Xtreme Barrel Back!

This donation was made in 2008 after our Caudwell Xtreme Everest expedition

Xtreme Barrel Back
Xtreme Barrel Back

When the Caudwell Xtreme Everest expedition finished all of their Xtreme activities, and left Kathmandu in June last year, there were some unused medical supplies left behind for donation. My name is Chris Grocott. I am the brother of the illustrious expedition leader Mike Grocott. In a case of blatant nepotism, I was assigned to donate the supplies.

Nepal is not a rich country and there are a myriad of very needy charities, medical clinics, and hospitals that would benefit from donations. Unfortunately, there are too many to mention here or spread the donations around to, so it was decided to focus on just four.

Before any donations could be made the first task was to organise and catalogue all the remaining medical supplies and create an inventory. Initially, there were 36 barrels which, once organised and the expired supplies disposed of, were rounded down to 22 barrels. So, as well as producing the inventory of these barrels I discovered the condition called Barrel Back (BB). This is caused by spending the day bending over and peering into the bottom of a barrel which is slightly higher than your knee. Then, when you have to stand up and carry the full barrel across the yard, this leads to a more serious condition of Xtreme Barrel Back (XBB)

Having assessed the available supplies it was decided to donate them to:

  • 1. ASHA Project
  • 2. Bir Hospital in Kathmandu (specifically the burns unit)
  • 3. The Gulbhanjang Aid Post
  • 4. Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA)

So, a word or two about each of these.

ASHA Project
The ASHA Project helps HIV sufferers in the more remote areas of Nepal. Their activities aim to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections and care for those affected by them. They improve people's access to quality reproductive health services, especially safe, effective, and affordable family planning methods. They also aim to improve the health of women and children, especially those who live in resource-constrained settings.

Bir Hospital in Kathmandu (specifically the burns unit)
The Bir hospital is a 400 bed, 116 year old government run hospital in Kathmandu. It has a burns unit which is woefully under resourced with 9 beds and two operating theatres. The hospital accepts patients referred from across Nepal, the majority of whom are extremely poor and cannot afford to pay for their treatment. Most of the patients are women and are admitted 30% due to accidents in the home and 70% due to attempted suicide due to the extreme poverty and the domestic situations they live in.

The Gulbhanjang Aid Post
The Gulbhanjang Aid Post is about a day and a half?s walk from Kathmandu and is attached to the local school. Back in the late 90?s several trekking groups stumped up money to provide basic medical supplies and to sponsor Krishna Gurung through a basic Community Health Assistant's course. Subsequently the funding dried up and the post has in the past been supported by a porter welfare fund. It now exists on the generosity of western donors and provides healthcare to the surrounding community.

Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA)
The Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA) is a voluntary non-profit organization formed in 1973 with the objective to reduce trekking and mountaineering related illness and mortality, especially with regards to altitude sickness. It maintains a small aid post in the Khumbu village of Pheriche at an altitude of 14,343 feet. Besides actual direct rescue and emergency, a major emphasis of its work is the prevention of accident and illness through the dissemination of mountain safety information. In addition, the HRA has established radio communication and enables emergency use of helicopter or aircraft for rescue evacuation. It maintains an outpost at Everest Base Camp during the climbing season. Westerners pay for their treatment at the HRA post and the money from this partly subsidises free treatment for the local Sherpa community.

Once all the supplies had been delivered, I was left with lots of empty barrels and I didn't want to look at them, or in them, for a minute longer so the solution was to sell them to the highest bidder and make some quick cash! After a spot of hasty bartering the deal was clinched for the handsome price of 1,800 NRS per barrel (approximately $930 US for the lot) but having recently contracted a case of Xtreme Barrel Back, I now had a moral dilemma ? should I pocket the cash, and would I get away with it if I did? The answer was no, so this was donated to Girls' Education Nepal.

Girls' Education Nepal is a programme providing educational scholarships to poor Nepali girls. The programme sponsors girls to attend school, and pays for all education-related expenses. Presently 36 girls receive an education through this programme.

Finally, it only remains for me to offer my very grateful thanks to Kit Spencer and the Summit Hotel for letting us use his yard for storage and organisation and providing transport for the distribution of the supplies. Also, many thanks to Dr Matiram Pun for all his advice on the medical side and without whose help this would not have been possible.

Story by Chris Grocott

Further to the above story, we later received thanks from the charity Girls' Education Nepal. This charity runs a programme providing educational scholarships to poor Nepali girls. The programme sponsors girls to attend school, and pays for all education-related expenses. Presently 36 girls receive an education through this programme. With the money they received from Caudwell Xtreme Everest last April, the administrators were able to buy a printer and essential office supplies for their Orphan Help Centre.

Now, with more barrels sold, we have been able to donate money to the Sunrise Childrens' Association as well. The money has been put towards recreational activities and training and development programmes for the children at the Sunrise Orphanage in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Caudwell Xtreme Everest would like to thank Chris Grocott for making these donations possible.