The Third Course

First patients in the training practice

This is our third trip to Puyo, this time we visit the Canton Santa Clara, only a one-hour trip by bus. At the riverside, the village has a little paradise including a swimming area, a sports field, a bar, a restaurant and some cabins for guests. So we sleep surrounded only by the forest, crickets, rampaging monkeys and the thunderous river.

In the village we visit the elementary school. At the age of four the children attend kindergarten, then elementary school for six years. In bigger villages they can attend „colegio“ (high school) for six years. After graduation they can study at the universities, but usually they lack funds for prep classes at restricted admission or for relocation.

The „subcentro“ (medical center) offers first aid, general medicine, obstetrics, vaccinations and dentistry. If available, patients get their medicine there for free. For further examination they have to go to hospitals in Puyo or Quito. Laboratory tests or x-ray are available for cash only.

For our third „taller“ (course) many indigenous turned up from different villages. Again five oft he seven tribes of the province of Pastaza are represented. We meet in a wonderful open-air classrom at a roofed patio, our cook provides the class with lunch.

Many indigenous live in two very different worlds – in the rainforest and in the city. The changes of living conditions as well as climate change and environmental pollution cause health problems and diseases, which are not easy to deal with. Neither the traditional medicine of the indigenous nor the western medicine can help. The „dirigentas de salud“ (responsible of health in the villages) are grateful for new ways of treatment by homeopathy.

The participants can report on successful use of the known remedies. This time we teach four new remedies. All student listen prick-eared and try to present the remedies as a theatre and to portrait ad-lib anamneses. Some of these case histories are conducted in their tribal languages, Shiwiar or Kichwa. In the training practice we all discuss which remedy the patient needs. Luckily, we agree.

At the „intercambio“ (exchange) the natives present their medical plants and their use: hoja de spiritu santu, ortiga, planta de vitiligo, nashid, gingibre, uña de gato or caraña. There are several questions or additional information from other tribes. The participants can find these plants in the garden of our open-air classroom. Our host did not know, which medical treasure she owns in her garden – and how poisonous the wonderful leaves can be.

Nicola Lehmkühler, March 2015

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Motto:    ‚Dios, Patriy y Libertad’ (God, Homeland and Freedom)

Official language:                          Spanish

Recognized regional languages:   Kichwa, Shuar

Capital                                          Quito

Government unitary presidential constitutional republic

President                                      Rafael Correa

Area                                             283,562 km²

Population                                   15,223,680 (2012)

Density 53.7 inhabitants per km²

Gross domestic product (2011)

- total (nominal) $ 66.38 billion

- total (PPP) $ 127.4 billion

- per capita (nominal) $ 4,424

- per capita (PPP) $ 8,492

Currency US-Dollar

Anthem ‘Salve, oh Patria’