To our great surprise and joy, due to last minute changes we were able to offer free treatment to 3,000 people instead of the projected 1,000, bringing the total number of people we've treated to a mind-boggling 12,000! We all stand in awe of how powerful such a simple grass-roots effort can be. Deeply grateful to New York acupuncturist Michelle LaDue, who spontaneously joined us last minute, the clinic was able to see so many patients. Michelle's ability to stop pain instantly by way of the needles earned the clinic the nickname, "The miracle doctors are coming".
True to its mobile set up, we again served various neighborhoods in and around Port-au-Prince, including a school and orphanage with hundreds of previously untreated children, both suddenly abandoned by the NGOs that founded them. Working with children who have not had treatment for emotional shock since the earthquake—now almost 2-1/2 years ago—drives home the realization that such a shock continues to cripple if left untreated. Time does not heal all wounds.
Going in a jeep from place to place, in a different location each day, the clinic set up "shop" in several of the same locations as on the previous trips, thus seeing some of the same people we have been serving for the past 2 years. This included a little boy we first met 1-1/2 years ago when he was two months old and on the verge of dying from yellow fever. The right homeopathic remedy and flower essence saved his life. With a moribund infant, his very young mother seemed completely indifferent to his fate, possibly because she could not stand the pain of losing him. Now a proud mom, she brought the thriving boy in to see Jinpa. Oddly enough for a black baby from a Haitian tent camp, he cried when picked up by Haitian Jinpa but happily jumped into the arms of our tall white acupuncturist Michelle. Jinpa commented "He was crying every time I tried to touch him. However, the minute the 'white lady doctor' arrived, he immediately jumped into her arms and stopped crying. I could not help but think that subconsciously, he remembered Julia who had saved his life. I think the little boy was saying thank you to the one who saved his life. Michelle even needled him without difficulty. I cried a bit at the end of that day contemplating this. It is touching with how little one can make such a difference in the world. I will never forget this. This is love and compassion in action, and it speaks even louder when it comes through the actions of a little child."
As before, word of the clinic spread, and people took the bus to arrive from far and wide. Pierro, the medicine preparator since our first trip, by now has memorized and mastered all essential oil mixes to such a degree that he was able to see and treat some patients by himself, treating chest colds, joint and muscle aches and pains, belly aches, etc., with our custom mixes.
Here are a few of Michelle's cases:
"A middle aged woman came into the clinic toward the end of the day, brought by a younger woman we had treated earlier. She explained she had just fallen off a motor bike. She had not hit her head but had road rash all up her left leg, which I cleaned and treated with the calendula oil (donated by FES). Then I gave her a high dose of arnica homeopathically and some Five Flower Formula. She was also exhausted and had a backache. I then found some points on her feet that when I pressed it relieved the pain in her back, so I needled those points and left her to rest a bit while I tended to another person. Maybe 10 minutes later, the young woman who brought her in said she was feeling faint. I then took the needles out and put in a revival point directly under the nose and stimulated it. Jinpa instructed the young woman to apply Benediction oil to her chest, heart, middle back, palms and soles of her feet. She then was back in her body, more alert and able to go home to care for her family."
"Jinpa and I worked with a young woman who had been menstrual bleeding non-stop for 4 consecutive months. We decided to give her some acupuncture to help stop the bleeding and regulate the hormones. She was terribly fearful of being needled. We did a few points and then she was too scared to let me needle her ear. We misted her with the Fear-less flower essence spray and after that she was requesting more acupuncture!"
"This is a study that I experienced myself with the Crab Apple Soothing Cream with lavender essential oil (donated by Vivien Williamson of Sun Essences). We set up in the church and saw many of the local community members. I was doing a lot of acupuncture and working with many skin infections and irritations. At the end of the day I felt itchy all over my arms but there was nothing there. It was not mosquito bites or anything visible. I started to believe that it was psychological from treating so many skin irritations on others. I wiped my arms with a moist towelette and rubbed on the 'Soothing creme' and I immediately felt a tingling sensation in my arms where I had put the creme. All I can describe it as is energy radiating up my arms for a few minutes and then the itching was gone. It was nice to have this positive experience with the product that we were using so often on others."
"I absolutely loved the experience of working in Haiti with the clinic and can't wait to be back!" says Michelle.
Aiana joined as our flower essence person, mainly helping giving flower essence to children to treat for post traumatic stress disorder. She had been to Haiti twice before - directly after the earth quake - once with an organisation offering psychological help to traumatised children, and then bringing a plane load full of tent back to the island. She comments "I really liked working with the clinic, as compared to the other initiatives I was part of, it is so effective. Every single penny of donation money is well spent and not wasted. I also had not experienced an effort before that took knowing the Haitian culture as a basis, thus really meeting the Haitians and their needs."
The Miracle Doctors - Love and Compassion in Action
After having come to Haiti for over two years, the clinic is now receiving real feedback for its action. The patients in the places we visited are over their shock due to the flower essence treatment, so they start to really talk about what happened to them. Of the 3,000 people, one-third of them women, only two said that the essential oil mix against vaginal infection did not work. We give out hundreds of bottles at each trip. Instead, they bring family and friends with the same condition to be treated.
The clinic is renowned for its successful treatment of vaginal infections, headaches in connection with high blood pressure, flatulence and indigestion, intestinal worms, and skin rashes and infections, all very common conditions. A lot of the people treated successfully spread the rumour that our essential oil belly rubs are curing ulcer. While we are not sure that the lump in their belly the doctors pronounce as ulcers are not stuck intestinal gas, these are dissolved along with flatulence and acid reflux, so common in Haitian. Clients say that all of this is cured after one day of application of the essential oil mixes, coming back in to thank us.
By now, a lot of clients come back knowing what they want: "I want you to give me the same thing you gave me before for shock for stress. I am no longer in shock, but it helped me sleep, and right now, I can't sleep from stress. It helped so well, please give it to me again."
Our idea of working with local healers is working well. The idea was to complement each others skills. For instance, Jinpa was not able to find a right remedy for a woman about six months pregnant. Nothing seemed quite right. When he asked Oliama, the Haitian midwife for a second opinion, he asked the lady to immediately go to the hospital. Later he explained to Jinpa that he did not have the heart to tell her that the foetus had died in her womb due to her anemia, result of her malnutrition. We had two cases like this. Working with local healers complements the range of treatment we can offer in a way that almost every condition can be treated. The local healers also cured two babies of their hernias with poultices of grated medicinal yucca root.
An old lady without means dragged herself to the clinic, depressed and with insomnia, because the doctors wanted to amputate her foot. Limping, she had had some infected thorns in them that had been removed, but the foot was still cramped and immobile. "People say you can help me, so I made the effort to come." Jinpa needled her, which enabled her to move the toes, because the pain went down. Then we rubbed her legs (we discovered that a quick leg rub with rosemary oil worked very well for the elderly), and then asked her to wait while the team went for their lunch snack. Meanwhile she stood up. When Bernard asked her how she was, she started dancing. "Don't you see? I'm moving! I'm dancing home now!" She returned two days later to say that she had also slept incredibly well.
When we were able to mobilise so many legs and feet of old people, the clinic came to be called "The Miracle Doctors." We still are not sure what is the secret ingredient — the needles, the essential oil, or the fact that we lovingly massage their limbs, often rendering them to tears. "O doctor, no one has ever done this to me before!" It might be the psychological effect, too. When Haitians come to see you for their headache, belly ache, etc., they make sure to clean that part of the body, but not necessarily their dusty feet. When Michelle started to lovingly touch their dirty feet, they were embarrassed and moved that anyone would care to touch their lowest dirty parts without the slightest disgust.
The Political Situation
It required a bit of courage to go on the trip as planned, since there was an attempted coup d'etat of sorts in Port-au-Prince, as well as a shootout between the former military leaders and the government just before the clinic's scheduled arrival. However, things stayed calm for the entire trip, though the day after work was over there was another shootout between the former military leaders and the UN. This, however, did not affect the clinic. It just lent a dramatic flair to the mission.
Haiti remains politically unstable, with a president blocked by a corrupt parliament, and a lot of suspicion as to whether or not he will turn into a dictator in the long run. President Martelli remains popular with the masses, as he likes to go out, pick someone off the street, and give them a brand new motorcycle. The Haitian intelligentia, however, remembers that this is exactly what dictator Duvalier used to do before turning to murderous suppression.
The Radio Interview
A radio reporter from Radio Signal Haiti came to the clinic with his friend, entirely skeptical about the operation. When he saw how his friend's pain subsided and the way we worked, he became very open and interested, inviting Michelle and Jinpa for a radio interview about acupuncture and how alternative healing could benefit Haiti. Jinpa explained some simple treatments, such as using locally available plants to treat anemia, or how to use eucalyptus leaves for colds etc. The interviewer, however, was more interested in exotic and unavailable acupuncture than hearing how the impoverished masses, deprived of medical care, can learn to use the plants in their backyard to heal themselves. The interview was aired last week.
The Vitamin Trees
The three tiny moringa trees that Julia had brought to Haiti last fall have by now grown and are towering higher than seven feet! The clinic kept educating the local people about this "vitamin tree" the leaves of which are richer in vitamins and minerals than any other plant known to man. Moringa grows in Haiti, unfortunately most people do not know how to eat it (raw or cooked!)
Thank you once again for your incredible support!
With special thanks to:
- Swanie Simon for her huge donation of essential oils
- FES for their generous donation of Benediction and Calendula oils and flower essences
- Vivien of Sun Essences for the fabulous cremes and essence combinations
- Lata Kennedy from Flower Power Herb Store
- Kate Gildae of Woodland Essence for the invaluable herb powders
- Michael Friedman of Restorative Medicine for the nutritive powder
- Catherine Wing and partner for the wonderful herb powders and especially the capsule-making party
- Robin Rose Bennett for all the herbal tinctures
- Tony Pinkus of Ainsworth Homeopathics
...and all other donors, great and small.