It is incredible for me to work in a mixed team of therapists from different countries, and everyone is valuing my skills and knowledge. We are respecting one another, and learning from one another.
Ven. Thupten Jinpa
A fully ordained Tibetan Buddhist monk and Haitian, Jinpa realized in the weeks following the great earthquake that he would have to go to Haiti to try to take his old father out of the country. “While I am there waiting for the papers to be processed, I would love to help my people,” he said. An herbalist and student of naturopathy, he assembled natural remedies to bring with him. Upon arriving, he quickly discovered how much his help was needed and which conditions were prevalent. Being able to help others was Jinpa’s greatest joy. Originally an electrical engineer, he has since acquired a 2 1/2 year university diploma in classical homeopathy to increase his ability to heal others, and is presently the main homeopathic teacher of the Haitian team.
Julia, a naturopathic doctor and classical homeopath, planned and organized the entire fund-raising effort and conceptualized the clinic in its ever new manifestations. She stepped in as its head doctor and director and has guided and trained the entire team. She integrated the modalities of herbs, essential oils, homeopathy, flower essences and body work (particularly cupping) in such a succinct and successful way that she inspired other colleagues to do the same around the world, sparking similar efforts in the US, Japan, Ecuador, ect.
Michelle is a Licensed Acupuncturist and practitioner of Chinese Medicine, She joined the clinic in 2012 a few years after the clinic opened. Her special methods of Acupuncture/Acupressure have brought about much relief to the many painful maladies that the Haitians experience, which lead to the phrase “the miracle doctors” that is how the Haitians refer to us.
Maria Lucia Gervais
Maria Lucia grew up in a remote rural area of the island of Haiti, learning all about plants and healing from her grandfather., who was a male midwife She watched him since childhood, also how he prepared traditional herbal remedies. It was her task to go out and gather the herbs. Maria Lucia also started learning traditional bone setting and use of cupping glasses from him, but he passed before she could complete her training. She also trained in spiritual healing tradition.
Maria Lucia has been with the clinic from the first day, when she volunteered to help, which she did ever since. She quickly learned aromatherapy by just listening to the conversations between us Western therapists and the medicine preparator. We soon promoted her from being the lady who hands out the waiting line tickets to being a medicine preparator, as well. As she was eager to learn, she expanded her understanding into Western herbs and homeopathy enough so that when it became too dangerous for the Western crew to come to Haiti in 2017, she became a naturopathic practitioner under our guidance. We greatly appreciate her commitment and compassion.
Camio has apprenticed at the clinic since the beginning, seeing the tremendous success of our treatments and becoming a strong believer in natural remedies. Before her time at the clinic, she was an emergency helper for the Red Cross, which she loved. A mother of three and grandmother of four, she is very proud to have a professional skill for the first time in her life, loves being a practitioner, and manages the clinic well. She is good at putting cupping glasses for adolescents.
Josephine joined the clinic in 2020. She is a college graduate who almost finished nursing school. Nursing school is expensive in Haiti and she was not able to afford the last year, a typical story for a poor country. She was trained in traditional herbalism by her grandmother for all the typical home remedies, also attending births to make sure the mother did not hemorrhage etc. It is this childhood training which motivated her to become a nurse. Her medical knowledge and experience allowed Josephine to quickly grasp the naturopathic concepts. She quickly understood and memorized all we trained her in. Her nursing background is a valuable addition to the clinic.
Oliama Deriviere (1960-2014)
Oliama was an herbalist, midwife and bone-setter in the Afro-Haitian tradition. He provided bone-setting and massage to the earthquake victims suffering from head trauma and/or displaced bones from falling debris or from having been buried under the rubble. Skilled also in cupping, he provided relief for three patients at a time. Read “Homage to a Great Afro-Haitian Traditional Healer.”
I thought we would mostly be dressing wounds. I expected that Jinpa would teach me to dress wounds with lavender oil, and that most people at the clinic would be freshly injured. Instead, we found all these emotional wounds, just barely scabbed over. I felt that the moment I was massaging these traumatized people was the first moment they had felt safe since their houses had fallen down, and their humanness along with it. Allowing them just one moment to feel safe and protected allowed them to reconnect with a deep inner source of healing, and enabled them to start on the road to healing. I was most deeply touched by the profound sadness and devastation in the children’s eyes.
When I heard that my country had collapsed, I felt moved to go and help. I was so happy to have had the chance to actually go and be part of the clinic effort! Although I am not a therapist, so much help was needed around the clinic that I did not have one idle moment translating, filling essential oil bottles, bagging herbs, arranging people in lines… I regretted very much having to leave, and hope that I can return soon for more concrete help to all those desperate people.