Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation

Oct 02nd
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Home Global Activities Asia A Journey of Love and Medical Service in Lumbini, Nepal

A Journey of Love and Medical Service in Lumbini, Nepal

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"You need to go to the hospital for further examination because the consequences of high blood sugar are severe!" During a health check-up, Singaporean nurse Lim Kim Yan (林金燕), from the Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA) in Singapore, accidentally discovered an unhealthy urine test result for a teacher. On further testing his blood sugar level, she found it to be significantly elevated. Giving her earnest advice, she emphasized the importance of health check-ups to the community; early detection of problems saves not only one individual but also a whole family.


The aim of Tzu Chi volunteers from Singapore and Malaysia is to promote basic health awareness among the villagers of Lumbini and to advocate the importance of prevention over cure. From April 16th to May 1st, 2023, the Tzu Chi medical team conducted a health screening campaign for the villagers of Second Ward, Kwatariya Village. They adopted a door-to-door approach, determined not to miss anyone in the village. Over the course of fourteen days, with the help of 164 volunteer participants, they visited 202 households and left behind 202 marks of love, serving a total of 574 villagers.


Sign of Love, Taking Medical Care Outside

"It is indeed worrisome that villagers generally lack awareness of their own health because neglecting minor illnesses can lead to suffering from major diseases," said Lim Kim Yan, with concern in her heart. The fixed health screening stations set up in various villages could not reach every resident. Determined to overcome this challenge, TIMA decided to step out of the service stations and venture into the villages. The volunteers divided Kwatariya Village into two sections, east, and west, and went door-to-door to show their care.

However, households in the village did not have house numbers. What to do? The team came up with a simple solution -- stickers. Each sticker, adorned with a prominent red bow, was labeled with a sequential number. Whenever a family completed the health check-up, the volunteer would stick the sticker outside their door, showing that the family had completed the check-up. This served as a visible sign that Tzu Chi's love had visited their home.

On the first day of the health check-up, April 16th, four Tzu Chi youth volunteers joined the medical team. Starting from Aloka at 7:30 am, they turned from a main road onto winding small paths; they saw recently harvested barley fields burnt to a crisp by villagers. The hazy air seemed filled with smoke.

After approximately twenty-five minutes of driving, they reached the first household in the eastern part of Kwatariya Village. The village leader assigned a resident to accompany the volunteers into each household.

The medical team walked into the village carrying a suitcase, as if they were tourists. The suitcase was filled with all the necessary medical equipment and supplies. As expected, the villagers were unaware of the services provided by Tzu Chi. Thanks to explanations by the volunteers, most willingly cooperated with the health check-up; this included measuring height, weight, blood pressure, and heart rate, and testing urine and blood sugar levels.

Each team member had assigned tasks. Those without medical experience were responsible for filling out forms, conducting urine tests, measuring blood pressure, testing blood sugar, and measuring height and weight. Everyone had something to do. Gopal, a Tzu Chi youth busy measuring height for villagers, found joy in giving and receiving, smiling as he said: "I have an English exam tomorrow, but I am prepared. It was right for me to participate today because I learned how to work with a team, which is also a form of personal growth."

Lim Kim Yan and the physician's assistant, Hari Bahadar Yadav, were responsible for analyzing the health reports. Patiently guiding Hari on how to analyze the reports and provide lifestyle recommendations to the villagers, Lim Kim Yan viewed it as both a learning opportunity and a passing down of experience; she hoped that one day Hari could independently take charge of these responsibilities within the village.

An elderly grandmother with a severe hearing impairment usually disliked taking medicine and resisted having her blood sugar tested. Lim Kim Yan demonstrated by example, persuading the grandmother to cooperate with the check-up. She also carefully advised the son of the grandmother to add hypertension medicine to her breakfast to prevent her from rejecting it. They also encountered a young father who had a habit of chewing betel nuts. "You need to gradually change this unhealthy habit because it can cause cancer, and your child is still young," said Lim Kim Yan with a compassionate heart. She urged him to consider his young child's well-being and take care of his own health.

Contribute Willingly

With the experience of the first day, the workflow of the second day's health check was much smoother. In the same amount of time, the team completed six households on the first day and eleven on the second day. Each person's responsibilities were clear; they quickly moved on to the next household after completing their own tasks, without waiting for the entire process to finish. With reduced waiting time, efficiency increased.

Due to the slightly elevated blood pressure of some villagers the previous day, Lim Kim Yan was cautious and did not provide any medication. On the second day, a doctor named Dr. Bikesh was specially assigned to accompany them for follow-up checks and to make decisions personally.

During the first two days, about ten volunteers took part in the checks. On the third day, since Tzu Chi did not have other arrangements at the clinic in the morning, overseas volunteers were happy to participate in the rural health check. So, there were thirteen volunteers accompanying the team, amplifying the power of love.

Lim Kim Yan divided everyone into two groups, with different people responsible for each health item. The previous day she had taken the time to teach a local volunteer, Kriti Gole, how to test blood sugar at the Tzu Chi clinic; she hoped that both groups would be competent in every aspect of the health check procedures.

"This health check focuses only on adults over eighteen years old. In addition to the health check, we also need to collect some family information." Before departure, Lim Kim Yan gathered all the volunteers to explain the precautions and instructed everyone to seize this opportunity to conduct a household survey. This included recording family members and their relationships, whether children have received vaccinations, and whether they have purchased health insurance, among other details. The goal was to leave accurate records and let love spread among the villages.

Under the scorching weather, the team walked along the rural paths without any shade from large trees. In the bright sun, everyone was drenched in sweat; they felt dizzy and exhausted. Despite their slowing pace, they remained steadfast in going forward. The visits gave them a deep understanding of the village's structure. Most of the residents are Muslims and live in brick houses. They have decent lives, and many male villagers work abroad to support their families.

Suraj’s Son

"You can go to the Tzu Chi clinic or the health center to see a doctor." After each routine check and registration, the volunteers encouraged the villagers to seek medical advice at the clinic, if they needed further examinations.

A 23-year-old young man named Suraj waited and repeatedly urged the volunteers to visit his home. His three-year-old son had undergone surgery, but his condition had not improved.

As promised, the volunteers visited and discovered that he had a three-year-old son whose head had been growing larger since he was two months old. Seeing the visibly abnormal child and the worried parents, the volunteers could not bear it. They recorded detailed information and planned to provide help.



Sujit, a local volunteer who usually occupies himself with general affairs, held a ruler in his hand. It was originally used to measure shelves in cargo containers, but now had the added function of measuring height. He could not hide his joy and sense of achievement as he shared with everyone: "Although I haven't received much formal education, I can unleash my infinite potential within Tzu Chi. Just like this ruler in my hand, seizing opportunities and being multifunctional."


Put on Volunteer Vests

Every day, new volunteers joined the health check team, and Lim Kim Yan continued to accompany them, teaching and guiding them with dedication. The volunteers never stopped learning, and they have established good understanding among themselves; they keep their positions and serve the villagers with the utmost sincerity.

On April 20, the fifth day of the health check, the volunteers walked under the scorching heat, with the hot wind blowing dust uncomfortably. Nonetheless, they formed their groups as usual, going door to door, introducing Tzu Chi, and briefly explaining the purpose of the health check. The work continued in proper form.

Hari squatted down to help residents fill out their information; Selangor volunteer Liao Yue-hong (廖月紅) held up a thick piece of cardboard to shield him from the sun. Sachin Pandey, a 21-year-old Tzu Chi Youth member participating in medical team activities for the first time, was influenced by the good deeds around him. He used his folder to fan the villagers and provide relief from the heat. Moreover, selfless love can always infect others. On the 24th, Sachin Pandey brought his friend Brijesh Goswani to contribute. One young person after another put on volunteer vests, creating ripples of kindness that spread layer by layer.

While the volunteers were busy conducting health checks for adults, they noticed a little boy walking with a limp. Initially, they thought the legs of the child were of different lengths, and that wearing corrective shoes would solve the problem. However, the family pointed at the boy's right shoulder and told the volunteers that he had been like this since birth. With the parents' permission, the volunteers took a photo of the child's back, intending to provide medical advice.

The next day, the sixth day of the health check, everyone was still concerned about the little boy. So, after completing the health checks, they asked Hari to take a detour and visit the child; they made an appointment with the mother to bring the child to the clinic on the afternoon of the 23rd for a detailed examination. With further assistance in place, the volunteers were able to ease their worries.

Raj Kumar Yadav

Not only were young people willing to walk hand in hand with love, but a young leader also emerged. Raj Kumar Yadav, a thirteen-year-old boy, joined the team. It was rare for a group of people dressed in blue and white uniforms to enter the village. The simple-minded village children followed in pairs, curious and accompanying the volunteers as they visited one household after another.

Raj Kumar Yadav earnestly accompanied the volunteers to every household, acting as an interpreter for the villagers. Because he was familiar with the village and the residents, he led the volunteers around, earning admiration from everyone: "You're like a little village chief."

In the end, the team even assigned Raj Kumar Yadav to assist in distributing and collecting urine samples in small cups, instructing him to inform the villagers about the required amount of urine. They also entrusted him with an important task -- teaching the villagers to dispose of the used urine samples properly and place the cups in the prepared plastic bags instead of casually throwing them into the bushes. Volunteers gently conveyed the concept of environmental protection.

Bring Love into Hearts

On April 26, the tenth day of the health check, the team finally completed their visits to the families in the east and began moving towards the west. The village had a simple, closed-minded culture. It was challenging to ask villagers to extend their arms to strangers to measure blood pressure, height, and weight, and especially to undergo urine tests. Some women felt shy and concerned about being touched, making it difficult for them to accept. The volunteers had to seek the assistance of their husbands to communicate. For the sake of the villagers' health, the volunteers overcame these difficulties one by one.

Raj Kumar Yadav, the little boy who had been with the team for several days, put on a volunteer vest and joined the service when the car stopped in front of his house on April 27. The volunteers handed him the urine sample cups. Due to limited manpower, the volunteers were genuinely grateful for his help in communicating with the elderly in the local language.

"Now the volunteers come to your home to provide free examinations, and you refuse. But what if one day you have to pay 1,000 rupees (US$ 12.09) for the test?" This young boy had great wisdom; hearing his words, the elderly laughed and took the cup to the restroom, then handed the urine sample to the volunteers for testing.

The volunteers lovingly said: "When we mingle with the people, everyone becomes our learning opportunity. This child has a generous and pure heart. With a simple remark, he enlightens the adults." They blessed Raj Kumar Yadav, who aspires to become a lawyer, to pursue his dreams steadily.

On April 29, after thirteen days in the village, the villagers deeply felt the goodwill of the volunteers. One woman, knowing that the volunteers liked tangerines, specially prepared some to give to everyone. She shyly said: "Seeing the volunteers working tirelessly for the villagers under the scorching sun every day, I can’t bear to see it." In Lumbini, tangerines are commonly used by the villagers to cool down. The warm gesture of this woman was like caring for family members. Silently, volunteers had brought love into the hearts of the villagers.

The entire health check activity in the Kwatariya village started on April 16 and concluded temporarily on May 1. On that day, the team went back to conduct follow-up checks for twenty villagers who had symptoms of high blood pressure or high blood sugar. Lim Kim Yan continued to explain in detail, making everyone aware of the potential health risks. She also provided gentle guidance on dietary adjustments and encouraged them to seek medical attention as soon as possible. The love of medical care is unceasing and continuous in Lumbini.

A Jing Si Aphorism says: “Love others as you love yourself; treat their hearts like your own.”

Join Tzu Chi. Let us spread Great Love to the world.



Story by Cheah Chen Yee and Wu Xiu-ling | 2023/05/24

【News】Tzu Chi in The World

" A refined disposition is naturally expressed in the way a person walks, lives, sits, and sleeps. "
Jing-Si Aphorism

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