This Article is From May 04, 2015

In Earthquake-Hit Nepal, Healing Victims Through Humour

Medical clowning used to bring a cheer to the faces of those who are injured

Kathmandu: They may look completely out of place in a hospital set up with their baggy shorts, striped socks and a big red coloured faux nose, but Sancho and Dush know what they are doing.

As Dush plays the mouth organ, Sancho claps loudly egging on more people around him to join in. They are both encouraging a 20-year-old youngster to stand up and take his first steps after being bedridden for a week. His right arm had to be amputated for his own safety after he was trapped under the rubble in Nepal's 'great quake' of April 25.

"He is a dancer," the doctor treating him tells us, "Bravo Babu." It's the first day Babu, as the boy is called in the field hospital, has been able to drink water on his own. His father holds his hand as he tries to walk, his sister seems tense yet hopeful.

Inside the paediatric ward, a boy is lying down on the bed with a broken nose and a head injury. He holds a balloon watching Sancho make funny faces. His bare chest is covered with heart-shaped stickers that Sancho distributed. Though he doesn't smile, Sancho adds quite to colour to an otherwise anxious hospital setting.

Clowning around doesn't go hand in hand with a disaster but that's exactly what these medical clowns are doing, trying to lighten up the lives of those who are here in hospitals.

How do you overcome the language barrier, we ask. The two take off, mumbling some gibberish, making funny faces and gestures and say in almost unison: "This is a universal language and everyone understands it."

Amidst the traumatic task of battling injuries, Nepal's very own Patch Adams prove again that laughter is the best medicine.