The Beep – A volunteer perspective
We love to hear from our volunteers and how their experiences has shaped their views. These experiences are often shared to us in many different forms of writing including a short story, an observation or a simple journal entry. We were delighted and somewhat amused at wild medic Marks observations and have shared his write up below.
As it stands one of the craziest things I have ever witnessed in my life was a Nepalese driver. Being a part of the Wild Medic Project that went to Nepal in February this year, my first introduction to the roads of Kathmandu was a short trip from the airport to the hotel during peak hour traffic.
The most obvious difference between Australia and Nepal is the use of the horn. In Australia, we are somewhat reserved, saving the beep for special occasions. When we spot someone we know, we do two short jabs on the horn making a friendly beep-beep sound. When leaving a friends house, we only give a single, short beep. More aggressive tones are the long, single BBBEEEPPP, indicating that some pelican has failed give way when changing lanes and quite frankly, this indicates that the driver working the horn has had enough of this particular driver’s behaviour. This is not the same as a short but moderately aggressive BEEP that indicates that some wombat has failed to move away from a red light in the allotted time slot that has been deemed appropriate by the horn operator. As an Australian road user and paramedic this is the language that I, and we, have all come to understand.
In Nepal, all you need to do when pulling in front of oncoming traffic, cutting someone off or driving directly into a crowd of innocent bystanders, is sound the horn! Although this time it’s not the innocent driver who was almost killed that sounds a disapproving tone but instead it’s the offender! The offender of the problem is the horn user?! And the tone is no indication of what is coming. The short, double “beep – beep” one would use to say hello to a friend in Australia is the same tone a Nepalese driver sounds to indicate that his truck is about to hit you head-on if immediate evasive action is not taken!
It appears to be socially acceptable to drive down the wrong way of a major road, in peak hour traffic, causing other drivers to dive for cover in order to save their own lives, and all you need to do is lightly tap the horn a couple of times. I love this place! Nepal is the only place I know where the cars are never repaired at all but the horn is serviced every 5000klms.
These are the experiences that are unparalleled and I cannot wait for my next opportunity to return! I was privileged to be welcomed into Nepal by Jeevan and Bishnu as part of the Wild Medic Project team in February 2016 and work in the communities of Helambu. These communities pulled no stops to ensure that we were well fed, looked after and felt safe and supported the whole time! If anyone out there is bored of their same routine and feels they may have something to offer, please submit an expression of interest. You will never regret going but you may regret not!
Expedition Medic February 2016
The Beep – A volunteer perspective October 28 2016