The wonder woman giving education in Canberra and health in Nepal

The wonder woman giving education in Canberra and health in Nepal

Canberra woman Bronwyn Nuske's determination to help others through juggling teaching and paramedics would be impressive to many, but to her it's human nature.

The year three teacher at Holy Spirit Primary School recently returned to the classroom after providing medical assistance to a remote community in Nepal and encountered civil unrest, earthquakes and severe storms along the way.

Canberra teacher Bronwyn Nuske with her year 3 class at Holy Spirit Primary School.

Canberra teacher Bronwyn Nuske with her year 3 class at Holy Spirit Primary School.

Photo: Rohan Thomson

"Everyone receives help in their lives, so to return that help in some capacity with your skills is a really human thing to do," she said.

"I think I'll always remember the trip as a life lesson about people and humanity and determination and perseverance, all of those human traits."

Ms Nuske, who spends her school holidays working as a paramedic, recently travelled with a non for profit organisation called the Wild Medic Project to two remote villages that had been severely affected by the 2015 Nepal earthquake which killed 8,000 people.


She was a part of a team of volunteers who treated more than 160 people in a free health clinic they made from a tin shack, helping patients who would otherwise have to walk five hours to find transport to the nearest hospital. They then assessed more than 300 children at a school in a village called Lapsiphedi and provided first aid training to the senior students.

But the trip did not run as smoothly as planned.

The journey to the first village was delayed a day by protests in Kathmandu.

Over the two weeks, which involved a lot of hiking, the team were hit by three monsoon storms that brought torrential and minor landslides.

And on the last day, Ms Nuske was woken by an earthquake shaking her hotel bed, although luckily it was also minor.

As well as these setbacks, Ms Nuske had to overcome cultural and language barriers, sleep on classroom floors, shower in half-collapsed monasteries and work with unfamiliar and minimal resources.

She also found it emotionally challenging.

"One little girl we treated had lost her three siblings and childhood friend in the earthquake and all of us teared up when we heard what happened," she said.

"My friend decided to sponsor her so she could go to university and become a doctor."

But overall, it was a life-changing experience that she would repeat in a heartbeat. She's even using the life lessons she learned in Nepal in her classroom lessons in Canberra.

"It is probably a little bit hard to come back, because when you were with people that have so little and are so grateful for every small thing and treat school like a gift, it is interesting to get your head around," she said.

"We [her and her students] talk about their school and what they have and we practice saying 'we are really lucky we have this because the people in Nepal wouldn't have it'.

Ms Nuske was thankful for the staff and students at the school who put together a raffle and helped make the trip possible.

"I certainly feel motivated to continue that type of work."

Clare Sibthorpe is a reporter for The Canberra Times

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