By Leah Weissman
Pilot staff writer
Green terraced mountains, yellow plains, dried thatch huts, colorful clothing and men and women carrying their wares in handwoven baskets slung on their backs.
"If you ever went there, you'd fall in love," Charles Shultz said about Nepal.
Shultz, pastor for the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, traveled to Nepal in March with his wife Elizabeth for medical missionary training. They spent 20 days in two very different towns the crowded urban capital of Kathmandu and the remote village of Itahari teaching villagers first aid.
"We were approached by the Seventh-Day Adventist Church to do the medical missionary training because they felt we would be able to help people with their health and Nepal needed it," Shultz said.
Both Shultz and his wife have their master's in Public Health, and spent their time in Nepal training gospel outreach workers how to help communities in need of simple medical knowledge.
"We talked about family planning, simple physiology and anatomy, bandaging and smoking," Shultz said. "Kids there will start smoking when they are 6 because cigarettes are so cheap."
The church gave Shultz and his wife only so much money for outreach services, and the couple paid their own way there.
According to Shultz, the focus of the medical training was to use things already available to the villagers.
"The point was, there's a lot of stuff you can do to help yourself that doesn't cost a thing," Shultz said.
For instance, Shultz taught about contrast treatment the use of heat and cold to draw blood to a certain area of the body or pull it away. He and his outreach workers also showed Nepali people how to use charcoal as a treatment for toothaches and poisonous bites.
"We even showed them how to use hot foot baths when coming down with a cold," Shultz said.
Under the guidance of Shultz and his wife, outreach workers talked about the human anatomy with villagers, using life-sized posters and mannequins of the human body. They also conducted first aid bandaging classes where villagers learned to make makeshift arm slings and tightly wrap areas to stop bleeding.
While working in Nepal, Shultz said he grew close to almost everyone he met.
"Nepali people are so amazing they are the friendliest and most open people with such great personalities," he said. "And the women are so expressive and have a tremendous sense of humor. It almost makes Americans look blah.'"
According to Shultz, the people's natural friendliness mirrors Nepal's natural beauty.
"The scenery is incredible," he said. "Kathmandu has rolling hills and mountains and is pretty cool at 4,400 feet above sea level, while Itahari is at sea level and hot and humid with tons of mosquitoes. It's almost like two different countries."
This was actually the couple's second time visiting Nepal, their previous visit lasting seven years from 1969 to 1977. Shultz said he still remembered some Nepali, even after 31 years.
"And Elizabeth studies Nepali every day for when we go back," he said.
One of Shultz's favorite memories was during the Nepali spring festival Holi.
"It's basically one big water fight," he said. "All of these kids saved for weeks to buy water balloons and food coloring. The holiday coincides with Easter and, just like we color eggs, they basically color people. You didn't see anyone who didn't have color on them you'd even see purple goats running around."
Shultz and his wife both plan to return to Nepal when they retire.
"I have to go back," he said. "Nepal is just an incredible place."