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.

Update: We are planning our 7th trip for May 2015!

An Unscheduled Visit

Dear Friends,

On the occasion of Jackie's/Jinpa's father's sudden and peaceful passing two weeks ago, we had the possibility to already send some of the donated essential oils to Haiti. When Jackie reached Port-au-Prince, hundreds of people came by the house crying, because they thought that his father's death meant the end of the Haiti Clinic. This was a very heart-warming occasion for us—in the heat of the moment, there is often more shoving and bickering in line at the clinic, than people pouring out their gratitude.

So at this time, people were expressing just how much they have appreciated the clinic. Also, at least half of the neighborhood patients—about 200 people—came to the family house to pay their respects to Jackie's late father, who had always hosted and helped organise the clinic, as well been one of our lone outposts when we where gone. So many people said how he had helped them by giving them medicine which we had left with him while we where gone—uch as Gabrielle's famous Andrographis pills from Thailand! It was also the time to hear many success stories of healing that we had not heard before.

Here are some of the highlights:

We always hold the clinic at Jackie's father's house on several days. So we have treated the entire neighborhood there for almost five years now, including a large tent camp of people rendered homeless by the earthquake. People were saying how much they love and appreciate the clinic, because not only does what we give them works (they recover!), but it keeps them in good health thereafter. Some of the parents told us "while we bring our children to you, and they get better and stay strong and healthy thereafter, the other parents bring theirs to a doctor (where they receive non-naturopathic care). Those children get sick again and again, and the parents have to bring them back to the doctor/emergency room again and again—they are just in and out of the doctor's office or hospital all the time!"

We typically give mothers of young children a vial of homeopathic chamomile to give to the little ones for all ills such as teething, diarrhea, fevers, coughs and colds, etc. These mothers told us "Our children just are so strong and healthy. These little sugar pills are all they need now. The other mothers are still taking their children in and out of the doctor's all the time!"

The warden of the tent camp told us that all of the people we had given Arnica to last spring for exhaustion related to self-diagnosed "anemia" had recovered. (Thanks again to the generous donation by April Eya of Hahnemann Labs!) Not only had they recovered their physical strength, but actually started to put on weight! Not a desirable outcome in our countries, but a very positive result in a starving population.

Of course none of us homeopaths have ever heard of Arnica curing anemia. So what happened? The Haitian folk diagnosis of "anemia" means looking pale, feeling weak and cold, and having weak, rubbery nails and hair loss. So it is closer to the traditional diagnosis of "poor/deficient blood" than that of a lack of red blood cells per se. Arnica of course treats exhaustion, as well as having a profound action on the blood. It seems that in a starving population, it can help recover from blood deficiency too.

Another surprising feedback—not the first time we heard this, so finally we are really paying attention—is digestive essential oils having cured "hernia". This folk/self-diagnosis means there is something painfully bulging out of your belly which is somewhat movable and soft, yielding to pressure, mostly in the groin, or for women just below the navel. This sounds very much like the biomedical idea of a hernia. I think we have ignored the feedback thus far, because none of us has ever heard of a hernia being cured by essential oils! We do not keep client records (there is just no time and staff for this), and our "digestive aid" mix varies depending on what we have, or have not yet run out of. Generally, it contains some or all of the essential oils of rosemary, fennel, thyme, and peppermint. A total of about 10 drops of those in about 30 ml of a vegetable oil is given, with the instruction to apply it on the belly twice a day "when you are getting in and out of your clothes", as well as before and after eating. The repeated feedback we are receiving is that this entirely cures the "hernia". In some of these cases, the hernia was even diagnosed as such by a medical doctor.

So how would this be explained? The chosen essential oils not only improve digestion in a variety of ways, they are also antiseptic. Not many people realise that other gut conditions such as hemorrhoids can be due to pathogens irritating the gut lining—another condition where parts of the gut lining protrudes. I am wondering if the effect is due to these essential oils reducing the sheer amount of pathogens enough for the gut to calm down, return to its natural dwelling place in the abdominal cavity, giving the abdominal wall a chance to heal over the weak spot it broke through. We hear that the person heals before their bottle is empty, and they send it to other friends or relatives in some other place in Haiti who also have "hernia", and they, too, get cured! So the bottle just keeps traveling, bestowing its healing magic, until empty.

There have been several cases of women with unexplained strong pains in the womb in pregnancy, undiagnosable and untreatable by biomedicine, and who were told hey might loose the child. Whatever we gave them (such as homeopathic Sepia and acupuncture for instance), it cured the pain on the spot, and the women gave birth to healthy, happy babies. One of the mothers whom we helped in this way in the spring approached Jackie, asking him to hold her baby. This is a custom done to thank the person who helped save the child's life, and regarded as a blessing. She like other patients of our free clinic insisted on helping with the funeral preparations and ceremonies in order to repay the kindness.

The Chikungunya epidemic seems to have abated some, possibly because most people have had it by now and have built up natural immunity. We were also asking people if they go more to the local herbalist now (another one than the clinic's late Oliama). We were surprised about the answer—people said they did not like going to the local traditional herbalist "because his methods and herbs are rougher." This is a nice testimony to the naturopathic care we are offering being part of medicine douce as it is called in France, or "gentle medicine". Homeopathy is reputed for its gentleness in action if well applied.

With love,

Jackie/Jinpa, Julia, Michelle, and Bernard