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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Read about our clinic in the newsletter for the Flower Essence Society

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.

A Fragrant Clinic

Time has come again to raise funds for our naturopathic clinic, which has offered free treatment to 18,000 impoverished Haitians since the catastrophic earthquake to date. All poised for the next trip in May to treat another 3,000, this year will be a special year in that we will have a fragrant clinic!

After Julia gave a presentation about the clinic at Botanica Aromatherapy conference in Dublin, we received a large amount of essential oil donations. Wafts of aromatic scents have always hung over the clinic, but this year will turn out to be truly fragrant! Thus far, we have always had limited supplies of the precious oils, running out of each of them in turn as the clinic trip progressed. Essential oils along with homeopathics have been our saviors in the two epidemics, cholera and chikungunya (thankfully both of them not very active at the moment). This time, we have enough essential oils that we should make it all the way through without running out! Thank you to the very long list of distillers, suppliers, and aromatherapists (see below) for making that happen!

Also unusual is the many different countries which contributed, and we are especially touched to have received some rare and expensive oils which were donated from poorer countries to a terribly poor Haiti, or from very small distillers at a high cost. We will make sure to convey your good wishes and love to the Haitian people!

This year we are mainly raising funds to buy vegetable oil and inexpensive small plastic bottles in Haiti, so we can give patients their own essential oil blends to take home. Essential oils have been a huge part of the clinic from the beginning, as they have been our all-around anti-germ remedies in such a dirt-ridden environment. One oil blend bottle can travel from village to village, spreading its healing magic...

Spreading Healing Magic

As we said in a previous update, our clinic is a kind of accidental large-scale field study of the effectiveness of natural medicine versus conventional medicine. When Jinpa was in Haiti in November for his father's funeral, he was greeted with an outpouring of success stories. A flood of people pleaded with him and Bernard, "Please do not stop coming!" (they knew that the clinic started in order to rescue their father after the earthquake). "We need you—the clinic is so helpful. Since we are receiving your (naturopathic) medicine, we are so much more healthy that we no longer need to go the doctor!"

Since we return to the same areas at each trip, by now about 40% of the people are just coming back to the clinic to receive a refill of their remedy (just in case!) and maybe for a health check-up. People report that they no longer have the high fevers and diarrhea they used to encounter, and no longer require antibiotics (perceived as expensive and of little use). For instance, one lady had to travel the Dominican Republic on a regular basis to receive special antibiotic shots to keep her respiratory troubles in check. Since we gave her the usual respiratory blend of essential oils to apply to her chest, she never had to return.

We hear from people who put their leftover natural remedies to creative use. For instance, there may be a bit left of their essential oil blend for a cough—which we hear they will later rub on their belly for a stomachache, with success, and then later on their foot for circulatory problems, with equal success. Because these are natural remedies and not pharmaceuticals, this actually works and is not dangerous. Our cough blend typically contains pine, eucalyptus, and thyme—equally useful for the other problems mentioned.

We also heard from a lady in Port-au-Prince who received a blend of essential oils for digestive trouble with acid reflux. We usually give a blend containing fennel, thyme, and rosemary for such problems, since in Haiti the typical digestive culprit is parasitic overgrowths. After she was healed she saved the rest of her 1-oz bottle and later sent it to her friend on the other side of the island (Jeremy). This friend had the same digestive trouble, and was also healed. He in turn sent the bottle to another friend in yet another corner of the island (Jacmel) who had similar stomach trouble—so one small bottle of essential oils (about 1% concentration) healed three people all over Haiti!

We hear many inspiring stories like this one, which make us love natural medicine even more, since this sharing of medicine is not dangerous. It also builds on the remaining local tradition of using aromatic plants for healing. And since humans have used aromatic plants for healing since the dawn of time, we feel that they intuitively grasp how to use them. It also shows how people—in the absence of a biomedical healthcare system—can be empowered to take care of their own health just by using common sense. We have many similar stories for homeopathic remedies.

Please Help Fund the Clinic

Every dollar goes a long way in this beautiful experiment. We estimate that because the non-Haitian crew is entirely volunteer, $3 USD provides each patient with a complete comprehensive treatment that includes natural remedies for their physical and emotional needs, acupuncture, nutritional supplements, cupping, massage, and/or bonesetting as required.

PLEASE DONATE

We're ready to go! Let's make it happen again.

Lastly, we will greatly miss Jinpa’s and Bernard’s father when the clinic takes place at his house again. We will think of this trip as the Jacques Guiteau Memorial Clinic, dedicated to him and all the good he did by giving out natural remedies to the people of the neighborhood in our absence. The passing of this joyous elder will be felt sorely by all of us.

With special fragrant thanks to:

  • Dawn Chan, Beyond Aromatherapy, Hong Kong and her friends
  • Wendy Belcourt of Ecole Internationale de Bien-Etre Toulouse and their students
  • Jonathan Hinde of Oshadhi UK
  • Madeleine Knapp-Hayes of Levensboom NL
  • Ann Harman of Circle H Institute
  • Atanas Krachmarov of Ecomaat Bulgaria
  • Cary Caster of 21 Drops
  • Gabriel Mojay
  • Pierre Olanier of Le Comptoir Aroma
  • Isabelle Roux - La Dame au Grand Cru de Ravintsara
  • Amanda Lo from Hong Kong
  • Eliane Zimmermann and her students
  • Eva of Oshadhi Spain
  • The vendors at Botanica
  • Guilherme Oberlander of Tunupa Brazil
  • Joe Nasr of Avicenna
  • Terra Flor Aromaterapia Brazil
  • Penny Price
  • Clare Licher of PhiBee Aromatics
  • Fionna, Jana Eitner, Mara Dojalik
  • Florihana for extending a discount for the oils
  • Michael Friedman and family of Restorative Medicines
  • Irmtraut Hoffmann

Thanks also to Amy Chan, Bink Mak, Bobby Chow, Fonnie.com (representing Fonnie, Winky, Dorcas Yu, Krous, Cindy, Chiu Ka Po, Patricia Wong, Helen, Clara and Ada Lai), RositaCares Clinical Aromatherapy and Nursing Services, Sarah Chan, and Wynnie Ng.