We are happy to announce that the next Haiti clinic trip is brewing for May, 2013. The crew is gathered, and we will be offering free natural health treatment for another 3,000 people, bringing the total of the people served by this tiny grassroots operation to a staggering 15,000! As always, we are just a few friends all chipping in together, and whatever anyone contributes goes a long way.
A Table and Two Chairs = A Clinic
We continue to be surprised at just how successful the makeshift clinic has been on all levels — in raising the funds and means to treat 12,000 people to date, as well as to leave such a local impact that we are sorely missed. Jinpa’s father tells us that people knock on his gates every day, pleading “Tell the doctors not to stay away too long! We really need them here!” Let’s make it happen again!
The Misery is Rising
While the political situation in Haiti is “stably unstable”, the economic situation is progressively getting worse. This island state, listed as one of the poorest countries of the world even before the catastrophe hit, lately saw massive street riots. The destitute were protesting against the fact that all government projects are given to US enterprises, thus funneling the tax revenues outside of the country and leaving the locals unemployed. In a country in which corruption and embezzlement are the norm, this does not go down well with the populace.
The latest example of economic colonialism: a gorgeous tropical island rich in natural resources, now almost entirely dependent on food imported from the US, because — well — because the US wanted to take over the tiny neighbor economically. The devastating earthquake laid the groundwork (so to speak) by destroying whatever local infrastructure and shaky economic independence Haiti still had. This is certainly true for the urban population of Port-au-Prince, hit hardest by the earthquake. Still in shacks and tent camps, with skyrocketing food prices (they were already higher than in the US a year ago!), the malnutrition and poverty keeps getting worse. In plain terms: The destitute population of the still largely-destroyed Port-au-Prince, capital of one of the world’s poorest countries, and mostly unemployed since the catastrophe, have no alternative but to buy imported US food at prices much higher than in the US. As a result, hunger is rampant.
Oliama, the cherished local bone setter and herbalist of our crew, a very poor ghetto dweller, fell ill about two months ago and is also one of those who cannot afford health care or find enough food to eat. We just sent him some relief money. One of the locals warned us “You should expect three times as many patients flocking to the clinic as before, because so many more people have lost access to the bare necessities.” Since this would amount to being stampeded (no joke, we have gotten overrun by the desperate crowd in the past!), we are budgeting extra money to pay “crowd control helpers”, and we hope to return to the same locations more often to serve those in need.
The Fame is Spreading
Jinpa’s brother Bernard was recently in a restaurant in Miami, Florida,where he met a Haitian business man who praised this incredible Buddhist monk who runs a free naturopathic clinic and gives incredible interviews on Haitian radio. He said that once he’s back in Haiti, he will do anything to find him there. Bernard surprised him by saying “Oh, that’s my brother!”. This is how we found out that Michelle and Jinpa’s radio interviews were so successful that they became the talk of Port-au-Prince as well as the Haitian diaspora in Florida. Bernard warned us, “People will flock to you once you’re back there!” Maybe so — we are already enlisted for further radio interviews by two radio stations!
What We Need
As usual, we need whatever herbs, essential oils, or other natural remedies you might be able to offer. We also need cash donations to pay the desperate local crew, most of whom are entirely out of work when we are not there — because there is simply no employment in Haiti. This is even true of people with high qualifications. For example Claudia, one of our translators, is a qualified English/French/Creole translator, a highly desirable qualification, and she cannot find work. She offers her services to the clinic at a low rate, inspired by our work and out of gratitude for our having healed her.
We need cash donations to pay for the petrol to go around in the jeep, to pay the local crew, as well as offer them a meal. This may be hard to imagine, but the locals come to work on an empty stomach. We start at 6 am and work without real break until 4 pm. The foreign crew members bring their own energy bars so they can eat something non-contaminated for a quick lunch pause. It feels awful to have the Haitians just sit there and watch, while they have nothing to drink nor eat, nor money in their pockets to go and buy something. Unless we feed them, they will go hungry until the evening, when they take their pay home to feed the large family.
Please Help Fund the Clinic
Every dollar goes a long way. Because all work by the non-Haitian crew is done on a volunteer basis, we estimate that $3 provides each patient with a complete comprehensive treatment that includes natural remedies for their physical and emotional needs, acupuncture, cupping, massage, and/or bone-setting as required.