TRIP TO HHA TANZANIA LIZ NORMAN
Having worked behind the scenes with Homeopathy for Health in Africa (HHA) since its inception 10 years ago I was finally fortunate enough to travel to Moshi and visit for the first time in January 2017 and again in the summer of 2018.
BACKGROUND – Before I visited Tanzania my involvement with HHA had been purely administration duties ranging from emails, reconciling income and expenditure sheets, months of pouring over constitutional documentation to glossy calendar photographs (with a house turned into a delivery sub post office at Christmas to deliver said calendars!). So, to see HHA in practice after such a long time was a very exciting opportunity.
I was completely blown away by the project not only because of the great work that is being done, but by how organised and self-sustaining it is. Jeremy Sherr had a vision to bring homeopathy to Tanzania help local people. For the past ten years Jeremy and Camilla have worked tirelessly to be the vital driving force behind making this vision the reality that we see today – 20 clinics and over 6000 patients, with real sustainability and momentum to go forward and continue growing.
HHA TEAM HHA started with Jeremy and Camilla and is an ever growing local team headed up by the wonderful Irish homeopath Jane Davy who is not just a brilliant homeopath but is super-efficient with 'behind the scenes' work. Jane has created systems and protocols making it possible for HHA to operate smoothly. They are backed up by wonderful regular long term volunteers Rebecca Stirrup, Lulu Badger, Marina Braun, Tina Quirk and Sandy Hudson as well as visiting long term volunteers.
LOCAL HOMEOPATHS - Since the project has started HHA has trained 4 'locally grown' homeopaths - Patience and Simon a few years ago and recently Alisha and Anitha who trained with the 4Kenya School. It is great to see local people trained and working with the project. Roger our translator has been with the project since it started in 2008.
Other than Jane all the staff at the centre are local, and we were treated to a delicious lunch cooked by Rosie at the centre after one of our clinics.
INTERNSHIPS I had timed my first visit to coincide with internship students. I wanted to see first-hand how the intern programme works, as it is a good source of income for the project. There were two interns there and I was able to visit outreach clinics with them. The grass roots homeopathy learning opportunity that the Internship programme offers is outstanding. The learning is exceptionally good, sound repertorisation and Materia Medica when taking cases complemented by individual classroom learning from Jeremy, Camilla and Jane. Yet again the organisation of the programme is superb, from initial enquiry, booking, payments, visas, airport pick-ups, house maintenance all thanks to Jane's administration.
Not only are the internships hugely valuable for students still in their final years of study, to give see and learn classical homeopathy at its best, but also a real inspiration and boost for more experienced homeopaths bringing new energy into your case taking.
OUTREACH CLINICS One day I travelled to the Mwanga village clinic with Camilla, Jane, Roger (translator) and Interns. In one clinic we saw patients ranging from a 4-year-old boy, to an 80-year-old woman. I was amazed that people travel for miles to get to outreach clinics and sit sometimes for hours waiting patiently to be seen.
One previous intern commented ‘People here endure hardships that we couldn't even fathom. Often, they are sitting in full sun, patiently waiting for our arrival. The aim of HHA is very simple - alleviate people's suffering and bring them back to a level of health where they can live their lives with quality and dignity. This is at no cost to the patient. HHA subsists on donations and on the goodwill of its volunteers.’
MORE THAN JUST HOMEOPATHY – HHA has been working for many years with children with severe hearing impairments, often caused by malaria or taking malarial medication. The results with homeopathy have been extremely encouraging with patients reporting improvements in hearing and teachers reporting increased engagement in lessons. Even the smallest improvement in hearing can save a life – children who couldn’t hear trucks and cars who now can could save their lives. We are also providing reflective bands to these children to help keep them visible and safe on the roads.
HHA also works with albino children. In addition to the support these children get with remedies HHA gives sunglasses, hats and gloves to protect them.
Other schemes that HHA provides are reading eye glasses to patients at clinics and food parcels to patients. These are just some of the ways in which the HHA helps patients.
SUMMARY For me visiting Tanzania has been a wonderful opportunity to see HHA first hand, to experience the work done every day at grass roots level. As a homeopath I was inspired by the sound classical homeopathy being practiced. As a fellow human being I was incredibly moved by the good work that goes on day in day out with HHA, not just with homeopathy but with other help programmes like food parcels and eye glasses. As a 'systems person' I was impressed with the organisation I saw - record keeping, accounts, and training protocols etc. This is what underpins a vision becoming a sustainable reality. I feel honoured and privileged to be part of this.