After the seminar with Dr. Master, Cheryl, Rajesh, Spero and I spent three days in the foothills of the Himalayas. It was really beautiful. The landscape consistently reminded me of Shangri-La. Why? Well, every available inch of cultivatable land was being used, and there was a sense that although life here would be tough, especially in winter, everything you would need to live was here. There was also a sense of something special about the land energies there that went beyond the merely physical ability to sustain the population – a certain quality of magic!
When we arrived there, many of the villagers had left to spend the winter in one of the towns that were not so harshly treated by the weather, so the clinics were small. At the first clinic, we had three clients, hardy souls, that were going to spend the winter in their village. These were new cases and all had chronic conditions, which makes it difficult to effect real changes in their health. It will be spring before another hike is possible.
Spero would like to be able to reach these villages regularly so that he could build a real relationship with these people so that they could begin to experience the real magic that is homoeopathy. To do that he needs more manpower and always welcomes visiting homoeopaths to his clinic, especially if they are willing to put on their hiking boots and come with him into the hills! It is a well worthwhile endeavor, as allopathic medicine has reached this far into the hills, and not always under the supervision of medical doctors either!
Many of the complaints we saw related to the wear and tear of living and working hard in the hills. Carrying loads on their heads, climbing hills and severe weather are all part of living here. There is no electricity, so all heat is by firewood, and the warmth of livestock which spend winter in the rooms below the living rooms. The conveniences we take for granted are not here – no sliced pan for breakfast – no instant meals, heat, lighting or warm water… Everything requires effort. So arthritic conditions, and respiratory conditions were among the most common we saw.
Arriving in a village, we would sit in a central location and wait. After some time someone would come forward with a complaint and then the clinic began. Usually the locals provided us with mats to sit on, and then in a very public way case taking would begin. The culture of privacy that we are used to in the west is unknown here… We had two porters with us, and one of them acted as translator, along with Rajesh who had been at Dr Master’s seminar with us. It was a lot of fun! As I write I don’t have notes for cases we took, so cannot give more details of our prescriptions.
Fire Master – Brigid
We had two large camp fires in the evenings. I was granted title of Fire Master… (for those of you in Hidden Valley, I couldn’t leave it all go with James!) I enjoyed keeping them going, and also managing them so that we could cook on them. Sitting around talking, laughing and singing created a greater warmth in our group…
Waiting for food to cook became a feature of the hike, as boiling point in the mountains is quite a bit lower than 100 degrees. So we had appetites for our meals when they arrived! I experienced tsampa too. This is a toasted barley flour which the Tibetans, nomads of similar landscapes rely on to survive while in the mountain. Take some tsampa, add ghee (clarified butter) to your taste, sugar, and nuts or fruit and mix in enough hot water to make a sloppy paste and eat. I liked it, especially in the mountains. Strangely though, when Spero offered it to me for breakfast back in civilization my appetite for it had disappeared!
On the last day of the trip we were looking for lunch – having given up on cooking it ourselves! We were invited to eat with the villagers who were celebrating a local flesh eating deity! It was a real treat. Custom has it that visitors eat before the locals, or the family, if you are invited to dinner somewhere, and so we were fed first. We had, what was up to that point for me, the best food I’d had in India. Some meat dish, rice and five different pulse dishes – really tasty and fresh. We ate from disposable plates using our hands… The whole experience was delightful. When we were finished eating and (some of us) drinking the local brew, our porters indicated it was time for us to take our leave so the party for the locals could begin!