Friday, 5 December 2008

Overview

24.11.08

One week. One week since I arrived here, and it feels like 2 months.
Over breakfast at Bagomoyo Margot asked me how I felt things were going, and my answer was that so far- Great! As things stand now what is happening is exceeding my expectations.


The most important thing is that I have patients. So far I have seen about 20 AIDS patients, and this is what I have come for. I find that the translation, mainly by Sigsbert, works fine. I can understand the patients well. As those of you who have worked in the third world know, the cases are surprisingly less verbose and convoluted, but not always more simple. One still needs to penetrate the depth of the case, and so far, in 95% of the cases, this has happened through dreams. The patients seem to love their dreams; they often become happy and animated when asked about them. There is usually one significant dream, and if you can match that to the rest of the case things become clear. On the mental and emotional level there is much less information than in the west, which is a wonderful relief! So far I am prescribing on a mix of AIDS and constitutional symptoms, and I have developed a technique which works nicely and is in accordance with classical homeopathic philosophy. The remedies are not only standard polychrests, I am often off the beaten track.

Most importantly I feel I know where I am going from a homoeopathic point of view, and that the principles of the Organon are guiding me in the right direction. I can only hope that the remedies work well, the proof will be in the results. Encouragingly, one of Margot's old AIDS cases has become HIV negative and has remained so for 2 years now. There is no trace of antibodies in her blood, she is clean. AIDS can be cured, and it will.

We have also managed to get a source of independent CD4 counts, which will help in assessing the results. Getting the other essential marker, viral load, is too expensive for now.

Getting enough AIDS patients is not a problem. As soon as I landed there were 40 lined up. When I arrived in Bagomoyo we had 5 patients waiting. People are interested in homoeopathy, they understand natural medicine and respect it, and they need a way out.

Working in the clinic is not always easy. It is small, hot and noisy, with a choice of two modes: 1. Sauna mode or 2. Fan on the neck mode. Occasionally the electricity goes off and we get the "noisy smelly generator mode". Tonight the generator didn't work either, so we saw patients in total darkness, which was very strange. It was so dark I was not sure if Sigsbert was still in the room, and had to ask him if he was there.

I remember the first time that I was here, after a couple of days I suggested to Sigsbert to move the fan to the front of the room, so that it will blow on our faces. Sigsbert told me that was a very good idea, especially if we wanted to get TB from the patients. Now I make fewer suggestions.

Living conditions are not always easy, but you get used to it, it becomes the norm. Many people live in extreme poverty compared to the west, but for them it is the norm, and they don't make a big deal out of it. Of course the daily struggle is there, but it is a matter of attitude. There is a wonderful joy and equanimity. On the whole I feel very good here, because it is Africa and special, and because I am doing what I have wanted to do for so long.

What is difficult is seeing the parents with AIDS knowing they may not live long, and their anxiety about the fate of their children. There is often no way out, and many mothers resort to selling petty goods such as second hand shoes on the street.

Tomorrow I am downgrading hotels, from a 70$ a day to a 20$ per day. There is not a lot of money for the project, and I want to make it last. But it isn't that bad- the new hotel, 'Econolodge' is clean and unpretentious. Otherwise I am pleased to say that my expenses are less than I thought they might be, because I have used Sigsbert's clinic and translating skills for free.

The good news is that I hope to move into The Homoeopathy School guest apartment and start working from there. It is nicely done up, comfortable and free, but somewhat isolated. The clinic is downstairs. The school itself is in a state of near completion and looking wonderful; A huge lecture hall with room for 300 people and nice offices. Sigs is still making his own bricks, but hopefully the end is in sight. I am particularly pleased to be working from there, because the school project has stagnated a bit for various obstacles, and I believe it will help kick start the process. I hope to begin teaching some introductory programs soon. We plan to have the building completed by June and to celebrate with a grand opening.

Margot has been a very good friend and a useful person to have around, and a great teacher of all things Africa. Her 'induction course' has saved me a lot of difficult learning challenges, and I am very grateful for it. I am learning a few words in Swahili every day, and I estimate I will be fairly fluent in approximately 15 years. We discuss the various issues daily; the school, AIDS, Africa, fund raising, patients.

Sibhon (pronounced Shivon) will arrive later today. Sibhon is a Dynamis graduate and member of the TIAM, the Tanzanian Irish homeopathy project. Sibhon is a top quality nurse who has spent many years working in the most dangerous parts of Africa, Rwanda, Somalia and Uganda. She is also legendary in her organizational skills. We look forward to having her with us.

Tomorrow I am meeting the university professors again, and I hope to get the research project on the road. On Thursday we travel North to Moshi, where I hope to meet several contacts that I have made over the internet. The aim is to get some more clinics going up north. Moshi would be a nice place to live and work; cooler, less malaria, and at the foot of the Kilimanjaro. There is also an international airport and an international school if my family move here.

So far family is the most difficult aspect of this project. I miss the kids and worse, they miss me. It is a long time to be away. I hope that they will be able to join me here. It will make the project much more viable. Camilla is all for it, but she has to check the scene out first. She will arrive next week for a crash tour, and we might even get to see a Simba or two.

As for the search for the genus epidemic, I am more then happy with the slow progress. I am trying to remain free from prejudice. I am taking my time and not rushing to conclusions. My interest lies in perceiving the collective case and that will take time. For the moment, I prescribe individually. I avoid the experience of others, although I respect it. When ideas for remedies come up, I write them down and put them aside. This is a 1000 piece puzzle. In my mind I hold par 100, the most Zen paragraph of the Organon:

In investigating the totality of the symptoms of epidemic and sporadic diseases it is quite immaterial whether or not something similar has ever appeared in the world before under the same or any other name. The novelty or peculiarity of a disease of that kind makes no difference either in the mode of examining or of treating it, as the physician must any way regard the pure picture of every prevailing disease as if it were something new and unknown, and investigate it thoroughly for itself, if he desire to practice medicine in a real and radical manner, never substituting conjecture for actual observation, never taking for granted that the case of disease before him is already wholly or partially known, but always carefully examining it in all its phases; and this mode of procedure is all the more requisite in such cases, as a careful examination will show that every prevailing disease is in many respects a phenomenon of a unique character, differing vastly from all previous epidemics, to which certain names have been falsely applied.


Until next time,

Jeremy

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