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Remembering

By Phil Montgomery – Phil has taken part in many Chaparda clinics and has recently retired as Trustee of World Medicine.

It was my first day back working in the men’s clinic at Jaye Ambe hospital in the rural district of Chaparda, Gujarat. My first patient awaited me. I remembered his face but sadly can’t recall his name. This was my fourth visit working at the hospital and my patient, a local Sadu monk had visited each time for a succession of treatments. He was 80 plus years of age, dressed in the traditional saffron robes, wearing a full grey beard and moustache. He reminded me very much of a wise and happy Asiatic Father Christmas.

Generally he was in good health but suffered pain in his knees and a decreased mobility brought during the damp colder winter months. His diagnosis generally related to arthritis of the knees. Through the translation he gratefully told me how the treatments would lessen the pain, improve his mobility and last until the weather changed and the warmer months returned. I will never forget his smiling face, appreciative handshake and namaskar.

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News From Gujarat

We’ve recently heard from our friends at the Jay Ambe hospital in Chaparda and share this news…

The first wave of Covid-19 was relatively benign in India, however, as we have all seen on the news, the second wave ‘Indian variant’ has been devastating with medical services across the country unable to cope and desperately short of oxygen supplies.

Picture2Two weeks ago, WM responded to a call to help fund an oxygen generator for the Jay Ambe hospital at Chaparda.  While we are always very careful how charity funds are used, the WM team were very motivated to help the community hospital which has hosted so many acupuncture camps over the years.  Because of covid, we were not able to travel to India last January so we decided to donate the funds we would have used as a way of helping the same people we would normally have seen from local villages.

The oxygen generator is now installed, working, and supplying oxygen to the hospital and the isolated covid wards that have been set up adjacent to the hospital.

Government attempts to roll out a vaccination programme has been severely affected as Cyclone Tauktae hit the west coast wreaking havoc with many lives lost.  The 120 mile/hr winds damaged 16,000 houses in Gujarat alone, ripping up trees and downing power lines. A second cyclone is expected to follow hitting the east coast of the country within the next few days.

In the wake of this there are additional worries: there is a growing awareness that many post covid patients, particularly diabetics and others with immunosuppressed conditions are very susceptible to Mucormycosis, referred to as ‘black fungus’ which can have fatal consequences if not treated promptly.

India is indeed suffering – with the poorest suffering the most, and our thoughts and prayers go out to them.

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Refugee Community Kitchen

World Medicine will soon begin a new project supporting refugees in London. To mark this new venture for us, our Guest Blog today is written by Sasiki Hubberstey, who, in 2017 was one of hundreds of volunteers who served meals to refugees in the infamous ‘Jungle’ camp in Calais. Sasiki recently made a ‘virtual’ return visit to Calais as part of our team of ‘Chaparda Challenge‘ walkers covering the distance from York to Chaparda in India, so we asked her to recall her time working in the Refugee Community Kitchen.

Refugee Community Kitchen, Calais, 2017

351bc05e2976a7a81e51cdfccfe82c8760a0c0a12,750 meals each day.

That was the provision for the refugees stranded in the forest squats around Calais and Dunkirk when I volunteered several times in the RCK kitchen that year. Huge platefuls of rice and curry, salads, condiments, freshly cooked twice a day – with a good dollop of love and singing thrown in – by a team of volunteers, some long term, others, like me, for a week/weekend/month at a time.

Lone teenagers, families with babies, lone men, and a few lone women, from Syria, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Sudan…. Dispersed across France when ‘The Jungle’ had been destroyed the year before, gradually making their way back, to restore their hope to reach family/friends in UK.

76% of the refugees that RCK asked had had their meagre belongings destroyed by a branch of the police twice every week, at night, since their arrival. Tents destroyed, shoes removed, pepper sprayed. Many had been there for months.

war_and_poverty_misc-5255RCK provided food. No judgement, no questions. (Others provided tents, shoes, jackets, chargers for mobiles, medical aid etc). A wonderfully heartfelt, positive, committed, well-organised, daily operation of a scale I’d never seen before! Twelve hour days of prepping vast pots of veg and taking out to the forest squats twice a day, to the long long queues, surrounded by police. And washing up, cleansing floors and work surfaces, doing laundry. And starting again early the next day.

In such extremities, such warmth, such gentleness, gratitude, love, humility. One of the most moving places to be, ever. Thank you RCK x

Click below to watch a video on the work of the Refugee Community Kitchen.

 

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Super Skater Steph!

By Emma Vaughan

downloadKeeping it in the family, Rafe’s Aunty Steph has also been busy!

She recently skated 26 miles during the virtual kiltwalk weekend and raised £809 which means with the extra Hunter foundation contribution an amazing total of £1213.

This is fabulous fundraising and again we are hugely grateful. This fundraising effort has come at a time when India is facing a devastating crisis and indeed our own friends and colleagues at Jay Ambe hospital are facing mounting pressure as the local community suffer from a second wave of Covid infections.

This week we have been able to make a contribution to a direct appeal from the hospital for life saving oxygen and so the commitment of our volunteers and their families has been particularly poignant and welcome.

Our collective kiltwalk efforts have raised £2577, giving us £3865 in total once Sir Tom Hunter has bolstered our own efforts.

Brilliant achievement, thank you everyone who has supported our efforts either by participating , cheerleading our team or contributing directly to the fundraising!

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Remarkable Rafe!

By Emma Vaughan

a894f606-5459-4929-89c2-fbbc91df288fRafe is the 6 year old grandson of Barbara and Dave, with the former being a World Medicine trustee and volunteer.

He is indeed a remarkable boy as this is now his second year dedicated to helping fundraise for our charity, and both years he has done it with some style! Considering the size of his legs, we are all amazed at his stamina and his commitment. Together with his parents he has been a prolific fundraiser and this year alone he raised an incredible £890. With the Hunter foundation contribution this means that Rafe’s efforts will have generated £1335. This is a massive achievement and we are hugely grateful to him and all his generous sponsors.

Thank you Rafe!

Barbara recently interviewed Rafe before the kiltwalk to get some tips and motivation!

Enjoy our wee video..

 

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Kiltwalk 2021

By Emma Vaughan

The 23rd of April heralded the start of Scotland’s virtual Kiltwalk challenge ! Over the weekend, Barbara, her husband Dave, daughter Stephanie and 6 year old grandson Rafe plus Emma in Scotland embarked on various walks and in Stephanie’s case skated, yes skated their way on the 26 mile challenge!

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a894f606-5459-4929-89c2-fbbc91df288fThe weather was uncharacteristically kind to all of us which is remarkable as we are spread across 3 nations, and we were able to complete our journeys within the time frame allowed. This is Rafe’s second walk for World Medicine and we are are incredibly proud of him. You’ll read all about him in our next blog which gives a fuller picture on his fundraising efforts with a lovely video introducing him.

Stephanie also deserves a special mention as her unique challenge was incredible as she hadn’t put a pair of skates on for 30 years! An amazing effort, backed up with awesome fundraising! We feared for her safety but can report that she is still in one piece and uncomplaining!

So far our team has raised over £2500 which will be bolstered by 50% thanks to the Hunter foundation. A fantastic achievement which allows us to continue our work both in the UK and abroad! Donations can be accepted until May 2nd so please support us if you can.

Well done everybody, and also thank you to all the supporters in the background who helped us with our individual challenges.

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Graduates Welcome!

For the past few years World Medicine has had an active policy of encouraging new graduates to apply for a volunteer post in our yearly Chaparda project. Although it may seem like a stressful idea to emerge yourself in a demanding multi bed clinic with a big daily caseload, there is something of the “baptism of fire” approach that has proved very successful and rewarding for our past graduates. There are few environments early in clinical practice that will provide the breadth and scope of experience that Chaparda affords. Our graduates will work either in the ladies or men’s clinic alongside 2 experienced practitioners. Generally, we would pair a graduate and practitioner for the first couple of consultations and treatments to ease into the pace and style of treatment and then we encourage them to begin their own work, under a nurturing eye!

The good thing about the setting is that no one is isolated, which means that if anyone is a bit anxious or struggling to establish a treatment strategy there is always someone to cast a quick eye and make a suggestion. We trust our graduates and they never fail to amaze us with their capacity to get stuck in and become valuable members of the team. Learning is always a 2 way dynamic and whilst we hope to model good practice for our graduates we are always up for learning from them too! One of the important things to remember is that multi bed treatments will always be different to the treatments that would be provided in a private, one to one session. The emphasis is on extracting the key information from our patients and providing a targeted treatment that best matches their need.

Because our patients return up to 6 times there is an opportunity to refine treatments, or add an adjunct such as cupping, moxa etc. Not everything needs to be done on that initial treatment! There is no denying that the clinics are very hard work. We put in a full day Monday to Friday and a half day Saturday. We definitely are looking for our graduates to be robust, flexible and grounded! The trade off is that we also have a lot of fun, our teams the last few years have been picked to encourage a sense of team stability and cohesion, and for sure the welfare of our graduates is extremely important to us.

Sally, Gary, Marta and Catherine, some of our more recent graduates have written blogs that can be found on the website that give a fuller flavour to the graduate experience.They are all thriving in their own practices now but am sure each of them would tell you that they absolutely loved their time in Chaparda with us, remaining very much part of our World Medicine family.

So, if you feel INSPIRED, up for a CHALLENGE and can spare 3 weeks to VOLUNTEER and are about to graduate ( or have very recently graduated) please do get in touch with us to request an application form. We generally interview over the summer with a view to travel in January of each year. (self funded*)

This year there will be an opportunity to volunteer with a more local project based in London, so if the idea of India is rather overwhelming but you would like to still be involved with World Medicine, than please do still get in touch. We definitely would love to hear from you!

*Every volunteer with World Medicine needs to be able to self fund their travel costs to and from India. Accommodation and meals ( and fabulous vegetarian meals they are too) are provided at no additional cost. We strongly support fundraising efforts to pay for your costs and every year engage the team in various activities in order to help you achieve this.

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Local Sustainability

Blog post by Emma Vaughan, Trustee of World Medicine

The struggles of introducing local sustainability into our work in India.

35258766-645e-4967-bc2c-1af0452f43a3For anyone reading our blogs about World Medicine’s long term project in Chaparda, India, they will certainly get a flavour of the enormous popularity of this project. This is true for our hosts, the community we serve and the volunteers that commit their time and energy to it. There is a special energy and palpable buzz during our time there and over the years we have built up close relationships with the staff at the ashram and Jay Ambe hospital where we run our clinic.

Every year we have local staff that assist us for the duration of our work there… this may be clerical staff who book patients in and organise the waiting area, physiotherapists who come to assist in the clinic and more recently student nurses who we train to help us with specific treatments, such as cupping or moxabustion therapy. We see their input as enormously valuable to both us and to themselves. We try to model good practice in clinical care but also to demonstrate that empathy and respect should be part of the work when treating patients. Last year particularly we were able to see our local students gain confidence in their skills and witnessed their growing commitment to good patient care.

028This is incredibly important to us as a charity since we are mindful about our wider aims when delivering a complex project such as our Chaparda one. In the past, previous teams had explored ways of trying to encourage a self sustaining dimension to the project. We had been hopeful that by training local staff to use a microsystem, namely Auricular acupuncture, that they could continue to run a meaningful service for the community in between our visits. This was an ambitious target especially as acupuncture as a profession is rightly regulated to a high professional standard. ( we are self regulated within our professional body which requires adherence to a robust code of ethics and practice, professional accountability and a requirement for continuing education) This made it complex when considering safety and supervision in our absence. However, the other big issue that is a real block to local sustainability is migration of local staff. We find, that with exception of a few staff, many of the hospital staff do not have long term posts. Younger female staff often leave the area after marriage and other staff leave for opportunities in the cities. It is always lovely to see familiar faces but we also have to accept that sometimes we will only work with staff for one visit.055

I believe the future of our work in Chaparda is very much on a firm footing. The communities surrounding the hospital are familiar with our work now and we do see returning patients to our clinics which is also wonderful. We always remain open to ideas that will make the project more expansive and inclusive.. it’s important that we continue to build strong relationships there that support opportunities for local staff to develop their own skills and knowledge, so that wherever they end up working they take a sense of professional pride with them which we hope they achieve during their time working with us. We certainly value them!

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A Spring in your step …

Yes, we are walking again.  Our eagle-eyed observers have commented that most of our fundraising involves walking, and there is a reason for this: its accessible to so many people.  The essence being that it doesn’t have to be an arduous marathon slog over swampy terrain in rubbish weather – all you have to do is step outside your door and put one foot in front of the other.  How easy is that?

Of course, you might want to check the weather forecast and put on some sturdy shoes – but its all about getting out into the fresh air.  Maybe your luck will be in and you glimpse a bit of early Spring sunshine, robins scrapping in flower beds, sparrows twittering in hedgerows.  Snowdrops are out there nodding their heads waiting for the first bees to venture out of their hives ……………..  and we too should venture out, breathe deeply, sun on face – and take the first step of many.

I’m fed up with talking about lockdown, the challenges and restrictions; you know them all as well as me, so I’m not going to. I am going to tell you about a brilliant challenge being created by WM that is accessible to everyone!  It’s a virtual journey from our HQ in York to the Jay Ambe hospital in Chaparda, Gujarat, where we run our annual acupuncture clinic. That’s almost 6000 miles!  Before you say “I couldn’t possibly walk that far” – well, of course you couldn’t – by yourself: but this is all about contributing to a team effort, so however many, or few, steps you take could all add up to getting to India in time for the next clinic in January 2022.

Your personal goals have a part to play here – its about getting out for a walk regularly, making it a habit and reaping the rewards of better health, having a (distanced) chat to neighbours and feeling your mood rise.

So, watch this space – details coming soon and perhaps you could raise some small amount to help our fundraising.  All money raised will be used to support World Medicine projects, and not exclusively Chaparda.

I hope you will feel inspired to join us, its going to be amazing!  Let’s do this!

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Emma on 2021

Hello everyone!

Although we have been very quiet over recent months, much has been going on behind the scenes as it were! Firstly, we hope that all our friends at World Medicine are safe and well. 2020 was a very difficult year and so far 2021 continues to be challenging. We were unable to continue any of our projects due to COVID restrictions and so both the work at Grenfell and Chaparda were put on hold. Many members of our previous Chaparda team keenly felt the loss of being in India this year and so we were delighted that Barbara has managed to maintain regular contact with Babubhai at the hospital and have been reassured that the pandemic has not overwhelmed the community there. We intend to return in 2022 but will be cautiously planning for a few months to come before we make a final decision. We also have another exciting London based project in the pipeline which will be announced in due course.

This brings me onto FUNDRAISING! On Easter Day we are going to launch our CHAPARDA challenge fundraiser. Our intention is to walk, swim or cycle the entire length of the journey from our HQ in York to the Jay Ambe hospital in Chaparda. We aim to complete the challenge virtually, logging our journey onto an online platform which will help us map the journey ! Please don’t be put off if you think this sounds complex. Barbara, Dave, Jude and Emma walked a virtual West Highland way last week to road test the system with our IT support Chris supporting us ( literally) every step of the way. It is very straightforward! We will be looking for folk to sign up to our teams at a cost of £12 per person. This will cover everyone’s admin and registration cost etc. We will then link you to a fundraising platform in the hope that your friends and family might donate a little money to spur you on to help us complete our truly epic journey! More detailed information will follow but in the meantime if you or anyone you know are interested in taking part please contact emma@ world medicine.com and I will add you on to our fundraising what’s app group for easy access to information and support. All money raised will be used to support all World Medicine projects and not exclusively Chaparda.

We hope you feel inspired to join us, it’s going to be amazing.. !!!!

Let’s make 2021 a fabulous year of getting fit, being outside as much as possible and RAISING money for World Medicine!!