An MIT Alumni Association Publication

Autoclave-Developing Alumnus Reports from Kathmandu

  • Amy Marcott

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Guest Blogger: Greg Tao '10, graduate student, Department of Mechanical Engineering
For those who don’t know know me or a lot about our project, my name is Greg Tao, and over the last six months I have been developing a low-cost autoclave [sterilizing instrument] for middle income clinics of the developing world.

I am pursuing a master's degree from MIT’s mechanical engineering department and am working closely with two Nepali students, Pramod Kandel '14 and Shambhu Koirala '14, as well as Sue Cho, another mechanical engineering master's student.  We have used their network of family and friends to identify 16 clinics within Nepal that have committed to using our autoclave.  We have designed, fabricated, and shipped all the autoclaves in our luggage and will be traveling around Nepal for the next 10 weeks, seeding the autoclaves in rural health clinics.

With that, I’d like to take you through my first day in Nepal.

Pramod and Shambhu picked me up from the airport on Sunday (June 12th).  We were continuously accosted in the parking lot for money as we walked through the parking lot searching for a good deal on a taxi.  We finally found a fair deal loaded in all the bags.  As we took off one particularly persistent beggar kept walking along side the moving taxi hoping for a handout.

After dropping the bags off at the hotel, we hit the streets for some food.  The streets near the hotel are very busy and crowded.  We walked for about 10 minutes and dropped into a hole in the wall restaurant on a side street after meeting one of Shambhu’s friends.  I got to try momo for the first time, which is the equivalent of Nepali fast food. They are essentially vegetable, chicken, or beef dumplings that come fried, steamed, or swimming in a chili sauce.

We headed to see the tourist sites around the city after lunch.  Below are a couple pictures from the adventure.

Typical side street in downtown Kathmandu. Credit: Greg Tao

Shambhu and Pramod touring around Basantapur, a famous tourist area and hangout in Kathamndu. Credit: Greg Tao

After a long day of touring, we finally settled into the hotel.

Pramod and Shambhu watching TV in the hotel. Credit: Greg Tao

We’ll post more as the adventure continues. With that I will leave you with the Nepali salutation Namaste, which is used for almost all formal greetings and goodbyes.



Follow Tao's travels in Nepal at his blog:

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