Volunteering with Homeopaths Without Borders (HWB)

I recently returned from a 1 week trip in Haiti volunteering with Homeopaths Without Borders (HWB).  The purpose of this trip was to support HWB’s Fundamentals of Homeopathy professional training course, a course in homeopathic therapeutics focusing on first aid, acute, infectious and epidemic care problems.  The first of 4 sessions, this first session included two days of classroom instruction and three days of free community clinic in the Delmas region outside of Port-au-Prince.   Thirteen medical professionals enrolled in the course.

Photo: Thera Ip, HOM, and Mysun Magloire, Translator in Delmas, June 2017

Classroom instruction included principles and philosophy of homeopathy, case-taking, methodology for prescribing, provings, administration and preparation of homeopathic medicines and materia medica of common first aid remedies.  Clinic days were long, and consisted of a steady stream of patients.  We saw patients will all sorts of acute and chronic ailments – parasites, infectious diseases, arthritis, abdominal issues, burns, cysts, tumours, skin issues, ringworm, ailments from stroke, etc.   What I didn’t expect were the number of painful hernia cases (from the combination of heavy physical labour, injury and weak connective tissue over time), and ailments since the Earthquake.

Through my translator, Mysun Maglore, I was saddened to hear them retell their stories, so vividly, of how they were affected by the Earthquake, 7 years ago, on January 12, 2010. “I lost my little boy, my husband, my family…. and now I get these debilitating headaches and rashes all over my body” one woman whispered.  “I was finishing school and went outside, everything was shaking, the buildings were crumbling, I was terrified and tried to hide, everyone was screaming, then everything was quiet, I was covered with dust and blood, and I couldn’t breathe, and now I cannot see” told by a woman who was thirteen at the time and has not gone back to school since.  We did the best we could to choose a remedy based on the etiology and chief presenting symptoms.

Photo, from left to right: Vanessa Ruiz, ND, Myson Magliore, Translator, James Alcy, Haitian Community Homeopath, Wilby Vernet, Haitian Community Homeopath, Thera Ip, HOM, and Dr. Joel, MD.

It was lovely to see each student transform by the end of the week.  They came to class reserved, and by the end of clinic, everyone was engaged and alive with enthusiasm as they began to see results.  They came with an allopathic mindset, but they quickly understood the need to individualize and focus on the details of the symptoms expressed by each patient.  They couldn’t wait to start using homeopathy in their own practice and were ripe with ideas of how to bring Homeopathy to remote outreach clinics!  

This was actually my second trip to Haiti with HWB.  My first trip was in October 2016, where we travelled to Petit-Goave and Duchity providing acute care and cholera and infectious disease prevention to communities hit hard by Hurricane Matthew.   This is where I fell in love with Haiti, the people, the culture, their way of life, and said I would return as often as I could.

Many thanks to those of you who financially supported my trip – I couldn’t have done this without you!  The next classroom and clinic sessions will be in September and November 2017.  Homeopathy and volunteering is a wonderful blend of the best of our profession and passion together.  I encourage others to offer their expertise with HWB as this was a truly unique and rewarding experience.

June 2017
Thera Ip, HOM

Additional info: