We are looking for dentists, midlevel dentists, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, physicians, physician assistants,  dental assistants, and nurses to provide care  in the remote Himalaya. 

Professional guides will lead the way and porters will carry our bags so that we need only trek with  a day pack.

 The earthquakes damaged 90% of the domiciles in the Tsum Valley. The people are rebuilding while dealing with the stress of two earthquakes and numerous after shocks.

The altitude of the villages where we will provide care is from 5,000 to 10,500 feet . Volunteers will experience the spectacular beauty of the region. The Tsumbas, as the people of the Tsum call themselves are gracious and grateful, a reflection of  their Buddhist way of living.

Says Sian Pritchard-Jones, from  his book, "A Trekking Guide to Manaslu and Tsum Valley," copyright March 2013: The Tsum Valley is perhaps one of the last lost great Himalayan frontier regions to be discovered."

" Lush forests, terraced hillsides, mysterious canyons, gargantuan summits and Buddhist culture are enticing. For so long beyond the horizon, the Tsum Valley is astonishing and secretive. Hilltop monasteries, traditional villages, colourful people, enigmatic yaks and hundreds of mani walls, chortens and kani gates add to the blend.”

The arrangements for the trip include housing, meals, porters, required permits for the region, translators, and guides.  

Team members will be given a list of essentials for the trip and practical tips. Our Nepalese guides will provide us with everything we need.

Team Leader

Mission Leader Rachel Frazin, APRN, MSN, BC Family Practice

 I divide my time between my home in St. Paul, Minnesota and Alaska where I provide medical care to Native Alaskans as a locum tenens. 

Contact me if you have questions or are interested in joining our mission at rachelfrazin01@gmail.com

LINKS TO TSUM VALLEY



About the trek

Sleep arrangements - We stay in simple tea houses during the trek to the Valley and sleep in tents provided by our trekking company in the Lower Tsum, and in a monastery in Upper Tsum.  

Food -  A kitchen staff provides our food in the villages. We  take our meals in tea houses on the trek.  Meals are simple, mainly vegetarian fare including Dal bhat (the national dish) consisting of seasoned lentils and rice; pasta or potatos; and  local buckwheat chapattis and pancakes.

 Personal goodies -- chocolate, energy bars, coffee --can be taken separately.

Bathing -  Consists of a warm bucket of water.   

Toilets -  Primitive Turkish toilets -- a hole in the floor with a bucket of water for  flushing.  

Trek -  Fear of heights is prohibitive  as we   cross gorges on suspension bridges. The path is wide enough to permit safe hiking, none of which requires technical skill.    Temperatures  in Lower Tsum range from 70 to upper 90's daytime. Upper Tsum is chilly 50 to 70 daytime  and as low as 30 degrees at night.  Moderately low precipitation in October.

Porters can carry up to 15 kilograms in a  duffel bag per person. Any excess baggage will  be carried in a day pack by volunteer.

Water - Unsafe for drinking everywhere in Nepal. Boiled water and hot drinks are provided by our cook staff and tea houses. Each team member is responsible to sterilize water for daytime use on trail or in the camps.

Electricity - Exists everywhere but is intermittent.  An external battery pack is essential to guarantee power for IPads and cameras. Solar panels that attach to day packs are optional but advisable.

Vaccinations - none are required by the government; however, specific vaccines are recommended. Typhoid vaccine and Hepatitis A and B and MMR immunities are essential. Tdap or Td in the past 5 years, and IM polio booster if  never vaccinated after age 18.  Rabies vaccination is a good idea as no good data exist on the risk of rabies in the Tsum. Immediate rabies vaccination (passive immunity as well as active) mandates a medivak to Kathmandu, which can be problematic in inclement weater. Volunteers are encouraged to decide based on cost/risk.  The injections, while costly, are not painful and given in the arm. 

Security - Nepal is an amazingly safe country for foreigners to visit - even  Kathmandu.  Visitors need only take the usual, sensible precautions when travelling anywhere in the world. 

Illness -  Upper respiratory infections and diarrhea commonly occur among team members at least once. We carry IV solution and medication for staff.   Altitude sickness is possible in the Upper Tsum but unlikely because of the gradual gain in altitude on the trek.  We attain a maximum of 11,400 feet at Mu Gumba monastery at the end of the trek.  We  have abundant medical expertise and supplies in case of illness. That said, travel insurance including evacuation is required for participation.

Costs

The cost is $3100 USD including all accommodation, porters, food, guides, kitchen staff,  permits,  two motoring days, and a donation to the mission for translators, medicines, and supplies.

 Alcohol, meals in Kathmandu, snacks on the trail, Nepal visa (50 in USD,)  personal purchases, and tips for guides, porters, and interpreters are not included.  Plan on approx 200 USD.  Flights are not included, and each volunteer makes his or her own flight arrangements.  Use of frequent flyer miles results in significant savings.

ITINERARY

10/8  Meet in hotel in Kathmandu; may arrive earlier to sight see independently. 

Introduction to the Tsum by Rachel Frazin including cultural considerations, team collaboration, and care provision organization.

Team dinner and Q and A with Tanzin Lama, trek company leader

10/10   Full day travel by vehicle from Kathmandu to Arughat, end of the road 

10/11  Arughat to Lapu trek 6 hours

10/12  Lapu to Korla Besi 6 hours

10/13   Khorla Besi to Jagat 6 hours

10/14 Jagat to Lokpa 6 hours

10/15 Health Camp at Lokpa

10/16  Lokpa to Chumling 5 hours

10/17 – 10/19  Health Camp  Chumling

10/20   Chumling to Repchet 3 hours

10/21  Health Camp at Repchet

10/22 Repchet to Chokangparo 6 hours

10/23 Chokangparo to Lama Gaun 2 hours

10/24 – 10/26  Health Camp at Lama Gaun

10/27   Lama Gaun to Mu Gumba (isolated Buddhist monastery) 5 hours.  Free time.

10/28  Mu Gumba  day trek to area near Tibetan border or trek nearby terrain for leisure.

10/29 Return trek from Mu Gumba to Lama Gaun 5 hours

10/30  One hour AM helicopter flight  to Kathmandu

10/31 Kathmandu rest day or departure for home PM flight or on a later date. A return flight on 11/1 or thereafter is best in case of helicopter delay due to inclement weather from UpperTsum to Kathmandu