Benjamin Ostrander is a Bioengineering major ( ’13 ) who volunteered in Shree Vinayak Hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal for 6 weeks on a placement with VolNepal, a Nepali organization which organizes volunteer experiences at NGO’s and hospitals.
"I was not given very much information about the program before I left, and was a little shocked when I first arrived. It was very unorganized and I was not assigned a mentor at the hospital. Essentially, everything was up to me. I chose how I spent my time, what I wanted to do. Usually, I would go to the hospital and shadow nurses, and occasionally doctors, for about 4 hours per day. Sometimes, there would be very little to do and I would ask the nurses questions and try to learn as much as I could. Other times, I sat down with a doctor and learned about local health problems and medical basics, such as how to take blood pressure. A number of times I was able to observe surgeries. I also gave a health lesson at three different local schools, teaching 6 to 10 different classes each day about the basics of hygiene and nutrition. Finally, I spearheaded my own public health research project, and created a questionnaire to investigate the prevalence of traditional medicine in Nepal.
I spent a lot of time traveling around the city and the country, and hanging out with other volunteers. We would usually walk into Thamel, the tourist district in Kathmandu, for a late lunch after working at the hospital in the morning. On weekends I usually traveled. One weekend I went bungee jumping, another I visited Chitwan and went on an animal safari. My final week in Nepal, I went on a