Ursula Popp, Therapist and Educator, M.Ac, C.C., VCST


A little girl in Mamata's village enjoying her time with herself. Beautiful...

Dear Ones,


I have been back from Nepal for three weeks now. It was an incredible journey that will take much longer to integrate and understand. But I want to report to you some of what I have experienced and what I had been part of.



Upon my arrival, Prem Dorchi Lama picked me up from the airport. He is the logistic coordinator for Acupuncturists without Borders (AWB) Nepal. It turns out that he was a young cook on the pilgrimage around Mount Kailash that I was part of fifteen years ago. He remembered me as I stood out in the group because I had treated so many fellow travelers, staff and villagers with acupuncture then. I felt an  immediate and unexpected sense of homecoming  that continued to play during my time in Nepal,  serving as an important reminder that I am part of a web of life and relationships whether I am aware of it or not. 



A visit to sacred Swayambhunat with the Buddha's eyes after a long day of clinic.


In our clinics, we operated most often an international team made up of two western Acupuncturists, one Nepali Acupuncturist, two Nepali support persons and frequently a and handful of allopathic medical personnel. Our clinics varied daily. We worked with Nepali in tent cities set up for villagers who had lost their homes, with displaced Tibetan nuns from a destroyed monastery in the mountains, with orphans, with elderly in an asylum, with police men and women, people with leprosy in a colony, villagers in far-off tent cities, remote mountain hamlets and many more communities in and around Kathmandu.  


We treated about 120 elderly at this government-run asylum for the elderly. Every Saturday they have a party where people from the outside come to celebrate these wise one's, and honor them. There is an adoption system happening there, where healthy young people adopt an elderly. What a concept.
We treated between eighty and three hundred and fifty people a day. I imagine the clouds of energy that released through our simple 5-needle protocol that we were using. I see colors, strands and formations lifting up into the air, as the people relaxed into the treatment, letting down  their guards down, maybe for the first time since the earthquakes. I made personal eye contact with every person I treated before inserting the needles, and then again at the end of the treatment. Often these contacts were deep and meaningful, in recognition of our common humanity, beautiful and healing for all of us.


It was a special honor to work with these people suffering from leprosy, and a jarring experience to greet one of them with Namaste, he having lost all his fingers while I learned not to take mine for granted.


The conditions were harsh and taxing. The pollution from car-fumes combined with the


It was so sweltering hot that day in upper Dhading that the only way we could cool down was to immerse ourselves in the river, clothes and all. Great fun! My friend Pema Dorchi Lama in the background.

dust from the rubble permeated the air. Though the Nepali and Tibetans were gracious and wore smiles on the outside, their anxiety was palpable, just as the exteriors of the homes often looked fine while the cracks on the inside made them unsafe to inhabit. The heat and humidity were hard to bear - stale oppressive air filled with odors of rot, decay and lack of sanitation. The long hours on the roads were exhausting. Only a couple of times was I able to get a glimpse of the mountains, the Nepal that I love so much. But I was strong enough to endure it and feel very fortunate that way, realizing that the world still needs and loves me "when I'm 64" (remember the Beatles song?)! 


Totally fell in love with this character who reminded me of me: pretending to be in meditation while peaking out the left eye to see what was happening. Darling.....


Displaced Tibetan Nuns from Tatopani, a remote and mountainous area, suffering the heat of the Kathmandu Valley. They had a day of chanting, praying, ringing bells and came out of the meditation hall  in small groups just for the treatment.  The sounds were beautiful and supported all of us.

Nepal will recover from this disaster and maybe even be better off after a time. Earthquakes continue on a daily base and it is unsettling. Yet a resilience is growing, and an aliveness that promotes rebuilding, and supports inventions and care. I was able to meet and befriend some young Nepali that have stepped up to support their people in ways that are well beyond their age. For example Mamata, a twenty two year old nurse's aid, was instrumental in getting her village's school built again. She is definitely going to nursing school with our help.



Some of the 200 police men and women we treated one day, letting their guards down. I felt much safer in Kathmandu after that day...
Thanks to the generous donations of my community I was able to offer support in other ways in Nepal. Through your financial support we guaranteed the operation of AWB Nepal for a month, including medical supply, salaries for the Nepali team and transportation. 

We supported an organization that works in many areas of Nepal in community support and building ( visit) who is also a guardian of the leprosy colony near Kathmandu. 

We were able to buy many, many fruit and nut trees from an organic nursery ( visit) that will be planted in many villages all over the country, and feed people long after you and I have gone. We also were able to support individuals in need with small stipends to get supplies to strengthen their houses, to further their studies, and to support their families in remote areas. 

All this is very satisfying to me, and I hope you feel good about how I spent your money.

I'm full of gratitude for your support in any way you gave it, be it money, prayers, and  holding me and the Nepali in your thoughts. 

Thank you!




Everybody was so curious about what I was doing. We were giving the smaller children ear seeds rather than needles while the older one's insisted on needles, proudly....


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