A Haitian monk brings home the gift of healing

Venerable Thupten Jinpa, a Haitian-born Tibetan Buddhist monk, was in meditation retreat in France on January 12, 2010, when his caretakers interrupted him with news of the terrible earthquake that devastated his native country.

Ven. Jinpa's first priority was to contact his father and make sure he was all right. This phone call, though heartbreaking, was the first step in an incredible journey of compassion, love and service.

A Haitian monk brings home the gift of healing

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Venerable Thupten Jinpa, a Haitian-born Tibetan Buddhist monk, was in meditation retreat in France when he received the message that his country had fallen to pieces due to the earthquake of January 12, 2010. He slowly found out that his elderly father and other relatives had survived, but phone service to Haiti was unavailable from France.

Three weeks after the earthquake, he finally talked to his father on the phone. Although the 85-year-old man said he was fine, he sounded spaced out and depressed. When Jinpa pressed him to tell him what was really going on with him he confessed:

"I just want to leave the country. It is too hard for me to sleep outside. I do not even have a tent, and the nights are cold. I don't want to complain, because I do not want to be a burden to you. But I am terrified of a new quake, and cannot make myself go under any roof.

"I am so frightened. When the earthquake happened, I was in the shower. I tried to run out, but the shock waves hurled me from one side of the corridor walls to the other, and the doors were opening against me so I could not run out. The front door hit me in my shoulder and I cannot move it since. I also have a backache now and have a tough time walking. Please come to get me out of here!"

So Jinpa decided to fly to Haiti to bring his father to the US with him. He mentioned to a friend how much he would like to spend his time in Haiti helping people while waiting for his father's papers to clear. Julia, an herbalist and naturopath, responded by launching a fund-raising effort for what would become the Naturopathic Relief Clinic for Earthquake Victims. The response was incredible, and thus the project born.

While the clinic is a huge success, Jinpa's father has not yet been allowed to leave the country. At least we treated him for his shock and his injuries and diarrhea, and the mere fact that people came to try and rescue him pulled him out of his depression for a while.

The Tale of an Epidemic

This particular trip to Haiti had quite a dramatic note. With the rapid spreading of the African mosquito-born chikungunya virus in the Caribbean, the clinic was flooded daily with cases of this severe high fever with excruciating body pains, which leaves victims with a feeling of paralysis. Seeing a flood of people as large as on our very first trip right after the earthquake, the clinic treated over 3,000 people. Based on the naturopathic paradigm we are working with, we quickly matched the symptom picture to the right remedies, and people started to recover without the typical lingering symptoms overnight.

On the second day, patients started arriving with this mysterious fever. Some of them collapsed, including babies, and "the fever" was spreading like wildfire. We heard that chikungunya can kill babies and the elderly. A friend of Jinpa's sent the message, "Please send me medicine, I am dying of this fever!" We sent him essential oils of lavender and lemon, along with homeopathic Boneset. He called three hours later "thank you, you saved my life!" The next morning he came over to chat, and we were amazed at the quick recovery without lasting symptoms. Typically, it will take a person three days in bed with one week to two months of body aches, stiffness, and difficulty moving. From this and other cases we learned that we were on the right track.

At first, many of the babies collapsed as they were being treated, because the time it took to find the remedy was too long. It only takes three minutes, but the line of mothers carrying their babies was so long that they could not wait that long. We quickly changed the running order of the clinic, allowing mothers with babies to jump the line and be seen immediately.

Jinpa had the idea to put lavender and lemon oils into an FES mister bottle of Fear combination—there was a lot of fear in the air—and spray the baby that had collapsed on his lap with it. Within a few moments, the baby revived and its eyes, which were rolled upwards and backwards (a sign of imminent death), came back to normal. It also started crying again from the unbearable body pains, which it no longer had the life force to do before. From then on, we kept such a mister bottle at hand to mist the babies first thing to prevent them from collapsing.

Bernard giving water with essential oils to a baby that had collapsed in line while waiting.

The treatments helped prevent all the typical long-term after-effects, such as skin lesions and inability to move. Special thanks to various international homeopathic friends for helping us find the right remedies within a day, especially to Prakash for repertorizing what we had and to Kay for identifying the best essential oils! We used up every last drop of essential oil before the clinic ended, so when Jinpa himself got sick he couldn't treat himself until he returned to New York!

The most effective remedies are essential oils of lavender and lemon, and either homeopathic Eupatorium perf. (mostly with body aches), Aconitum, or Belladonna (mostly with headache), Arsenicum (mostly with vomiting, diarrhea and digestive symptoms). Our impression was that the essential oils stopped the proliferation of the virus, while the homeopathic remedy healed the symptoms, especially that of paralysis.

As mentioned before, our clinic is an accidental large-scale field study on the effectiveness of naturopathic care. The incredible success in treating chikungunya is a testimony of that. We wanted to teach people to chew lemon zest, but lemons have become hard to find and are quite expensive. Since most places we serve are locations we visited on previous trips, we can gauge the effectiveness of the treatment by the number of return visitors. And indeed, 70-80% of patients who bother to wait for their turn in line are indeed return patients.

As usual having great success with pain relief through acupuncture.

This is not just because the clinic is mobile, local, and free. They tell us they return because what we do is extremely efficient, long-lasting, and without side effects. About a quarter of those who have stopped by for their yearly visit say they no longer need to see a doctor. Also, we routinely ask adult if they still have the nightmares, heart palpitations and fear-related sweat episodes so typical for the post-traumatic stress after the earthquake. Most of them say "No, the drops (flower essences) you gave me last time (or the time before last) took care of that." We are ourselves surprised that the effect holds up so long.

And by now we have taught our return patients to eat the leaves of the local moringa trees, the greens with the highest nutritional value of all plant matter known to man. Our trick was to tell them how popular and expensive moringa leaf powder is in New York City, where it's considered a "green superfood." That was enough to motivate our Haitian patients—the thought of eating what only the millionaires of America can afford!

The locals joke that either Jinpa or Bernard (as Haitians) must run in the next Haitian presidential elections, since they do what the late Haitian dictator Papa Doc did to win the elections: heal the impoverished masses!

Heartfelt thanks to all of our sponsors, great and small!

Jinpa, Michelle, Whitney, Bernard, and Julia

With infinite thanks to:

  • Irmtraut Hoffmann
  • Michael Friedman and family of Restorative Medicines
  • Flower Essence Services
  • April Eya of Hahnemann Labs
  • Vivien Williamson of Sun Essences
  • Neil Jacobs and Sandra Kong
  • Ven. Irene Turner
  • Kyle Fischer
  • Antony Cestra
  • Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism
  • Lena and the Tai Sophia Institute of Acupuncture
  • Lata of Flower Power
  • Jao Inc. for the donations of natural hand sanitizers
  • Robin Rose Bennett and her students
  • Kate Gilday of Woodland Essence
  • Ven. Andreas Ansmann
  • Thupten Puntsok and his students
  • Lili Chopra

Thanks also to Sandra Lory and family, Pascale Barthelemy for her help, Rolf Grooten, Robyn Brentano, Laressa Dickey, Martha Navas, Bree Sharp, Paul Conroy, Bradley Grossman, Andrea and Michael Gordon, Kimberley Veenhof, UJM Services, Sarah Hamady, Leza Lowitz, Grace Sullivan, Sarah Heller, Julia Hengst, Rebecca Hall, Glendy Yeung, Michelle Judge, Janine Coover, Matthew Wood, Sarah Tomlinson, Mary Smith, Maria Cutrona, Heather Stevenson, Yee Ming Chiu, Paul Gruen, Richard LaDue, Maryellen Obias, Sue, Linda LaDue, Bonu deCaires, Linda Caufield, Sandra, Terry Richmond, Astrid Prosi Havez, Shirley & Father Green, John & Joanne Stillwell, Trish, Lorraine Thompson, Karla Williams, Andrea Boyd (Jivamukti), Shannon, Leah Kreger, Jaime Schultz, Julie Tutor, Suvi Asch, Ersellia Ferron, the New York meditators, students of the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, Lili's basement, and everyone else who we may have missed.