March and April 2012

Thanks to willing hands the new practice room is being furbished up

New practice rooms in La Paz

Vibrant activity renovating the new practice room

Arrived in La Paz, as always acclimatization, the first tour through the quarter: snuffling, gathering information, picking up the mobile phone for the project, and taking a lot of breaks because we are not quite up to the mark.

We immediately visit the new practice room. It is located in the in the building of the artisans' trade union. The walls need refurbishing, a worn-down parquet floor gives evidence of its former  splendor. One big advantage: The rent is so low that the students can finance it themselves.

The first day of lessons

In a first case study the students are quite successful in choosing the symptoms and their prioritization but they have difficulties translating them into the language of the repertory.

At noon we have group dynamics:

How am I doing in the course?

Where are my weak points, failures and achievements with homeopathy?

Where do I need support?

Each of these questions gets one round. 

On the next day the students give lectures on homeopathic remedies for urinary tract infections. Everybody is well prepared. Erika has a little pocket beamer and Graciela a folding script which she puts on the wall and unfolds during the lecture. It contains smiling and weeping smileys for amel. (= better) and agg. (= worse). A very good lecture!

After some days of slick teaching practice, during which we are chilled to the bone due to the cold days and the missing heating, we have to visit the severely ill sister of one of our students in the hospital. After the last treatment, on some days she managed to be without respirator for 20 hours. Nevertheless, her disease proceeds, and when she says she wants to leave we speak with caution, because the certainty that she will not live much longer is wavering through the room. We hug her tightly. With her sister we take a walk and talk about dying and death.

On the second teaching weekend we dispense 30 important homeopathic remedies in the C30 potency, donated by the company Remedia,  into the colorful bags which an artisan has sewn.

The students are generally ready for treating people so we proceed to action: We can hand out to them their first medical dispensaries for treatments.  Bright eyes all around us.

The next week goes by in a flash with teaching practice and strategy meetings with our Bolivian partner foundation for San Borja.

We have only a few new anamneses and fully concentrate on supervising the students with their follow-ups for which they bring along their patients.

We drive to El Alto to see two patients who can hardly leave the house. Good news: The child we have taken care of for a long time, which has been born with a brain damage, can finally walk!

Farewell to Maria Eugenia

Over Easter, we go on a long-awaited excursion to the Salar de Uyuni, an evaporated inland sea, where we experience Natrium muriaticum (our cooking salt) in pure form, as well as the national park with beautiful lagoons and flamingos, high mountains with volcanos, and impressive forces of nature.

On our way back we receive an SMS telling us that Gaciela’s sister has died and that we are invited to the funeral.

We hurry through town to buy a floral arrangement and then are stuck in a traffic jam with the taxi for an hour because today the physicians block the city center to protest against their intolerable working conditions.

The requiem takes place in a funeral parlor. After the requiem some close relatives sprinkle the coffin with a white carnation dipped into holy water. We are being beckoned from the far back to bless the coffin as well.

We are very touched by this gesture. Maria Eugenia is laid to rest in a white coffin with a viewing window. Behind the coffin there is a Cuban flag - of the country where she felt so much at home during her studies. In front of the people on a little table coca leaves, everything in a gigantic sea of flowers. A beautiful farewell.

Our new project in San Borja in the province El Beni

During this trip a news task is waiting for us:

We will continue the preliminary project in San Borja/Pampas. A new climatic zone, a new culture, completely new experiences.

The next morning we part for San Borja, three persons from the foundation and us two in a Jeep. Due to the climate change and the prolonged rainy season the street is mostly a construction site and adventurous. 

The next day we go to the radio station HOREB which sends news for the indigenous population in the Comunidades. Rosario, a member of the foundation, invites to a workshop about legal aspects and announces us. We get a translation into Tsimane and I can present homeopathy and our project for about half an hour…

All the other experiences we have made there are to be found in the travel report of San Borja/El Beni…

After the return, which was similarly demanding, another teaching weekend is waiting for us, we have a fruitful gathering with the students, and last but not least we get the affirmation of the new Minister for Traditional Medicine for our plans. In the fall he will prolong the training projects in La Paz and San Borja with us for three years. 

Cheerful about our successes we return home…

Anja Kraus and Birgit Lehmann

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