A few of us started our day early at 5:30 a.m. with a 2-hour hike that included some breathtaking vistas at the top. I certainly felt the altitude today, which combined with my cold made an already challenging hike even more difficult.

I believe our highest point on the hike was a little over 13,100 feet and we ascended roughly 1,970 feet above our hotel in less than an hour so we still managed to keep a good pace.

At the conclusion of our hike, we paid a visit to the Kaza Monastery for their early morning prayers with a larger group accompanied by our Geshe, Lama G.

Due to monastery rules, I’m not able to share any photos from inside the monastery, but it was quite a sight to see several of the monks deep in prayer performing their ritual chanting.

Our next stop was the home of a paralyzed woman who Ravi Singh, the director of HHE, has provided for since she was paralyzed in a severe car accident several years ago. In fact, Ravi has helped to fund the building of a new home for her just up the hill from our hotel in Kaza. We had the opportunity to check in on her in a small group. She was very moved by our visit, as were all of us. It was amazing how much she had managed to do with her daughter’s help since her tragic accident.

Our next and final stop of the day was at the Old Aged Home in Kee. We had received a special request to see the 30 or so residents in this unique building. We set up camp in one of their common areas and handed out a few goodies to the very welcoming residents.

We had the opportunity to do some echoes. I was surprised to not see any aortic stenosis in this elderly population (all of our patients were over 80). In fact, they were in really great shape! We even had a few patients from the community come in to see us.

One visitor asked if she could bring his sister by in the afternoon because she was pregnant and they wanted to get an ultrasound of the baby in utero. We advised them to come to see us in Kaza at our guest house and they stopped by later in the evening.

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