Well, it’s been two weeks since I landed back in Australia from my whirlwind trip to Sri Lanka.
Back in May, I had presented some lectures on rehabilitation at the Australian Veterinary Association Conference. A colleague of mine based in Singapore, then signed me up to present some rehabilitation lectures to the local Sri Lankan veterinarians on a pro bono basis. I had always wanted to do some charity work but couldn’t see how my skills were useful in desexing and vaccinating street dogs. It was pointed out to me that the work I did required very little in the way of expensive equipment, I could teach vets how to improve their diagnostic palpation skills and treat their patients with simple, low cost techniques. No MRIs , cat scans or expensive surgeries needed!
My four days in Sri Lanka were beautiful. My colleague Dr Elaine Cebuliak and I gave lectures for two days on rehabilitation, acupuncture, chinese herbs and veterinary dentistry (Elaine’s other passion). The vets were very receptive to our ideas and kept asking for more information on calming excitable or nervous dogs and treating dogs with incontinence. They pointed out to us that the acupuncture points we showed them were similar to some of the points used by the mahouts to control their elephants. They also had a rich culture in using traditional herbs and spices to treat various ailments in a similar vein to chinese herbal medicine. It was a real pleasure to talk to such a receptive and enthusiastic audience. The souvenir koala prizes helped with question and answer sessions but we have been told to bring chocolate next time as chocolate is taxed at 300%! Caramello Koalas it is next time!
The Sri Lankan hospitality was excellent. They were always smiling, full of positive energy, friendliness and ready to help with our crazy ideas and requests. Actually, all I wanted was some postcards and stamps. Elaine however, decided we needed to see Kandy even if we had to fly back in a helicopter! Anyway, our wonderful hosts were able to come to our rescue and we managed to see the most beautiful university in the world in Kandy as well as the elephant orphanage and I satisfied my taste for Durian. It took us five hours to travel about 90 km from Colombo to Kandy, we got stuck in a rain storm coming back so it took seven hours to get to the airport but I got there in plenty of time to catch my flight home!
Dr Shane in Singapore is now talking about sending us to Vietnam and beyond….
Till next time