imagine what the hospitals in such places would be like. I also spent time trying to reconcile the fact that I had refused to let Raka stay at a place that is a source of solace for so many – a place that some hill-bound district residents spend days traveling to for treatment.

Little did I know when I left the hospital compound that in the blink of an eye I would be spending quite a large amount of time there over several days attending a mobile gynecological/UP camp and getting to know the hospital in more intimate ways that I would have ever wished.

The “Clean” Eastern Style Toilet

Posted By Nicole Farkhouh ( Uterine Prolapse Alliance)

Posted Aug 2nd, 2014

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