Aimee's Journey to Zanskar
Organized by: Aimee Ryan
Final update and a HUGE thank you
September 06, 2016
Okay ya’ll…I’m headed off on a grand adventure to do some good work in the world and, because I’m stretching in all kinds of ways already and might as well add one more growing edge to the mix, I’m asking for your help. While that feels like the most vulnerable thing I could imagine doing right now, I also know deep down that it’s important for me to do this...to open myself up to the generosity of my family and friends and to see what we can create, together. I want to invite you to be a part of this amazing project!
In just three short days (whoa!) I’ll be leaving for the Zanskar Valley in the far reaches of northern India in order to join up with the Tibetan Children’s Education Foundation and a team of volunteer doctors, nurses, and midwives who are going there to help get a newly built hospital up and running.
Why am I going? My goal is to support the team in deeply listening to the needs of the locals and to help us anchor our actions in our vision to support this culture - to not just survive, but to thrive. I hope to serve as a tuning fork, listening in to what’s truly being called for and doing my best to harmonize our efforts with the locals’ requests. I have tons of confidence in the team going, so I don’t imagine that my role will be difficult, but important nonetheless.
As an extension of the work I’ve dedicated my life to, a particular focus of mine will be supporting the hospital staff to create systems for how they want to work together after we leave; how they’ll deal with conflict when it arises, how they’ll communicate with the locals about their services, and how they want to support each other day in and day out as they face the pain and suffering that they are sure to face.
Why am I asking for help? This is a tough one for me to answer, because it’s tough for me to ask. The truth is, I’m beyond privileged in so many ways and have access to resources that most on the planet can only dream of. And yet, when I connect to why I’m truly asking for support, it’s not because it’s a matter of not having enough, but rather to lean into the full experience of interdependence. I want to go out into the world WITH all of you and make a difference side-by-side with my beloved community, and since I can’t fit you all in my pocket (now would be a handy time for the “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” machine), I can invite you to join in another way.
If a financial contribution feels like a “hell yeah!” – awesome! Your funds will go towards the $1,300 plane ticket and the $1,850 it costs to join the trip (in country travel, food, accommodation, pitching in on the medical supplies for the hospital, etc.).
For full transparency and to honor her immense generosity, I need to recognize my mom, Heidi Goldman, for without her support (both moral and financial) this trip would not be possible. Seriously…having made my reservations two weeks before departure, I couldn’t even begin to dream into this without her wholehearted “you go girl!” I hope that by leaning into my global network of allies, I can pay her back in full, sooner rather than later.
If some loving vibes and well wishes feels right for you – also awesome, thank you! Just knowing I have all of you cheering me on means the world to me and is incredibly meaningful. Your cosmic high-fives will go towards lifting my spirit when the going gets rough and giving me gentle reminders of the awe-inspiring power of love.
Why is this trip important? So many reasons…here are a few of the highlights…
- 1 in 2 children in Zanskar won’t make it to the age of 5. Not okay. The TCEF medical team will be training midwives and caregivers on best practices, as well as administering health screenings on the youth, with a special focus on their hearts and lungs using the portable ultrasound and EKG machine that is being donated to the hospital. We’ll also be passing out toothbrushes (because oral hygiene is a make-or-break for long term health) and sunglasses (to protect their eyes from the blinding snow that covers their landscape 9 months of the year), and educating on the importance of both.
- The team that’s heading over there is dedicated to working with the local healers, called Amchis, in order to preserve their healing traditions, not overcome them. What our team offers will be a complement to these ancient methods, so that the Amchis can successfully tackle the illnesses and injuries that are a part of life in Zanskar. One major focus of this training will be HPV/cervical cancer screenings, so that the women of this region have a chance of catching this preventable disease while it’s still in the early stages.
- The Dalai Lama himself urged TCEF to do this work. Enough said.