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: Next trip in spring of 2014!

Our Sixth Trip (May 2014)

As spring is unfolding, we are happy to announce the next Haiti clinic trip for May. We will be offering free natural health treatment for another 2,500 people, bringing the total of poor Haitians served by this tiny grassroots operation to a staggering 17,500! As always, we are just a few friends all chipping in together, and whatever anyone contributes goes a long way. And as always, we will add a new location to our mobile clinic.

Spring is coming, time to heal oneself.
Healing oneself is healing thousands,
healing thousands is healing oneself.
Once again, let's bring one seed of donation
To the field of serving Haitian children, pregnant women, and elders.

            — Thupten Jinpa

Studying Haitian herbs with Oliama

In the meantime, Oliama, one of our local master herbalist, bonesetter and midwives passed away from the complications of long-term malnutrition at the age of 52. This illustrates the reality of poverty in Haiti. With the help of some of you, we were able to raise money for his funeral, as well as to keep his young children in school and fed for a while (see our complete homage and memorandum for Oliama Derivière). He will be sorely missed by us and by the patients. (below - studying Haitian herbs with Oliama)

Feedback from the Patients

People are already gathering around Jinpa's father's yard, asking "When will they be back?!? I'm out of my drops / creme / herbs!" The general feedback over the years has been that being treated naturopathically at the clinic saves them from having to go to a doctor or hospital frequently, which is both very expensive and riddled with unwanted side effects. People are amazed how efficient natural cures are, and that there are no side effects. Many people say that they used to have to go to the doctor all the time, where they'd get antibiotics etc., and be sick again and again. Since they discovered our clinic, all they have to do is come back to see us for a check up and some little thing once a year, and other than that, they do not need biomedical care any more. Thus, our clinic is an unintended large scale field study of naturopathy versus biomedicine in an underdeveloped country—a strong testimony!

Direct Recycling

Thanks to Bernard, we are by now able to recycle a high percentage of the glass and plastic bottles we give out to people. How is that possible? Usually, people gather in the mornings the moment we set up the clinic. Bernard has been telling the crowd many times now “What costs us the most is to buy the empty bottles for the medicine preparations we give you. If you keep them and bring them back, it saves us money that we can then use to buy more medicine to give you.” By now, most people are return patients, and most live within the radius of wherever our mobile clinic is that day. We give out numbers to the people in line, and usually over 70 number cards are gone before we are even ready to see the first person. So people feel safe that they will not lose their place in line if they go home to fetch the bottle. By now, when Bernard makes his announcement, there is an excited scurry as people hurry off to bring back their empty containers. And we save a lot of money, and there’s less garbage in Haiti, too.

Please Help to Fund the Clinic

Every dollar goes a long way. We estimate that because all the work by the non-Haitian crew is volunteered, $3 USD provides each patient with a complete comprehensive treatment that includes natural remedies for their physical and emotional needs, acupuncture, cupping, massage, and / or bonesetting as required.

Please help with a donation »