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Cultural Immersion at Men-Tsee-Khang Medical Clinic, Dharamsala
Yesterday we had our first medical consult with our friend Dr. Dekyi at the Dalai Lama’s Medical Clinic down the hill. We’ve never seen it so busy, the waiting room was packed three rows deep with Tibetans, mostly nuns and some monks. Many more stood elbow to elbow, queuing to see a doctor, then to pay for prescriptions and finally, for their medicine.
After a three-quarter hour wait in the crowded but calm office, Dekyi noticed me and motioned me to enter her office, but when I got there, two nuns sat in the chairs beside her desk. I left, and returned when she again called me in. And so it went, a constant stream of nuns, with the odd monk going in and out of the office as we spoke and Dekyi patiently checked my pulses. Now I understood why she invited me in with the others. The nuns were there for “Precious Pills”, special medicines made from gems, used for chronic conditions. They are sent back to Tibet to help family members.
After our appointment we visited the museum on the grounds of Men-Tsee-Khang, while waiting to join Dekyi for lunch at her home. We reconnected with her old Mom and sat in the sunshine drinking tea, on the large shared deck at the staff quarters. Once again I soaked in the pastoral scene on the hill below, unchanged from three years previously; Indian women in salwar kameez suits sat on the grass or wandered the grassy steppes, keeping their eye on the family cows grazing nearby.
After an excellent Tibetan lunch of rice, mixed vegetables, steamed momos and a special sweetened noodle dish with butter, Khenrab, Dekyi’s husband, gave us a tour of theMedical and Astrological school where he teaches and oversees the curriculum and much more. A special class for Western students was in progress; more and more Westerners are studying Tibetan medicine.
We returned home in a taxicab, as the ride down in the auto rickshaw was a bit too bumpy, the road is quite washed out from the winter rains.