Planning a project in the Amazon rainforest

After the organisation HOG had received an invitation from two communities les « Comunidades », we (the collaborators of HOG) travelled in the rainforest area in August 2012.…  

in order to present homeopathy to the Achuar and Shuar and to get an idea about their request for a future training project.

Our homeopathic introduction attracted wide interest and we also learned a lot about the indigenous healing methods. We were impressed by their knowledge of medical plants as well as the great variety of medical plants in the rainforest.

During some field trips we were able to see the variety offered by the rainforest, which in this area is a real old-growth forest not affected by the last glacial period. We were especially impressed by the different plants healing injuries, some of them highly toxic. The ‘croton lechleri’ produces the dark-red ‘dragon’s blood’ from the incision of a machete. This is one of the most important remedies healing injuries, well-known to everybody in the rainforest.

But the indigenous more and more suffer from more complicated diseases which they can’t heal themselves anymore. Furthermore the knowledge about their traditional healing methods is dwindling away since it is being passed on only superficially. Therefore they asked us to support their ‘comunidades’ by improving their therapeutic alternatives and the health system, which makes them more independent.

Homeopathy could become a major part of the health system, and basic training could offer a first step into this system for many interested Achuar and Shuar.

There is a special geographic situation. Many indigenous peoples refuse road construction in order to protect the rainforest from increasing penetration by external influences (exploitation of natural resources by big companies as well as the destruction of the rainforest and thereby the indigenous culture). The climatic conditions and the search for an appropriate site which can be reached by a maximum of students from various regions; due to all these conditions the future project requires precise planning and a lot of preliminary work.

Another challenge is the unequal qualification of the future students of homeopathy. Interested are indigenous from the rainforest with or without medical training as well as medical staff from a hospital in the Sierra, the highlands of Ecuador. Fortunately, the hospital works naturopathically, thus the exchange of naturopathic knowledge between these two groups and the installation of networks seem possible.

Of course, we have to create a special syllabus for this specific situation coping with the unequal qualifications of the students. Not an easy task but we can benefit from the experience of similar projects.

Supporting the local population to create an independent health system is not only the self-help approach by homeopathy but also a means of supporting their own cultural treasure since we support the guardians of the rainforest.

Marion Böhm und Christine Lauterbach

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Ecuador Info

Fläche 283.561 km²

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