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Homeopathy for Health in Africa

September 12, 2018

Dear Family and Friends,

I am starting Week 7 of my 10 weeks stay in Tanzania and the time is flying by.  The two-week safari with my dear friends from home was fantastic. We had so many close encounters with animals-elephants nursing their babies, cheetahs atop a termite mound, lions perched on high cliffs overlooking the plains in Simba mode, a large troop of baboons with their babies, a leopard surveying the bush for prey and then walking right in front of our vehicle displaying its beauty and grace. So many other sightings of animals and birds thanks to our excellent and knowledgeable guide, Jonas Nzuna from TanSafari Tours.  My family traveled with Jonas last year, so we knew already that we would get only the best experiences on his safari and that was true. We all highly recommend him. If you are interested in a safari, be sure to talk to me about him! 

An unusual part of our safari was a visit to the Hadzabe Bushmen tribe in Lake Eyasi, hunter/gatherers living as they did 10,000 years ago. With the help of the local guide, Alex Puwale, we had the experience of a lifetime, interacting with them, singing, dancing, sharing their freshly barbecued kill (baboon—not for veggies) which they strung out to dry like jerky, playing with the children, sitting with the women. The regional chief was charming—yes! Charming!—talking to us in his dialect and acting out a hunting scenario complete with gestures, bird and monkey sounds, clicks (they have clicked in their language) and animated movements. He was a top-notch actor/mime/communicator and we got the full story without understanding a word.   When we asked Jonas later what the Hadzabe thought of us, he said they feel sorry for us because we don’t live the way that they do, close to the land and nature and without care for money or material things.

The final stop on our safari was to a Maasai village, which was off the beaten tourist track and had never had a group of white tourists (mzungus) visit them. They were welcoming of us into one of their huts, where Jonas gave us an in-depth talk on the culture and activities of the Maasai.

After resting for a few days at the hotel, attending a children’s clinic with me, and watching in vain for Kili to appear out of the clouds, my friends left and I returned to volunteering at Homeopathy for Health in Africa.  One day several of us went to a residential primary school for 200 disabled children, run by an order of Roman Catholic Tanzanian nuns.  Almost half of the children are albinos, who suffer a difficult life, physically and socially. Albinism in East Africa is both a stigma and an attraction. They are shunned and harassed socially and in the workplace but also are seen as good luck charms. The myth exists that possessing body parts will bring financial, family and business success.  Body parts—fingers, toes, etc. which means that many children are kidnapped or sold by their families and subjected to horrific trauma. The children at the school often arrive in the dead of night to protect them and come with serious PTSD symptoms from unknown and unspeakable traumas.

One of the children, a 6-year-old, has been at the school for a year, but during that time has not spoken, written, or interacted with the loving teachers and caretakers. Even stroking his face elicits no response, only manually turning his head brings his face in alignment with the teachers. We could only speculate what had brought him to this state. It seemed in the face of trauma as if he had shut down on all sensory and communicative levels and disappeared deep within where nothing could hurt him.  We gave him a remedy that would help him to reemerge in a less fearful way.  Other children came with mostly physical symptoms typical of albinism, primarily skin ulcers and lesions. Albinos have a high incidence of squamous cell cancer and many of the children had black, crusty lesions on the head and arms, areas that are most often exposed to the sun. They also have extreme photophobia since there is no melanin in their retinas, resulting in partial blindness and nystagmus—shifting of eyes back and forth trying to make coherence of the images they see.  Of course, this impacts their learning.  The regular volunteer homeopaths who have treated these children for years have selected some default remedies that are helpful when nothing else seems indicated, Ozone and Sol. Otherwise, we treated individually and gave a range of remedies including Tuberculinum, Neon, Calc phos, and others.

Today at the HHA Centre in Moshi I was able to see a follow-up of a patient I had seen a month ago with our resident Tanzanian homeopath, Patience.  The patient had been recently diagnosed as HIV positive, with no need for antiretroviral medication since her CD4 count was still at a healthy level.  She was interested in strengthening her immune system as much as possible in the months ahead.  She came to us based on her sister in law’s recommendation, who is on ARVs and has been doing well with homeopathic treatment for her energy and the medication side effects.  It was satisfying to hear this patent report a 40% increase in energy, disappearance of the numbness of her arm and hand and a significant reduction in body itching. She is a boss in a financial consulting firm and had come across as very intense, strong-willed and opinionated but after this month of treatment, she seemed more relaxed and softer in her presentation. For the homeopaths reading this, the remedy was Ferrum met.

I’ve almost brought you up to date now, except for my tutoring days with our close to graduation Tanzanian homeopathy students, Anitha and Elisia. They need to take an exam in Pathophysiology, so I am teaching them and helping them prep for the exam, which is the 2nd to the last exam they need to take to be qualified homeopaths.  It is a major goal of ours to teach and support Tanzanian homeopaths who can be resident homeopaths. Right now we have two experienced Tanzanian homeopaths who are regularly at the Moshi Centre. The graduation of Anitha and Elisia will bring two more to our team. They already work as translators and are valuable in our work with patients.

Celebrating Anitha’s birthday with Elisia, Jane, and Rebecca

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I hope you can see why I am so enthusiastic about working at HHA with the great satisfaction of helping others. Next time I’ll tell you about the lovely, welcoming and friendly Tanzanians whom I’ve met during my stay and in my travels.