Thoughts About Haiti
Lauri Grossman, DC, CCH, RSHom(NA)
I flew to Haiti with Homeopaths Without Borders twice. On both occasions I was advised to fill my backpack with what was critical: water, food for seven days, a change of underwear, and essential homeopathic remedies. Even with these restrictions, I packed countless vials of Aconite, Ignatia, and Natrum muriaticum. I wanted to have a generous supply of the remedies for shock, loss, and grief. However, the remedies that I used in Haiti could not have been more different from the ones we relied on after 9-11. This was Port au Prince after an earthquake, not NYC after the fallen towers.
Immediately after we opened our clinic at the French Hospital, men, women, and children from all over the city headed our way. They lined up seeking help for headaches and dizziness, sprained ankles and crushed toes, and every complaint in between. We treated an infinite number of people who had irritated eyes caused by the debris in the air and countless lethargic babies weakened by the inadequate food supply. We used Euphrasia for eyes and Carbo vegetabilis for the infants. We also used Sepia and Vaginitis combinations for many of the female complaints and Arnica montana and the Arnica gels for a good number of the musculoskeletal injuries. We relied on many of the most basic remedies like Calcarea carbonica and Sulphur and handed simple cell salt combination remedies to the children over and over again. There were countless other valuable medicines, but rarely did we need Aconite, Ignatia, or Natrum muriaticum. Why was that so?
The Haitian people are strikingly gracious. They experience loss and they experience joy and they accept both as essential parts of life. When faced with the hardship of living on the streets, men and women still play music at night and children still run along lifting kites into the air. When they own few clothes, they still wash and iron the little they have to look their best when singing in church on Sunday. They celebrate when there is a birth and they accept the loss when death occurs.
So when we came to offer care after the earthquake, they offered us a lesson in life. We distributed water, food, and homeopathy for trauma, injuries, and a long list of chronic and acute complaints. In return, the people of Haiti gave us a new perspective on life. With few comforts, it is still possible for children to giggle and play. With homes made of discarded plastic, there can still be dancing in the streets. If one accepts that life brings loss along with joy, healing with some of the most basic homeopaths medicines happens speedily.
As homeopaths, we are reminded that every complaint has an individual presentation and that culture plays a huge role in ones perspective. Trauma and loss are not always accompanied by shock and mourning. Aconite, Ignatia, and Natrum muriaticum might not be the indicated remedies. Every one who was a part of the Homeopaths Without Borders team in Haiti saw people who seemed to have lost everything wake up in the street, gather bits of wood to build fires to cook breakfast, and begin their day with dignity and poise. Sulphur, Calcarea carbonica and the cell salt combinations were all that so many of them needed.