Where to Find a Speech Language Pathologist in Nepal

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nepalThe title of this post is a big misnomer because the answer to this question is: I don’t know! I’m writing this post with the hope that someone who is a speech language pathologist (A.K.A. SLP or speech therapist) in Nepal might someday see this post and reach out. 

As I’ve mentioned before in a previous post, I am a speech language pathologist. I live and work in the Boston area in a K-8 public school. I think what I do (help children improve their ability to communicate) is one of the coolest jobs in the world. I have received several emails over the years from fellow SLP’s connected to Nepal. A few years ago, I received an email from an Australian SLP who travels to Nepal to provide therapy to adults (how cool is that!?). I also remember receiving an email from a student who is studying to be a speech therapist in Nepal. I have heard from other sources that there is a graduate program in Kathmandu that trains speech language pathologists; however, I don’t know which university hosts this program.

Over the years, I have also received several emails from parents in Nepal looking for SLP services for their children. Friends and family members from Nepal have also mentioned to me that they know of children in Kathmandu who are in desperate need of speech therapy.

As I mentioned above, I am writing this post in the hopes that someone who provides speech therapy in Nepal will see it and reach out to me. I would love to be able to provide parents with a name of a school, private practice, a hospital, or an individual who can provided services to children in need of speech therapy.

Here is some potentially helpful information for those looking for speech therapy in Nepal:

  • I have heard from a friend that there is a school for children with autism in Kathmandu. I don’t know the name of the school, but some internet research reveals that there is an organization called Autism Care Nepal that provides some services to children and adults who have an autism diagnosis.
  • A quick google search revealed that there is something called Nepal Hearing and Speech Care Center that I assume provides services to children and adults who are deaf or hard of hearing. You may want to contact the center if you are interested.
  • As mentioned above there seems to be a graduate program in Nepal that educates speech language pathologists. Many graduate programs in speech language pathology have clinics where graduate students provide free or reduced cost services to children and adults. It might be worth doing some research to find out where this graduate program is hosted.
  • In the fall I learned that the Communication Sciences and Disorders department at George Washington University hosts an international trip for its speech therapy graduate students in Nepal every two years. It is possible that members of this program may provide assessments for those in need when they return to Nepal next.
  • (Just a quick disclaimer that I have no affiliation with the aforementioned centers or universities).

If you are an individual in Nepal looking for speech and language therapy, definitely start by doing some online research. The American Speech Language and Hearing Association’s website is a good place to start.

I really hope that in the future I will be able to spend my summers in Nepal. I would love to provide assessment and therapy when I am there for longer swaths of time, although that’s not a possibility in my life right now. Good luck to all of those individuals looking for a speech language pathologist in Nepal. Although I can’t diagnose or treat communication disorders online, if you have any other specific questions for me, I can try my best to answer them via email at nepalijiwan@gmail.com.

If you are a speech language pathologist in Nepal or know someone who is, please reach out by commenting or emailing me.

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Our Hindu Priest

Tri and I are not religious people, so when it came to finding a Hindu priest for our wedding, we asked around our communities to see if anyone knew of a good officiant. We didn’t want someone who was going to make the ceremony too serious or too long. We also obviously wanted someone who was willing and happy to officiate an interracial/intercultural marriage.

Some of our family friends in Washington D.C. happened to know a fantastic Hindu priest who often officiates weddings in the Nepali communities up and down the East Coast. When we were down in D.C. last summer, we got the chance to meet him, and we immediately felt put at ease.

He spoke both Nepali and English, he had lived in the US for many years, and he was totally fine with officiating an intercultural wedding. Score! He was also willing to accommodate our wish for a “short” (read 1 1/2 hour long) ceremony.

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Some of the items that the priest brought with him for the ceremony

On the day of the wedding our lovely priest showed up with all of the goodies needed for the puja. He kept trying to get us to do a rehearsal before the guests started to arrive, but because our photographs took longer than expected, we didn’t do the rehearsal until about 15 minutes before our ceremony was supposed to start. ha! But our priest was totally chill about it. Tri and I were both on cloud nine that day, and we really weren’t worried about timing. It was great to have an officiant who was on the same wavelength.

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Rehearsing before the wedding ceremony started

Once the ceremony started, he did an absolutely fantastic job. Although he said all of the prayers in Sanskrit, he translated the ceremony into English so that all of our guests could enjoy it. He was also incredibly kind to my family. He incorporated my parents, brothers, and grandpa into the ceremony and gave tikka to all of the guests who wanted it.

Our priest also had a great sense of humor. I thought that the ceremony would be quite serious, but I was laughing for most of it 🙂 There are several games that the bride, groom, and siblings/friends of the couple play during the wedding ceremony. Rather than just going through the motions, he really got everyone invested in the games.

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Throwing rice into the fire during the puja

I’ve been to a number of religious event in my life, whether they be Nepali, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, or Jewish, and I’ve rarely had fun. They’re often quite serious. This was probably the first religious function in my life that had me enjoying myself. I don’t know why my expectations were so low, but I was totally not expecting to enjoy the ceremony part of my wedding. Luckily, I think that we were able to please both families and have fun while doing it.

If anybody needs the name of a great Nepali Hindu priest on the East Coast, you can comment here or email me at nepalijiwan@gmail.com. I swear he didn’t pay me to write this post! 🙂

 

Nepali Christmas Hath Come Early

Tri’s family are all very good cooks. His brother (I’ll call him ‘M’) manages a restaurant in Kathmandu and knows how to cook some amazing dishes. Tri’s step mom and dad also make absolutely delish Nepali food. During “Nepali Christmas” (aka the big Nepali Hindu holiday Dashain) people return home, visit relatives, get tikka (red vermillion powder mixed with rice placed on the forehead as a blessing), and eat eat eat tons of homemade food. Here in our home it feels like Dashain has come early because of all the amazing food we’ve had. Here are a few pics of the some of the great eats we’ve been enjoying:

From top left going clockwise: blackening tomatoes over the stove, fried chicken, chicken curry (i.e., chickenko rus), golbedhako achaar (tomato pickle/sauce/flavoring), chop (a mixture of spices.

I’ll admit that there have been a few arguments in the kitchen over how to make each specific dish because everyone has their own way of doing it (me included!). Honestly, though? It’s been great family bonding time 🙂

We’re Married!

Tri and I got married Nepali style on July 3rd, almost 5 years to the day after we were legally married. I’ve got about 101 posts I want to write about the whole experience, but that’s going to take me a while, so I thought I’d post one of my favorite photos from the day:

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With the love of my life :’)

A Nepali Wedding of Our Own

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The front of our Nepali marriage certificate

Tri and I have been married for nearly 5 years! Which is pretty darn unbelievable to me. So much has happened in the last five years. I graduated from college, we lived in Nepal for 9 months, we moved to Boston, I got my masters degree, Tri worked at two different companies, I started my first job as a speech therapist, and we bought a place of our own here in Boston.

When Tri and I first we got married in 2011, we had a super small ceremony in my parent’s living room. All of that was in the wake of Mamu’s death, so although were delighted to be getting married, we were overwhelmed with grief. Then, when we moved to Kathmandu, we had to register our marriage there. I sort of consider that an extension of our marriage process because we got a Nepali marriage certificate at that time. Since our wedding in 2011, both of our families have been bugging us to have another wedding and/or a wedding reception. For a while, I thought that we wouldn’t do it. We’re both pretty shy people and neither of us enjoy being in the limelight. However, over the years, as we’ve had time to live together as a married couple, we’ve warmed to the idea of a big wedding celebration.

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Tri and I went down to my parents’ house this past week to help get ready for our July wedding. One this we started working on was the mandap, the structure under which the Hindu ceremony will take place.

This summer, we will be tying the knot once more. We’re planning on having a Nepali Hindu ceremony – first thing we did last summer (when we decided that we wanted to have a Hindu ceremony) was get in touch with a great Nepali priest who will conduct the ceremony in both Nepali and English. Although the ceremony will be long (around 1 and a 1/2 hours. eek!) and many a Sanskrit prayer will be said, we’re hoping that everyone, both Nepali and American alike, can feel involved.

After the ceremony is over, we’ll have a big ol’ wedding reception. All of this will take place in my parents’ backyard in order to save on costs and capitalize on the (hopefully) beautiful East Coast summer weather. Tri’s family is coming over from Nepal, and we have family and friends coming from all over the US to celebrate with us. Although Tri and I were initially very hesitant to go through with a big wedding, now that our plans are coming together, we’re both really excited to be celebrating our marriage once again 🙂

A Few Thoughts on the New Nepali Constitution

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Nepalis celebrating the adoption of the new constitution. Photo credit: http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2015/sep/21/nepal-formally-adopts-constitution-2015/

Nepal just signed into law a new constitution. I’m sure many of you already know the history leading up to the ratification of this historical document, but here is a brief and simplified recap:

2001: The royal massacre occurred; the king and crown prince died, and the king’s brother, Gyanendra, took over.

2008: The monarchy was overturned, and Nepal was declared a Republic

2008-2015: Politicians met many times over in an attempt to draft a new constitution.

Mid September, 2015: Nepal’s new constitution was ratified.

I’ll start by saying this: Nepali politics are very complicated, and there is so much that I don’t know. If I misstate something or write down something incorrectly, or if you just disagree with me, please tell me!

So anyway, the new constitution was just passed into law. Although this should be a time for rejoicing, many people in Nepal are upset because there are several HUGE issues that the constitution does not address. From what I understand, here are two of the major ones:

  • The southern plains of Nepal (the Terai) are underrepresented in the government. As far as I understand, the Nepali constitution split up the country into provinces that elect officials to represent them. Rather than allow the Terai to be one province, it was split up and added onto other provinces. Some believe that this was done in order to prevent the people living in the Terai from gaining too much political power.
  • The Nepali constitution does not recognize a woman’s right to confer citizenship to her child if the father of her child is not a citizen.

Here’s a nice video that outlines both of these issues more thoroughly.

Although I cannot personally speak to the first issue, the second issue, about women, hits a bit closer to home for me. The idea that a woman cannot give her own child citizenship is ridiculous. Tri is married to me (a foreign woman). Why should he be allowed to confer Nepali citizenship to any child that we have when a woman in the same situation cannot?

From what I understand, the reactions to these issues have been varied. Some accept the constitution and feel overjoyed that it has been ratified. But there have been many protests, some that have ended in violence. In the Terai, at least 40 people have died while protesting. I am demoralized and disgusted by reports of police brutality. One Nepali author who lives in Canada wrote a piece about why she burnt the new Nepali constitution. 

I recognize that I am not Nepali and never will be. I don’t understand the Nepali experience or the experience of women in Nepal. But I am more than a tourist or a visitor. I am part of a Nepali family that has been deeply affected by the struggles in Nepal, so I share my thoughts on the subject openly but with care.

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A man protesting. Photo credit: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-34280015

Nepal has gone through years of violence, bandhas, and politicians that have struggled to provide for the Nepali people. Despite the issues with the new constitution, maybe this is a turning point for Nepal. Yes, let’s keep yearning for a better Nepal, one that provides for all of its citizens equally, but let’s accept this new constitution. Rather than fight violently against it or burn it, let’s challenge it peacefully. Write articles, protest peacefully, continue to champion the rights of women, all ethnicities, and all religions. Let’s work to amend the constitution and speak out against problems with it.

I think that the article about burning the constitution affected me quite deeply. I understand the author’s frustration at the new constitution. However, not only is burning something often an act of violence, burning the entire constitution ignores some of the great, new things that it has set into law. For instance, the new Nepali constitution protects the rights of members of the LGBT community.

Some of my opinions might be controversial, and I certainly don’t understand all of the facets of this incredibly complex issue. What do you think?

An earthquake, a Graduation, and Starting to Blog Again

Tri and I hate getting calls at odd hours because they usually mean that something bad has happened in Nepal. On April 25th, we got a call in the early morning from Tri’s dad, telling us that there had been a terrible earthquake. Tri’s dad, step-mom, and brother all sounded terrified but reported that they were okay. We immediately checked facebook and looked at the news – the devastation we saw broke our hearts.

We are still trying to make sense of it all. Tri’s family’s apartment was pretty much destroyed. However, they are very fortunate to have another home in which they can stay, and I am beyond happy that everyone we know is safe. From what I’ve read, it was the poorest families and those in rural areas who were hit hardest. I know about a great organization called the dZi Foundation that does work in rural areas. If you are thinking about donating to the relief effort, consider them. I met the founder of the dZi Foundation back in 2009 through my study abroad program; he’s a really good guy and has done some amazing work in Nepal.

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Me and Tri on graduation day trying to figure out my gown and hood.

The other big thing that has happened in the last few months: I graduated from my master’s program. Finally! In September, I start working as a speech language pathologist/clinical fellow in a middle school. I’ve been working so hard for so long, and I feel really darn lucky that I made it through my program, got a job, and get to work in a field that I love. It was just about 4 years ago that I found this awesome career, and I can’t wait to finally start working! I still dream about working as a speech therapist in Nepal some day, maybe during the summers. I’d absolutely love to get in touch with some schools over there especially ones that
serve children with autism and/or multiple disabilities. We’ll see where that dream takes us…

The last couple of years, I have been so focused on trying to get through school that the rest of my life kind of fell by the wayside. I’m slowly trying to rekindle my old interests, so I thought I’d do a bit of blogging and continue to reach out to others who love Nepal as much as we do!