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Alan and Megan Barker

March 2024

Hitting the road running

Hello everyone,

We left a chilly and damp UK on 8th March to arrive in a warm and sunny Kathmandu on 9th March. A lot of people ask us, 'What's the weather like in Nepal?' We won't go into great detail here, but March is usually a very pleasant month, blue skies, warm sunshine without being too hot and not much rain. That's why this time of year is one of the peak tourist seasons. There were long queues of people waiting for on-arrival tourist visas at Kathmandu airport. We were glad for our official visas which meant we could avoid the long queues and get out quick!

We were also quickly into work again! After having visited 22 churches and travelled over 3,000 miles during our stay in the UK, we thought we might have some time to take a breath once we got back to Nepal, but not so! Within a few days of arriving Alan was straight in to a 3-day long workshop, working on a new project that will help disabled people in the remote and earthquake affected area of West Rukum. For our team here in Kathmandu that's quite a journey. There are choices with flights and road but by road it is a 2-day trip. A Norwegian partner organisation wants to support us in this work and a representative had come from Norway especially to work with the team to prepare the project.



Megan didn't hang around either. Within a few days of arriving, she headed off for a week to the towns of Pokhara and then to Tansen. The trip to Pokhara was a relatively easy 30-minute flight and the time there was spent connecting with the Occupational Therapists to encourage them and support the work there. It was particularly to work with the OT assistant in the palliative care team that she has been asked to mentor. Then to get to Tansen was a 5-hour bus and then a 30-minute van ride, but the positive of that journey was that she was travelling with Dorothy. We have mentioned her before as we have known her for many years now. We were involved with sending her to India for training and then Megan has been working with and mentoring her since she returned as a newly qualified OT nearly 6 years ago.

The reason for going to Tansen was to meet with other OTs from around Nepal for our Association AGM which was 2 days of business meetings and one day of training and lots of fun together in between. 😊

That time ended in a 12-hour road trip for Megan squashed in the back seat of a pick-up truck as she returned from Tansen to Kathmandu. There is a lot of work being done on the road, plus a bus got stuck on a bend which slowed the journey somewhat!!

And then a few days after arriving back from that trip she flew back to Pokhara for a 3-day assessment and treatment 'camp' for children with cerebral palsy and a day of community visits to further assist in the training of the recently appointed OT assistant in the palliative care team. It was fun for Megan to be able to use her therapy skills as well as being able to teach and train in assessments and treatments. It is a real privilege to be able to be a part of this programme where children with Cerebral Palsy or other disabling conditions can come with their families and receive speech, occupational and physical therapy as well as counselling. At the same time, they get to spend time with other families going through similar struggles and can support and encourage one another. It was so special to see these families change just in those few days. Parents who barely spoke and were not interacting very much with their children at the start became families laughing and having fun together dancing, drawing and baking cakes.

As we write this (on Easter Sunday) we hope to stay in our own home, together, for a few weeks before the next round of travels.

With love and thanks for you all and hoping that you have all enjoyed the Easter break as we have celebrated all that Jesus did that first Easter.

Alan and Megan xx