The Nomads Clinic Story

1920-IMG_614852In the early eighties, Roshi Joan Halifax traveled with just one to three clinicians in first Nomads Clinic. It was always a challenge to meet the needs of the peoples in the monasteries and villages whom we were serving. For example, at Thupten Choling Monastery, our clinicians saw hundreds of monastics, and it was clear that the care we were providing was essential but also that we needed to bring more clinicians into the process.

Thirty years later, we are grateful to work with teams of a dozen or more clinicians, some of whom have been with the Nomads Clinic over many years. The younger clinicians have the opportunity to engage at a level that is not possible in their usual settings. The older clinicians have the chance for deep inspiration to bring their skills to peoples where the appreciation is deep.



Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world, and the poorest in Asia after Afghanistan. Twenty five per- cent of the population live below the poverty line, and the average annual income is below $700 USD. To make matters worse, in April of 2015, Nepal was hit by a devastating earth- quake, and reconstruction has been seriously hampered by political infighting. Many areas have yet to see any of the millions in aid given to help the Nepali people rebuild their lives. (Note that immediately after the earthquake and since that time, Upaya has helped raise generous funds for direct, on the ground aid led by our Nepali Nomads Clinic team.)

In September, 2016, as has been the case for every year for more than two decades, Upaya organized a team of clinicians and others to serve in the poorest and most rural areas in the Himalayas. Our work has concentrated on Western Nepal, the most impoverished area of this country.

For the past several years, we have served in Dolpo, Nepal, with the support of Dolpo Tulku Rinpoche. Dolpo has a fifty percent infant mortality rate and twenty five percent maternal mortality rate. Village health clinics are rarely utilized, and health care workers are few in this region. Dolpo’s remoteness, material poverty, and lack of medical care has made it an important area in which to bring Upaya’s Nomads Clinic.

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