How did the educational project start in Bolivia ?

Friendship and dreams evolve into a project request

It has been my dream to travel to South America since I was young. In 2007 it became true. I was invited to travel to Bolivia to bring with me my knowledge and practical homeopathic skills to a community of the indigenous people. On a series of lectures through Germany I had met a delegate of the indigenous people of Bolivia. She was the ambassador of a union that joined 27 different indigenous tribes. Most of them are Aymara und Quechua (descendants of the Inca).The other tribes, especially in the Amazon area, have nearly all been exterminated.

She reported about the social movements of the indigenous people that have successfully defended their rights against the plans for privatisation of gas and water resources. Water and gas are products from to earth mother and holy to the Aymara people. Commercial exploitation of these resources is a sacrilege to the Aymara. At the same time their health and whole existence is endangered by the privatisations. She described their living space, the Altiplano which lies in 4000m above sea level. In spite of being close to the equator, it is a dry and very cold area especially in the winter time. A lot of the spring water and rivers have been poisoned by tin mines. Drinking water is also scarce due to climate change and the melting glaciers.

I gave her a little brochure in different languages made by the Gudjons pharmacy to take home when she left for Bolivia. The brochure described the mechanism and effects of Homeopathy. It was the beginning of it all.

On her next trip to Germany we had a long discussion on the lack of medical care of the people. We talked about alternative and traditional healing methods as well as the similarities between traditional treatments and Homeopathy. A family that needs treatment in hospital often runs into enormous debts, because the cost of a treatment can amount up to an annual salary. I told her about the organisation “Homeopaths without borders” (HOG) and we decided to introduce different neighbourhood action groups of El Alto and La Paz to the HOG.

To further realise this idea, I stayed with a host family in La Paz in 2007. I started out treating patients with Homeopathy in two parts of the city and in the children’s ward of a jail. That inspired the action groups to make a request for a project with HOG in the following.

There were some difficulties in the process of the project: the indigenous preferred an interchange of cultures and an exchange of healing methods in spite of the bitter taste of normal development aid. Unfortunately this couldn’t be realised due to the structures of the HOG project: The students on site are always the same ones while the German volunteers alternate. So we - the volunteers – were not able to take part in an education in traditional indigenous medicine. That caused some upset for some of the people there.

After another two exploration journey, discussions about commitment, intercultural misunderstandings and the search for a solution, we managed to sign an educational agreement with the Ministry of Traditional Healing Practices in 10/2009. We also signed a contract for Co-operation with the Bolivian Arts and Crafts Association.

We received an official permission to apply Homeopathy in an educational practice and to teach a group of students – for us an incredible success.

The number of enrolled students grew fast in the beginning. However, in the following months there was a lot of fluctuation among the students. But then it became obvious who was sincerely interested and had the capacity to learn Homeopathy. Now it is a joy to instruct and teach these students.

Anja Kraus, Project Manager

„Classical homeopathy suits indigenous comprehension. We are therefore happy about the great interest in homeopathic medicine among the Bolivian population.”

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Country information

 

Area:

1,098,581 km2

Population:

10 Mio

Population density:

9.7 inhabitants/km2

Official language:

Spanish and 36 indigenous languages

Life expectancy women:

67 years

Life expectancy men:

64 years