After the blood-pumping seminar with Dr. Farouk Master; Cheryl, Brigitte, Spero and I spent three days in the foothills of the Himalayas. Spero Latchi, a homeopath who lives in India, runs a homeopathic clinic in the city of Bir. Spero’s objective was to touch base with some of his remote patients living in small isolated villages.
Below is a photo of the 4 of us on the trek. The home in the background is where we found our 1st patient – a local paragliding guide. He had broken his leg in a previous fall and 3 months after surgery he was still in a lot of pain.
Trekking through the Himalayas was amazing. It was really beautiful. The first day was hard going though. We stopped at 2.30 pm to set up camp. Gathering firewood was quite a task. Thank you Canada Parks for selling the firewood…Brigitte was the fire master. She made a great fire and kept it going throughout the night. The cold had crept in and by 6pm we were all huddled up close around the fire waiting for dinner. Water was a vital commodity so we would fetch water from the river and Cheryl filtered the water for the day. At night the temperature dropped close to -10C. I kept finding myself waking in my tent to put on more cloths to keep warm.
Off to an early morning start. When we arrived at the village, 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 patients – hardy souls who were going to spend winter in their villages. These were all follow up patients, who have been treated by Spero over the past 3 years. The 1st Chumari was suffering from a cough. She had a cataract, deformed teeth and was ameliorated by the rain. We gave her Causticum 30c.
Brigitte was in charge of our pharmacy. Cheryl kept all the notes of the interview. I translated from Hindi to English and Spero asked the questions. We had two more patients, one of whom was Mr. R, who had a distended abdomen from excessive consumption of alcohol. Nux Vomica 200c 5X was dispensed. Alcoholism is a past time in the mountains. These were all patients that Spero treats every time he comes on his village treks.
Spero would like to be able to reach these villages regularly so that he could build a real relationship with these people and 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 worthwhile endeavour, 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 bread for breakfast – no instant meals, heat, lighting or warm water… Everything requires effort. Thus arthritic conditions, and respiratory conditions were among the most common complaints. The end of day 2 saw us pitching tent near the river close to the next village we would visit the next morning.
Brigitte our fire master had a roaring fire going. Thank Goodness!! Spero, a gourmet chef, made simple meals that tasted like deluxe gourmet meals. After dinner Brigitte sang many songs in true Irish style. To top every night off was the fact of sleeping under a canopy of stars.
The clinic of bare necessities…
Once we arrived in a village, we would sit in a central location and wait. Our arrival would be announced to the residents that remained for the winter. 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. On the 3rd day we ran multiple clinics. At the 1st clinic pictured below, we saw 3 patients. Consultations are conducted in the open amongst everyone. The culture of privacy that we are used to in the west is unknown here.
More patients were waiting to see us in the lineup but they left as they have fields and animals to tend to. Leaving the 1st clinic we headed out to the next village, which was an hour’s walk away. On route we stopped at a bus stop with a roadside tea stall to have a cup of tea. The bus had just arrived and we were flooded with patients. The roadside stall attendant, the bus driver, a baby with typhoid and a few others. Having so many patients in such a short period of time, makes it very difficult to take a complete case. We would assess the case, enquire as best as we needed from the patients and dispense a remedy based on our agreement. Those that could come to the city were encouraged to come to the clinic for complete case taking. We then left the bus stop and went looking for lunch.
Festival to one of the gods of the mountain
Looking for lunch! We were invited to eat with the villagers who were celebrating a local flesh eating deity! It was a real treat. We got to the village and saw three patients before having lunch. During lunch we met the chef who was also one of our patients. We felt really privileged to be included in their local celebrations. 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. A lamb 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!
Kicking our heels back on the road, we headed out to what we thought would be the end of our day. Whilst crossing a river and hunting for small souvenir rocks, we were stopped by a distressed father. At his home we met his son, Ajay Kumar, who was 20 years old. He was as pale as a ghost, diagnosed with liver disease and given 6 months to live. We spent 2.5hrs taking his case. When we finished, there were other patients waiting for treatment that we had to turn away as it was now 9pm and we had to head back to Bir.
The next morning we discussed Ajay’s case and decided on a remedy for him. We arranged for his father to come and collect the remedy from Spero’s clinic. The entire experience for me was surreal. To be trekking in the Himalayan mountains was superb. To be there trekking and doing homeopathy was unfathomable. It will always remain one of the best moments in my life!