Travel Report, May 2002

The flight already gives an impression of the contemporary Macedonia: KFOR soldiers and volunteers of aid organizations, patient women with headscarves and rouged girls wearing tight jeans, Albanians and Macedonians.



One of our patients told us: “I feel like killing the Albanians because of the war, but my girlfriend is Albanian as some of my friends are, and they are not bad people.” A country of conflicts, especially if somebody adds fuel to the fire. Then hate and prejudices, incomprehension and patriotism flame up.

Our students, our patients and us, the teachers, the homeopaths from Germany, are constantly confronted to these problems. I learn to deal with them and I know that they will last for a long time.

We have been teaching since 2001, interrupted by the war. Once a month a member of HOG (Homoeopathen ohne Grenzen, homeopaths without borders) goes to Skopje and teaches and works with the students in the ambulatory.

I have been there twice, and my students captured me. Extremely hospitable, very open minded, helpful and a heart of gold, but everybody sticks to his identity: there is the burning patriot who hates Albanians, there is the woman who has toiled all her life and now discovered her right to learn, there is the pediatrist who hopes to see healthier children, there is the grateful son who takes his mother to treatment so that she regains joy of life, there is the doctor who gives me a little icon of Saint Klimens (my name is Clementina) to protect me.

All of them are directly affected by the war, unemployment rates are extremely high (50%), not all of them have a secure income, some of them cannot afford any books. But all of them want to help their country and hope that homeopathy is a chance for better health in Macedonia.


Homeopathic pioneers…

Many of them have caught fire, homeopathy has become the center of their lives. I’m impressed how bravely they are involved for the benefit of their country, they feel like pioneers in Macedonia.

This strong motivation makes every lesson a wonderful experience not only for me since this group learns intensely, but also for them since they are eager for every single word, they absorb information, they are glad to learn.

Leisure time is negligible while we are in Skopje: at weekends we are teaching, the university provides us with premises, and a wonderful interpreter translates unfailingly with a sure instinct.

The other days we work at the training practice: it is not important to treat many patients. The point is rather to discuss with the students how to analyze case histories from the homeopathic point of view, why a certain remedy is indicated, what the course of the disease means etc. So many questions arise because their interest increases.


I’m lucky that I don’t have to care about food, the students bring food and I get to know the Macedonian cuisine: Sarma (cabbage leaves filled with rice or meat), Burek (pastry puffs with spinach and cheese), Ajvar (roasted bell peppers preserved for winter as a paste).


Behind the practice there is the market where I like to buy fresh fruit in the morning. The cold (in January) and fresh (in May) air is a good preparation for the long practice day. I watch old people selling herbs, clothes, hardware at the edge of the market, two fruit crates being their table, I can’t pass by.

The marketeers, the real merchants, are curious because I obviously come from the rich Western Europe. They offer their goods, try to talk to me. After my walk to the market I return to the practice. In my shopping bag there are – besides the fresh fruit - bunches of herbs in every color for my friends in Berlin. With the colors of the market in my eyes and my soul I can start the practice day.

Many patients could be helped: e.g. the man, depressive after his wife had left him, comforted only by alcohol. Now he feels good, does not drink any more, and tells all his friends of the wonderful homeopathic treatment. Or the doctor, suffering from migraine, relieved only by strong medication, now free of pain. Or the woman who had to give up her work due to pain in her shoulder, now, after four months of treatment, experiences constant improvement of about 70%. The students dream of treating on their own in the near future and of spreading homeopathy in Macedonia. I dream with them sitting in a sidewalk café, listening to Shakira from loudspeakers.

If asked what HOG means, I can give a clear answer: a wonderful and exciting experience.


Clementina Rabuffetti

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