The most recent mission to Honduras in November 2015, was very different from the previous missions, where we would hold homeopathic consultations in the Clinica in Valle de Angeles and reinforce the work of our Honduran counterparts in that area through training and logistical support.
On this recent mission, we spent a week each in two outlaying communities, where we set up dispensaries, trained local leaders and health workers in the use of first line homeopathy and provided treatment to a large number of the population.
The first community, Teupasenti, is in the department El Paraiso, bordering with Nicaragua. Teupasenti is a small community and the center of some 40 “aldeas” which are spread over the surrounding mountains contributing tremendously to the population of this seemingly small community of Teupasenti. Although the aldeas each have their own name, their administration falls under Teupasenti where the town hall and municipal services are located. This type of governance is seen throughout Honduras. The mayor of Teupasenti had indicated during a previous visit that he was very interested in being one of four pilot communities where HTSF would make homeopathy accessible to the population by setting up a homeopathic dispensary and provide training in its use.
The first step in meeting with the leaders of the community was to choose a location for the dispensary. Teupasenti had chosen for the Red Cross building, where a small room was made available to set up the remedies. In all some 130 homeopathic remedies were installed: complexes, single remedies and cell salts. The cell salts we brought with us from Canada: they were an important donation from B. Jain. During the week we spent in the community, we used the whole red cross building to be able to do consultations. The large entry hall became the waiting area and two other offices became consultation rooms. Local volunteers who had received training in HTSF first line homeopathy from MICH graduate Norbita Medina, helped out with preparation of the remedies and their distribution to the patients with instructions for their use.
This was the first mission where we had a dedicated person for preparation of remedies, Carolyne Brunel. She is not a homeopath or practitioner, but she is someone who wanted the experience of a mission and had sufficient Spanish to be a useful addition to the homeopaths in the team. It was wonderful for the homeopaths to be able to focus on the consultations and making of prescriptions, while someone else took over from there and oversaw the preparation of remedies. The HTSF missions can be a great opportunity for someone who wants this kind of experience where there is ample opportunity to improve one’s Spanish.
The mission in Teupasenti was a great success, which was confirmed two weeks after the mission had left when Norbita and mission leader Carla Marcelis returned to Teupasenti and found that the main coordinator of the dispensary, Maritza, had already given treatment to some 40 people in that short a time period. As well, patients who had received treatment came to greet us and tell us how well they were doing since the treatment. It was a very heartwarming experience.
The second community we stayed in is called La Florida and is an aldea of the municipality of Opatoro. This community is situated in the mountains and is part of the department La Paz on the border with El Salvador. It is smaller still then Teupasenti and is more isolated as it takes almost six hours from the capital Tegucigalpa to get there, while traveling mostly on a very bad road. In La Florida it was decided that the best location for the dispensary was the community hall behind the church. A closed cupboard was moved in there for setting up the remedies and two areas were closed of for consultations during our week’s visit. Again we had the help of fantastic local volunteers for preparation of remedies as well as translation of the consultations. The homeopaths, Lise Raymond, Connie Tyrrell, Carla Marcelis and Yolanda Salgado who accompanied us from Valle De Angeles, with homeopathic intern, Christiane Magee, consulted with a total of 285 patients in the two communities. Our top day was in La Florida where on one day we saw 45 people. This would never have been possible hadn’t it been for the tremendous help of Norma, Carolina and Rolando who gave themselves and their time fully in this week.
In both communities, we would see patients from the local area, living nearby the dispensary as well as people who would walk on hour or more from the surrounding aldeas in order to have a homeopathic consultation. Even more so, people would come from surrounding aldeas to receive the first line the training and make a first aid kit to bring back to their aldea. In all about 150 people received the first line homeopathy training. It would be interesting on a future visit to find out to what extent those trained feel comfortable in using these first aid kits.
As we reflect back on this mission and think about what we learned, we realize again how many benefits these missions have for both Hondurans and the Canadians who particpate. The Hondurans freely express their enthusiasm over having access to this safe, ecological and affordable healing modality, their desire to learn more and eventually become autonomous in its use. While we were there, we received requests to bring the same project to other communities, such is the interest in homeopathy. One aspect of homeopathy that especially interests the Hondurans is its capacity to act preventively for infectious diseases. As a large part of the health concerns in Honduras relate to various infectious diseases and epidemics, such as Dengue, Malaria, Chagas, the work of HTSF in these area is of particular interest to them.
After every return from a mission I am more grateful for the experience. I am so appreciative of the continuous kindness and welcome we receive from the Hondurans and the pleasant atmosphere in which we do our work. It fills me not only with a rich professional experience that builds my confidence as a homeopath, but also makes me realize the essential human aspect of our work, where through offering our simple service we receive back such kindness that fills our hearts for a long time to come. In a place like La Florida, where there is no internet and even the phone signal is not dependable, people spend their time relating to one another. Especially in this community, where supporting your neighbours is a high value and where the children thrive and are trusting and happy. Outside the school hours, the children play together on the playground. The adolescents hang out on the plaza listening to music. There always is a soccer game on the way for you to join. Life is about the people who surround you and about finding ways to make it better for everyone. To be reminded of these essentials of life, is an important lesson to take away from our time in Honduras.
Our next missions are planned for:
Mar 18-Apr 2, 2017
For these missions, we’re inviting Ontario and Quebec homeopaths to join us for training that applies to HTSF projects as well as clinical experience. For more information about how to join us on our next mission, contact us for more information.
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Carla Marcelis, ND, DHom
Carla brings dedication, passion and expertise as mission leader to the MICH Honduras Clinic and to her role as Director and teacher at the Montreal Institute of Classical Homeopathy. Visit her webpage to learn more about her and to read all of her blog posts.