Nepal Project – Clinic Day 1

Posted: 16th May 2013 by dan in Uncategorized

A brief description of the facility and our daily general schedule may assist in visualizing the event in Kathmandu.

The 3 day event, from May 10-12, was held at the “Covered Hall”…..the same facility the National Nepalese Men’s Basketball team uses to practice and play games at. The court is full size and offers spectator seats on both sides, with 2 hoops. Unfortunately the wood flooring is quite neglected and provides an uneven, bumpy surface.

The “start-tea-lunch-end” times for all 3 days of the KTM “clinic” and “tournament” were scheduled to be the same….Start at 10:00 a.m., Tea break from 11:00-11:15 a.m., Lunch from 1:00-2:00 p.m., End at 4:00 p.m.

Although Dan had assisted in moving the wheelchairs the day before to the Covered Hall from an NGO storage area where they were being held since being cleared through customs by Michael Rosenkrantz and Bharat. The chairs were in need of some attention…….pumping up of tires, making sure the right wheels were on the right frames, tightening of nuts, etc… After being picked up by a driver from Nature Trails Trekking and Tours, Greg and Dan arrived at the covered Hall at 8:30 a.m. to ensure having ample time to make adjustments/repairs. Most of the tires needed air, some wheels had to be switched around, upholstery reattached……fairly basic stuff except for the fact that many of the tires had Presto valve tubes which need an adapter in order to work with a regular pump. Unfortunately WAW did not have an adapter with them and the small hand pump available on site only accommodated the more traditional valve. Thinking this would only be a small hurdle to overcome, we approached all of the organizers, the volunteers, Michael, Bharat, and a few other individuals in the vicinity. Apparently WAW had brought a very alien type of tube on some of the wheels as NO ONE had ever seen a Presto valve, and sincerely believed that no such “adapter” or pump existed in all of Nepal. Being positive and “can-do” thinking men, Greg  and Dan tried to explain what was needed and where to find it to one of the outstanding volunteers, Akosh. With the starting time drawing closer, the opening ceremony dignitaries arriving and wanting to check out the donated chairs and speak with the WAW team, Dan and Greg were still busy dealing with repair issues, and more than a little concerned about having several chairs be totally out of commission with low/flat tires. With minutes to go before the start of the Opening Ceremonies, Akosh came to the rescue by showing up with a Presto valve compatible pump!

There were a number of dignitaries, and all took a few minutes to make a speech about the importance of the event, to thank the many sponsors, the need for inclusion and acceptance of the disabled, to thank Michael Rosenkrantz for all his hard work, and other dignitary-type comments. On behalf of WAW, Dan made a short speach thanking all the participants for coming, the sponsors involved, thanking Michael Rosenkrantz, and extending the hope that the wheelchairs being donated would help promote adaptive sports not only with the Nepal Wheelchair Rugby Association but in all of Nepal.

Once the speeches were concluded, it was time for tea. After which the real “clinic” would begin.

At approximately11:30 a.m., once tea was done, the participants, ALL 60 OF THEM — FROM THE VERY YOUNG TO THE VERY OLD, FROM THOSE IN HOSPITAL-TYPE WHEELCHAIRS TO THOSE IN LOCAL SPORT CHAIRS, GIRLS & BOYS, MEN & WOMEN, were gathered and informed by WAW that moving forward the event schedule would begin and end on time…..not on Nepali-time but actual clock time. This was done because of many comments by people that things in Nepal operate on “Nepali-time”, meaning with little regard to actual time. WAW felt it important to stress the need for punctuality and discipline from the start.

For about 15 minutes, Raj (Coach of the Army wheelchair basketball team) conducted stretching exercises. The balance of time until lunch (1:00 p.m.), Greg and Dan conducted suicide drills, games of tag, sharks and minnows. Once everyone was thoroughly warmed up and somewhat sweaty, it was time for lunch.

Lunch, much to the surprise of WAW, was prepared on-site by white-aproned, chef-hat wearing culinary school students, and needless to say was quite delicious.

From 2:00 to 3:30, the group broke up into 3 stations manned by Raj (dribbling and passing), Greg (shooting), and Dan (exposure to the new chairs). Each group changed stations once every 30 minutes. Everybody getting into the new chairs were delighted by how easy it was to push and manuever them. In many cases it took a few requests to get them out of the new chairs. Even the ones that were initially hesitant to get into them, smiles and laughter and enjoyment were in abundance!

From 3:30-4:00, the group broke out into 2 groups for a lay-up competition. With the combination of somewhat experienced players, beginners, and people who had never shot a basketball before in their lives, the lay-up competition proved to be entertaining, challenging, and surprisingly very closely competitive. The winning side only won by a margin of a few lay-ups.

The day drew to a close, with many people still beaming with smiles and gushing with appreciation and thanks, in Nepali and broken English. The only concern for the next few days was the threat of a city-wide “Banda” (general strike) on Sunday (Day 3) called for by one of the many minority political parties unhappy with one thing or another the Government decided to do. The fear is that IF a Banda occurs, it shuts down EVERYTHING, including operation of public and private vehicles, and thus there may be no way for participants to attend the last day of the Nepal Project!