Abha Light Goes to Democratic Republic of Congo
Dust is what we encountered when Abha Light student, Ringa, and I arrived in Congo (Zaire) in August for a three-week visit. There's only 3 months of dry season in the forested green rolling mountains of eastern Congo and we arrived when the untarmacked rocky roads were nothing but rivers of dust. Soon, we were told, this would all turn to mud once the rains started, but for now, earth-reddened dust was everywhere and in everything.
Cibimbi is a tiny village in Nyangezi district, about 25 km south of Bukavu on the border with Rwanda. Short as the distance is, however, it takes 2 hours to reach it in a lorry winding on the unpaved roads through the mountains. It seems that previous regimes and present government don't give much attention to development in far away eastern Congo. In fact Nairobi, Kenya to the east is closer to Bukavu than Congo's own capital, Kinshasha to the west. So this part of Africa is somewhat behind in development compared to modern Nairobi.
How we came to Cibimbi is through an introduction to a very excellent family there. Some years back my brother-colleague in Ananda Marga, Dada Jinananda, gave me an introduction to his brother who was visiting Nairobi at the time. Since then his brother and his brother's son, Cito, have been my friends.
Cito came to Nairobi a few years back to study at a local university. After his studies, he volunteered with Abha Light for a few months for community development. Inspired, he decided that homeopathy and natural medicine were what the people of Cibimi needed. Cito then organized a programme for us. His father's own community development project "VETO" was our host site.
So in August 2010, Ringa and I travelled 36 hours by bus to Congo. We held marathon classes to a group of 13 village youth in order to train them as homeopathic community health workers. We also held a clinic and saw the villagers.
Julius Ringa is currently a student at Abha Light College. Julius was introduced to homeopathy some years back with a homeopath visiting from Canada (unconnected to ALF) He's been conducting for 5 years free clinics and "first aid" homeopathy in Nairobi with Dr Jim. It was when he wanted to learn more that he joined Abha Light for further training. He's just about to graduate our training later this year. I felt since he was himself previously trained in "first aid" homeopathy, he would be ideal to bring along as co-trainer.
We saw about 120 patients. Most of them came to us suffering diseases that the doctors could no longer help. There were many suffering recurring malaria and the lingering effects of quinine overdosing. Plus there was an abandance of epileptic cases, most of them started in infancy during a bout of fever or malaria.
As to be expected, many were wary of our little white pills, but as patients got cured and word got around, the attitude changed and we were beginning to be flooded by the third week.
Mass distribution of de-wormer for the children
We also decided to do a little promotion in the community. It was announced at the church on Sunday that we would be distributing dewormer to all children who came with their parents. Ringa quickly wrote a little jingle in Swahili: "Oh my tummy hurts! But the doctor told me to wash my hands after toilet and before I eat. I won't put dirty fingers in my mouth. Then I'm going to have a strong tummy with good health." We all then lined up like a chorus line and performed with children's hand gestures for the chidren as they arrived from church.
We mass-distributed the free de-wormer medicines. Over two hundred parents came with their children (over 1000 children) to receive deworming medicines. We lined up the kids in queues and popped little white homeopathic "candies" into their mouths one after another. This was followed by giving the parents tablets and instructions to take home. By the end of the week we were already getting postive reports of its effects.
[For those homeopathically interested: we gave individually to all children a dose of Bacillinum followed by a dose of Sulphur for ringworm on the scalp. The intestinal de-wormer was three large tablets containing a mixture of Mother Tincture of Felix Mas, Teucrium, Chelone and Chenopodium. Parents were instructed to dissolve & succuss this mixture into water and give each of their children a teaspoon dose in the morning, afternoon and evening. That was to then be followed by a dose of Calcarea Carb the next day.]
Training and promotion of homeopathy
Our activities didn't stop there. We visited the midwives' group and gave 15 midwives a short class on the benefits of homeopathy in midwifery. We went to the two clinics in the village and talked with the doctors and nurses there. All showed interest to learn homeopathy. In fact, we signed the 3 doctors and several nurses from the clinics up for the course.
So with our intention to train the village's doctors, nurses, midwives and community health workers, maybe this will be the first fully homeopathic village in Africa by the time we finish our 2 year plan for training!!
Would you like to come with us?
Our plan is to return to Congo every 2-3 months for two weeks training. In between, the homeopathic students will study through distance courses.
Homeopaths are needed and welcome to volunteer with us. French and Swahili are the languages of communication, with a few people speaking English. English speakers can manage with local interpreters. We need the help of volunteers for this new project. So won't you come?
Concerns about security
Although Congo has a history of civil war, that is now over. I found it very peaceful and secure. The village is quiet and the villagers keep their environment very clean. The mountains and rolling hills are forested and the air is very pure. Its a wonderful environment to visit and volunteer.
Visit our volunteering page at www.abhalight.org
for details on how to apply.