A dream first thought of nearly 20 years ago is about to come true. Nepal has always been a country I’ve wanted to visit. As a young woman and avid hillwalker, the pull of the Nepalese peaks was once real to me. I have to think hard now to remember that I was once on the brink of planning a trekking adventure among the high peaks to Everest base camp – a trip that would most definitely have been accentuated with meditation stops in Buddhist temples along the way. Surrounded by brochures, Lonely Planet and Rough Guides, my path was diverted for what seems forever ago when I realised I was pregnant. My time and energy now required focus elsewhere – a new and different adventure lay ahead of me and I filed my travel books on the book shelves for another day. There was no travel guide for the journey I was about to take!
Two children later, my adventures have been fine indeed with all the energy, exhilaration and excitement I’d no doubt have experienced in the mountains. We’ve certainly experienced plenty Scottish ones. My children have shown me the wonders of the world and more and they led me to pursue a career in midwifery. During my journey I have learned so much, and continue to do so. I have met good friends along the way, one of whom played a part in inspiring me in my chosen career. Little did I know, when Jillian and I first met (as two new mothers), that our paths would intertwine and lead me to Nepal. It’s surreal to think that on International Day of the Midwife I’m packing, and heading there tomorrow. Not as the climber I’d envisaged, but as a midwife. (I really do love the unexpected twists and turns of life).
My friend Jilly Ireland, midwife and more, together with Prof Edwin Van Teijlingen from Bournemouth University (BU) is leading on a collaboration with Tribhuvan University (the largest and oldest university in Nepal) and Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU). The project receives funding from Department for International Development (DFID), and is managed through (Tropical Health and Education Trust) THET and supported locally in Nepal by a non-governmental organisation called Green Tara Nepal. BU have been working with this charity for nearly ten years.
The current project aims to provide mental health training to community maternity care providers in Nepal with a view to helping them address the increasing suicide rates among Nepalese women of reproductive age. Suicide is now one of the leading causes of maternal death in Nepal. Three of us will be travelling from the UK to Nepal tomorrow. We are the third cohort of volunteers – Jillian Ireland, inspirational midwife, Dave Havelock, a mental health nurse specialising in high intensity therapy (IAP) (who I am sure will be equally as inspiring!) and me, trekker wannabe, midwife and teacher, Andrea Lawrie, who will be embarking on the journey of a lifetime.
I can’t wait to immerse myself in the experience, make discoveries, new friends and learn, learn, learn. I really hope we can make a difference.
Join me on my travels and share the journey with me …
Much love, Andrea x
Prof Edwin Van Teijlingen’s Blog
Green Tara Trust Website
Jillian Ireland’s Blog
Volunteer Ish Fawcett’s Blog on her visit to Nepal