3 for 2!  The 2020 trip to Chaparda

3 for 2!  The 2020 trip to Chaparda, Gujarat,  13th January to 31st January, and onwards ……

Blog Post by Barbara Robinson

Our hosts in Chaparda have always encouraged the WM team to go more frequently, double up the camps, treat more people. To have a longer camp of 3 weeks was the logical step to find out a) if we could manage the demand, b) if we could form a team happy to leave UK for 3 weeks and c) if team members were able to work at the Chaparda pace without burnout, illness or getting on each other’s nerves!

The enthusiasm and energy of everyone working as a cohesive team, right from the off, was heart-warming.  Queues of patients waited for us when we arrived, and the first were through the clinic doors by 8.30am Monday 13th Jan.  In the 3 weeks we were there, 6 practitioners delivered 1907 treatments to 573 patients – an amazing number, made possible by the help of our wonderful translators and local staff who, after training, also moxa’d, massaged and removed needles.

As previous years, we found that 80%+ of patients suffered from pain and musculo-skeletal conditions.  Most of our patients live in nearby villages and either have physical work on the land or labour-intensive jobs, so that is not so surprising, but we were struck this year by the number of patients presenting with pain after surgery.
The remaining 20% suffer with migraines, hypertension, diabetes, kidney stones, gynae problems, auto immune disorders, and various digestive problems.  It is a low risk area for malaria, but patients can present with sequelae of other mosquito borne viral diseases, such as chikungunya and dengue fever, and may be affected for many years.

2020team

The 2020 team
Back row: Sally, Zehra, Catherine. 
Front row: Kuman, Najma, Marta, Jude, Satish, Barbara, Batul, Sheela, Emma. 
(Not pictured: Pushpa)

This was my 6th Chaparda visit and previous camps had all been 2 week duration, but the 3 week trial was very much a success: we saw more patients pro-rata but with less stress and a sense that events and patient numbers could be anticipated and managed more easily knowing that we had the extra week.

The camps take place over three weeks starting on Monday morning week 1, and ending Friday afternoon week 3. Additionally, 2 days travelling each end need to be factored in.  The clinics are closed Saturday afternoon and all Sunday, and a further afternoon off is taken by each volunteer during the second week.  All acupuncturists have slightly different work rates, some patients may present with more challenging problems and those unused to multibed may take a little while to ‘get into the zone’! However, we find that a general work rate of 21 – 25 patients a day, per practitioner, can be achieved while still maintaining enthusiasm and energy.

New Graduates

Up to 2018, volunteers were required to have solid experience backing up their skills and training – however, for the 2019 trip the trustees decided to create an opportunity for newly qualified acupuncturists to join the team.  We felt that the core of ‘old hands’ could provide solid mentoring and support to new graduates with a view to widening their experience of volunteering and working in a multibed setting. Sally Connelly and Gary Carvil joining the team was such an outstanding success in 2019 that we continued the idea and Catherine Watkins and Marta Koszo joined the team for 2020.  Indeed, Catherine was so new she missed her graduation day – but we had an impromptu celebration anyway!

graduation

If you are an acupuncturist or Gujarati speaker reading this and considering volunteering, please do not be put off by the 3 weeks – it can be hard work, you will need to be resilient – and reflective at times – but it’s also good fun resulting in hundreds of appreciative patients, a feeling of satisfaction and enduring friendships.

While we remain committed to the Chaparda Camp project, the current virus pandemic has caused us to rethink the timing and logistics of the next camp.  There is much media talk of ‘second spikes’ and ‘winter spikes’ and World Medicine is mindful that there should be no increased risk either to our team or our hosts. Before any final decision is made the trustees have a number of considerations in light of this unpredictable virus, not least the ability of WM to form a team and travel, and the impact on our friends at Chaparda and their ability to receive us.

We will be delaying a decision until late summer; however, the most likely scenario will be to postpone the January 2021 trip until at least November 2021.  More of this over the next few months.

Barbara x

Trustee and TL 2020

travelling

It is not all work!  Travelling to next village for shopping expedition!

Lochgilphead to Chaparda

Emma Vaughan, Chaparda volunteer and World Medicine Trustee, describes her journey…

I live and practice Chinese Medicine on the west coast of Scotland. Ordinarily, I would say I live in one of the most beautiful parts of the world, unscarred by development and with a perfect combination of remoteness and community. However.. when it comes to travel the journey even from where I live to Glasgow can be fraught with difficulties and can involve 60 mile detours when we experience landslides through the hilly pass known as “ the rest and be thankful “, sometimes unexpected ferry journeys and often shocking weather conditions making driving extremely challenging.

So I wanted to describe this years journey to Chaparda to give a flavour of a different aspect of our time.

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On Tuesday the 7th of January a friend dropped me off with my cases at the bus stop in Lochgilphead. The journey takes 2.5 hours to Glasgow and it poured with rain the whole way. I feel excited but also vaguely sick. ( I am a notoriously bad traveler) To help with the nausea I eat crisps and chocolate. I feel more sick naturally.

Once in Glasgow, I have a 40 minute window before my train to Oxenholme in the Lake District, so I rush to Debenhams with my cases and get my eyebrows threaded… a travel essential. I am excited with my eyebrows ( I’m extremely vain sadly!) and lug the cases through the rain to central station.. where I find my train has been cancelled.. no driver apparently! I immediately text Barbara ( team leader and great friend) to share my panic and then Jude who I am staying with in Sedburgh. I am directed to another train pretty quickly however and am soon on my way on a 2 hour journey to. Oxenholme.

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Jude , my wonderful friend and world medicine colleague comes to collect me from station along with her husband and dog. We immediately compare baggage, stress about weight allowance and pick each other’s bags up to decide if the stress is warranted! It is! They feel very heavy but we are sure we can manage. We have 3 bags each. One large case, 1 smaller cabin size case and a small passport etc size bag. I stay the night with a Jude, and then lunchtime on Wednesday, Hugh drops us back off at Oxenholme to catch the train to London. It’s my son’s birthday and I ring to chat to him and feel a little homesick before I have even left the country! Jude and I have journeyed to India together 3 times now and each time we feel stressed and excited in equal measure. We have developed small rituals now.. almond cookies and a cup of tea on the train to London marks the start of the journey..and a travel sickness tablet for me! We then both rummage in bags for things we think we have forgotten and generally find them. It’s comforting!

In London we wait at Euston about 20 minutes for Barbara who is arriving in on a different train. We soon see her huffing up the concourse, pulling two ominously large bags with her.. so far so good. We are a team of three!

We jump in an Uber with all our bags and head across London to a Heathrow hotel. We have a minor hiccup with our room booking, but once sorted we dump our bags and head to the bar ( no indecent haste, rest assured)!

The following morning ( Thursday 9th January) we are up early ready to meet the rest of the team at terminal 5. One by one we find each other, Sally, Marta, Catherine and Satish. It feels so wonderful and we are all full of beans and full of chat. We have a few more issues…. Sally exploiting the luggage allowance!!! Catherine’s travel jumpsuit! ( don’t ask!)

The acupuncture team 2020!
The acupuncture team 2020!

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Our flight leaves for Ahmedabad on time but we have an extra 90 minutes of flight time as the plane was rerouted for political and safety reasons, giving us a 10.5 hour flight. I feel a little anxious about this as we have a train to catch from Ahmedabad to Rajkot and I know we will now be cutting it fine. Immigration clearance at Ahmedabad is a nightmare, long queues adding to the stress. Eventually, we emerge and secure a couple of taxis to the train station. We know we will be lucky if we catch the train!

It’s a wild ride in the taxi but we all feel we have arrived! Who doesn’t love an Indian taxi journey? We pile out at the station, a fairly shambolic group and race ( no exaggeration) towards the platform that says our train is at. We have a 5 minute window. We literally run with our bags, hurtle downstairs and find…. we are on the wrong platform. Out of nowhere 6 coolies arrive, pile our bags on their heads and instruct us to “ run” as they set off at an unbelievable pace to the correct platform. We hand over the rupees and jump on the train that our bags have been dumped on. The train is heading for Rajkot! We are now starting to feel exhausted, it is about 5am and we have a 4 hour journey ahead of us. The train conductor then informs us that only 1 of us has a confirmed booking and there are not bunks for everyone. Our fellow passengers were sleeping which we don’t quite grasp and manage to waken the entire carriage with the rumpus that ensues! Surprisingly several of them take pity on us however and make space until eventually we get a little cabin for the 6 of us. At this point we had lost Satish at the train station in Ahmedabad!! ( He found his way to Chaparda, don’t worry)

When we arrive in Rajkot we negotiate two tuk tuk drivers to take us to our overnight hotel. This process is rather chaotic as we have attracted a circle of onlookers and drivers offering to take us to our hotel, and demonstrating how 6 passengers, 12 pieces of baggage can fit into two tuk tuks! This journey marked my undoing! I have been on many tuk tuk journeys and this one was not exceptional. Fast, bumpy, thrilling! We get to the hotel remarkably with all our luggage intact and are shown to our lovely rooms. Jude and I shared, but within 5 minutes I am profoundly sick and need to lie down. Things settle quickly and after a wee sleep I feel much better. Jude and I have a cup of tea on our balcony and relish those first few hours of being in India.

We have a really nice dinner all together and then head to various beds ready for the last leg of the journey in the morning !

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We are collected from Rajkot by car and our driver Jay makes easy work of the 3 hour journey to Chaparda. We are all excited to be reunited with the rest of our team and the Ashram staff. We arrive Saturday lunchtime…. it’s been quite a journey, but one I feel privileged to make and hope that I will make it many more times yet!

So that’s my journey, home to chaparda!

Fundraising Teamwork

In this blog Marta Koszo describes how she raised funds to support what will be her first visit to Chaparda.

I first learned about World Medicine and the Chaparda project during my second year of acupuncture studies when I attended the ACMAC conference in 2016.

I was amazed at the wonderful work they have been undertaking for several years and wanted to join them. However, I was not yet a qualified acupuncturist. The requirement is to have at least one year of experience as a practitioner before one could apply. So after graduating in 2018, I applied and was accepted to be part of the 2020 Chaparda team.

In January 2020, I will be going to Gujarat in India as part of a 12- member World Medicine team made up of 6 acupuncture practitioners and 6 interpreters, to provide acupuncture to local people of the area. We will be treating for 3 weeks and expect to provide in excess of 1500 treatments, using 30,000+ needles in that time, approximately 6000 needles per practitioner!

Click the photographs for a full size image...

Marta doing cupping and Gua Sha at the fundraising day

World Medicine projects are often self-funded, meaning that we volunteers have to fund-raise to cover costs of travel and clinical supplies. As I was trying to figure out what I could do to raise funds for my trip, I realised that the best way to do it was to offer acupuncture and tui na treatments in exchange for donations! That way, people could receive a treatment whilst contributing to a good cause. And so, I reached out to several colleague practitioners and we set a date that worked for everyone, the 10th of November.

As I also work as a Teaching Assistant at the City College of Acupuncture where I graduated from, I asked for permission to use our clinic and one adjacent classroom for the fundraiser and they kindly agreed without any charge for rental. I also contacted Phoenix Medical and explained the purpose of the event and they generously donated acupuncture needles. I advertised the event on several social media platforms, as well as through my network of friends and colleagues and the acupuncture students at our college.

My team of 6 very enthusiastic practitioners for the fundraiser were graduates as well as acupuncture student practitioners from our City College of Acupuncture who are qualified in tui na and the NADA protocol. I had set up a booking schedule for tui na and body acupuncture treatments, whereas the NADA treatments were set up as drop- in. Tea, fruits and biscuits were offered as refreshments and treats in the waiting hall.

Kaye doing Tui Na at the fundraising day
Sophie doing the NADA Protocol at the fundraising day

The response we had from people coming, and the atmosphere on the day, was amazing! We used the opportunity to talk to people in the waiting hall about Chinese Medicine and benefits of acupuncture and tui na, over a nice cup of tea. That resulted in having some of the people who came for the NADA treatment, wanting to wait and try tui na or body acupuncture, as they hadn’t experienced it before! Everyone attending the fundraiser made generous donations and some even asked if we are going to organise similar events, as they would recommend it to friends and family.

Fleur doing Tui Na at the fundraising day
Annette doing the NADA protocol at the fundraising day

The outcome of the fundraiser was more than incredible - we raised a total of £450! I have also received generous donations prior to the event from people who wanted to contribute but were unable to attend. I continued to receive donations for a couple of weeks after the fundraiser, reaching the grand total of £800! These funds will be sufficient to cover my travel costs and clinical equipment.

Besides the needles we will need for the 2020 visit I will also purchase additional equipment that will remain in Chaparda for future use, such as glass cups for cupping treatments and one machine for electro-acupuncture.

I feel really humbled by the result of the fundraiser but it couldn’t have happened without the selfless help of my colleagues Anjulie, Kaye, Fleur, Annette and Sophie. I feel really grateful to all of them for being so enthusiastic and donating their amazing skills and time!

Anjulie doing acupuncture at the fundrasing day
Thank you to everyone for supporting me!

Acupuncture Clinic in Nepal

A guest blog from Gwenan Evans, about a volunteer clinic in Nepal.

AcuAid Nepal Project Summary November 2019.

My colleague Anna Jolly and myself, both members of the British Acupuncture Council for the past 10 years, are going out to Sindupalchok district in Nepal in March/April 2020 to help establish an acupuncture clinic at a rural health centre which serves several mountain villages in an area around 60 miles north of Kathmandu.

Sindupalchok was the worst hit area in Nepal with the highest death rates caused by the devastating earthquake in 2015. They are gradually rebuilding their lives and services for the scattered community. The Palchok Health Post in Helambhu-6 village is run by the amazing Tamang Sancha, who goes out of his way to provide healthcare in this remote and poor region.

We will be taking out both acupuncture supplies (needles, moxa, gua sha and cupping tools) and general medical supplies that Tamang Sancha has asked for such as bandages and dressings, foetal heart monitors etc. We plan to spend 6 weeks living and working at the main health post, and to accompany Tamang Sancha on two of his monthly visits to his main outreach clinic which is several hours’ hike from the village.

All the money we raise will go towards equipping the clinic, so that we can provide as many supplies as possible and allow us to buy basic equipment such as treatment couches.

This is a community which is very familiar with hardship and which is striving to rebuild itself after the devastation wrought by the earthquake 4 years ago. The immediate phase when international attention was focused on the region, and aid poured in, is long gone, and they are now trying to establish an infrastructure which will improve the healthcare of the population on a sustainable ongoing basis.

We have set up a fundraising page via JustGiving, which has the above details plus some photographs. The page link is justgiving.com/crowdfunding/acuaidnepal.

Gwenan Evans

Experience at Grenfell

My Experience at Grenfell

Sarah Clifford, one of the volunteers who offers acupuncture to victims and families of the Grenfell Tower fire, reflects on her experience using the NADA Protocol:

 

The community atmosphere is heartwarming.  Living far from London I am only able to get to the centre once a month; however, after each session I come away feeling like one of the community. It is great to be able to offer help to a group so willing to receive it.

Being a non-verbal therapy, the NADA protocol allows the client and therapist the space to communicate in different ways. Often this leads to a profound level of communication, as without words I have found a common ground is always reached. This allows for a deeper treatment.

With the intention of creating a quiet yin atmosphere in the room, it’s always a miracle to me to witness the clients experiencing true relaxation.  To me this is what makes the NADA protocol so unique.  It allows a deep ability to experience relaxation, which in turn results in physical and mental healing.

I come away feeling inspired and energised at the same time.

To me, NADA is a true gift that needs to be spread to different communities, both at work and at home.  To be able to work in a relaxed way when there are so many pressures in life, is a challenge for everyone. I feel hopeful however that whoever comes to these sessions may leave feeling  brighter, lighter and more at peace.

Chatting About Chaparda

During the October training weekend for Chaparda 2020 four current and former volunteers members of the team, Emma, Alison, Jude and Barbara (behind the camera!) met to talk about the experience of working in Chaparda over the years, and what new volunteers can expect from the experience.

It's just over 8 minutes in length and very informative, so grab a cup of tea, click the video, and listen in!

World Medicine and the Chinese Medicine Forestry Trust

A Guest Blog by Peter Deadman, Director of the Chinese Medicine Forestry Trust, with an Introduction by Emma Vaughan on behalf of the Trustees of World Medicine:

It is impossible not to be deeply moved by the distress our planet is in. Climate change is affecting us all and we should and must be alarmed. 

As trustees at World Medicine, we have looked at our own position as a charity and the impact on the environment that our projects may have. Our sincere wish to minimise this impact is measured against what we genuinely believe to be a very positive experience on a human level for disadvantaged communities that would not have access within their own country to the skills and resources that we bring. Often we treat people whose complex health issues have prevented them from working. This can have a profoundly challenging influence on their wider family and so we will continue to bring relief where we can, and nurture our projects in the areas of the world where we recognise health choices are lacking and deprivation is endemic. 

Recently a group of acupuncture practitioners set up the Chinese Medicine Forestry Trust, a charity aimed at encouraging investment in global reforestation projects.

It is our intention to support this trust by donating a monetary sum to help redress the impact of our carbon footprint, collectively accumulated on our travel to and from our projects.

Peter Deadman, who will be a familiar name to many of us in the Chinese Medicine community is a trustee for this project and it is our great privilege to have him contribute to this blog:

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I have long been inspired by the ancient Chinese Daoist philosophy which places humans at the heart of the natural world. It teaches us that we are neither superior nor inferior but seamlessly integrated with all phenomena – living or not. Nature is a place of belonging and being in nature is a rich source of health and wellbeing.

Hiking in forests, hills or mountains; gazing on valleys, green meadows, winding rivers and snow-capped peaks; strolling though city parks as springtime trees unfurl with new life; kicking through piles of autumn leaves; digging our hands into rich earth to plant seeds and bulbs; watching the sea in all its moods and colours – we allow the forms, smells and sounds of nature to fill our senses. These are not the linear and conscious designs of the city (however wonderful they may be), but an infinitely varied and complex environment that has designed itself according to natural laws. And we, of course are part of it all, and until very recently in our evolutionary history lived fully immersed in it. It is no surprise, then, to find that we benefit – physically, emotionally, mentally and socially – from our connection with nature, and that we suffer when we destroy it.

There is ample evidence that walking in nature – especially in forests (the Japanese call it ‘forest bathing’) – lowers stress hormones and blood pressure and increases wellbeing. Living close to trees or within sight of green spaces reduces rates of physical and mental  disease and even results in reduced aggression and lower crime rates.

But the sad truth is that we are now destroying our beautiful natural world at an ever-increasing pace. Forests are burning, and climate change, agricultural and development policies and consumerist lifestyles are inflicting what is known as the ‘sixth wave of extinction’, with up to 100,000 plant and animal species disappearing every year.  The Center for Biological Diversity describes it as the worst spate of species die-offs since the loss of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. This is not just a tragedy in its own right, but a cause of real alarm for all of us. Collapse of the marine and soil environment, rapid insect and species extinction, and climate chaos are having what The Lancet medical journal calls “very serious and potentially catastrophic effects for human health and human survival”.

Those of us who love nature, who understand how we are inseparably linked to the natural world, and who want to preserve its wonders for future generations, are being called on to speak out and to act in every way we can to protect and preserve this beautiful planet and all the life that inhabits it.

We can do this in multiple ways. We can change our personal lifestyles, trying to consume less, fly less, eat organically grown food wherever possible and so on. We can do it by supporting organisations and politicians that put the environment at the heart of their policies. And we can do it by taking the simple step of planting trees.

Trees are wonderful creatures. They absorb and sequester carbon, give forth oxygen, provide food and a home for thousands of species, anchor the soil, counter flooding and make us happy. There is growing evidence that they also communicate with and protect each other and support their young.

That is why – with colleagues – I have set up the Chinese Medicine Forestry Trust to plant trees and protect forests. We are asking everyone involved with Chinese medicine – practitioners, patients, students, professional organisations, schools and businesses to donate (preferably with a regular monthly donation). All the money we receive goes straight to three organisations – The World Land Trust, Tree Nation and the Woodland Trust. All of them sensitively plant and protect suitable tree species using local labour, rather than the great sterile, monoculture plantations that many carbon offset companies are responsible for planting.

And since planting and protecting one tree can cost as little as a single dollar, a regular monthly donation of a few pounds means you can go to bed every night in the knowledge that you are personally helping to plant dozens of beautiful life-giving trees every year.

Peter Deadman (peterdeadman.co.uk)

NADA Acupuncture at Al Manaar Mosque post Grenfell

To coincide with publication of the first phase of the report into the Grenfell Tower fire, Rachel Peckham, director of the World Medicine project there, reflects on the the work carried out with survivors.

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NADA Acupuncture at Al Manaar Mosque post Grenfell

The unimaginable event that was the Grenfell Tower block fire happened last year on June 14th. Nearly 80 people are known to have lost their lives. It was and remains horrific. Nearly a year later, the block stands as a crime scene only partially covered by scaffolding and white sheeting. Mental health experts say the haunting image of Grenfell against the skyline is affecting both survivors and the community. Latest reports say that 11,000 people in the surrounding areas as well as survivors will experience mental health problems as a result of this terrible tragedy.

The huge volume of help that arrived literally from the next day onwards was extraordinary and wonderful. I live and work five miles from the area and have patients and NADA contacts who were involved with that very early support. They would report how the distress was unbearable and that the chaos was very difficult to deal with. Understandably there was and is a lot of anger.

Dr Michael Smith MD DAc (1942 – 2017) was the director of the Lincoln Recovery Centre in the South Bronx, New York, and he is the founder of the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association – most commonly know as NADA. Dr Smith used the acronym NADA because it means nothing in Spanish. The NADA protocol is a simple Taoist-based concept of acting without acting. Taoist philosophy suggests that the name NADA is important, because, as Dr Smith has told us, in treating people we do a lot, maybe even too much, and we can forget that the rest of life is out there. Until you get out of things, you can get trapped by your own mind. NADA has to be simple because everything else is so complicated.

And the fire at Grenfell Tower falls most unfortunately into these latter categories. I was in admiration of the acupuncturists who were there at this time, treating and helping all who were affected – and managing to do this on the streets amidst all the chaos. At this point I was thinking of the work that had been done by NADA US following the Twin Towers attack 9/11. A NADA clinic was started two weeks subsequently at St Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan, close to Ground Zero. I’ve been showing a short film to NADA trainees every time I run a NADA training about the St Vincent’s clinic, plus other trauma settings where NADA has been offered. The film, Unimagined Bridges, demonstrates the power of NADA acupuncture in helping to cope with trauma following a catastrophic event. This clinic ran regularly until 2010 and was open to anyone affected by the event. It showed that people chose to have acupuncture rather than counseling as they didn’t want to talk about the trauma. Reports showed that the acupuncture helped with sleep, anxiety, grief and generally enabling people to feel a sense of calm. Plus it brought communities together as people sat quietly in a group all having acupuncture treatment for a common cause.

I began to have telephone conversations with Alison Gould chairperson of World Medicine Charitable Trust, and we spoke about the possibility of a collaboration between NADA GB and World Medicine (WM) to set up a volunteer service delivering NADA treatments. I also spoke to Gisela Norman and later on Sheira Kahn who were among the first responders of acupuncture and did such a remarkable job in terrible conditions. They went on to head up Emergency Acupuncture, a large body of volunteers which preceded the NADA clinics we began delivering four months after the fire.

Emergency Acupuncture had established a venue at the Al Manaar Mosque in North Kensington and had been given a room for delivering acupuncture treatments. The mosque wanted to continue the service as they had seen the benefits acupuncture treatment was bringing to the survivors and to the Grenfell community. This was clearly something NADA could offer, so early in August last year Gisela set up a meeting with myself and Mr Sayed, CEO at the Mosque. We agreed to start a weekly NADA clinic there and committed to run clinics for a year provided the service was taken up. The clinics started on 3rd October and have been running weekly on Tuesday mornings ever since.

Later in August, World Medicine held a NADA training day for BAcC members who wished to volunteer at the then future NADA clinic at Al Manaar Mosque. I ran the training which was free of charge. All the World Medicine trustees at that time were there plus eight attendees, a few of whom had already volunteered at Grenfell under the auspices of Emergency Acupuncture.

Read More…

Fundraising – How We Use What You Give Us

This month, Barbara, Catherine and Emma (supported by Dave, Barbara’s husband!!) all part of Chaparda 2020 team, head to Edinburgh to take on The Big Stroll a 15 mile walk through historic Edinburgh.

We have been very committed to fundraising through 2019 and this will be the third walk by various combinations of the team to raise money for World Medicine. ALL funds raised for World Medicine are used to support our projects and apart from a small amount of administrative running costs we have no fixed overheads that require donated money to be used for.

We have two projects at the moment. One in London, providing auricular acupuncture for the community impacted by the Grenfell disaster – a lot of this work focuses on post traumatic stress. (For further reading on this condition and how acupuncture can help go to acupuncture.org.uk) Costs for this project include, auricular needles, sharp boxes, insurance and training etc. Annual costs at present stand at around £1000 annually.

Our second project is in India, and January 2020 will see a team of acupuncturists and interpreters travel to Chaparda to run an acupuncture clinic for 3 weeks. One of the reasons that we remain committed to this work is because over the years we have witnessed incredible healing in our Indian patients, that in turn has allowed them to continue working and supporting their own families. This is key to our work, bringing effective treatment to areas where healthcare resources are limited. Each year the numbers attending our clinics continue to grow and the impact of our work continues to spread out into the surrounding communities.

Travel is the biggest cost to the volunteers and stands around £700 per person.

We have estimated each acupuncturist will need 5000 needles each for our next project so, a total of 30,000 needles. A box of 1000 needles costs approximately £24. This year our needles will cost us around £720. In addition many of us will use moxabustion therapy and so we may spend a further £100 on moxa. Other equipment includes, sharps boxes, forceps, cupping sets, alcohol wipes, cotton wool, hand sanitizer, paper for documentation etc. Another cost is insurance and training.

This year we plan to offset our carbon footprint as a charity by donating the carbon cost of our travel into an environmental project as local to our project as we can manage. (Look out for future blogs with further information about this!)

We very much hope that our supporters understand just how much we appreciate their willingness to help us raise money. We are passionate about our work and we know that many, many people, who will never be able to voice their gratitude personally, are similarly appreciative for the opportunity to benefit from the service that World Medicine offers.

Spotlight on World Medicine Translators

Emma Vaughan, one of our Trustees and a volunteer in Chaparda, reflects on working with translators:

Our work in India would not be possible without the skill, dedication and patience of our amazing translators. They form an integral part of the team and enable communication between patients and practitioners in a highly skilled and sensitive manner.

We ask them to offer literal translations rather than summarising conversations in order for our practitioners to develop a greater sense of what is really going on, and, most importantly so that they can identify what the patients’ needs are. This unique 3-way rapport can provide surprisingly rich, moving and sometimes humorous encounters.

Our current Gujarat speaking team of volunteer translators are fabulous, bringing a sense of compassion and integrity to their work that has been invaluable. They come with a great deal of goodwill, committing a lot of time at their own expense and have maintained strong, personal investment in the work of World Medicine.

Batul and Najma are two of our volunteer translators:

Batul describes her experience:

I thoroughly enjoy being a translator and part of the World Medicine team. It is a very rewarding experience and one that has seen me about to return for my third time in January 2020.

It feels good to be part of a project where you can witness on a daily basis the positive impact on patients’ lives.

On our last trip, Barbara and I saw a young man, a diamond polisher who attended the clinic with multiple problems that had resulted in very poor mobility. His medical history was complex resulting in many visits to hospitals, different specialists and complementary therapists. He was feeling desperate and was doing everything he could do help himself – including walking on cow dung! Over his course of acupuncture with Barbara, we observed gradual improvements in his mobility and more importantly he himself started to feel the change. It was fantastic to see, and also to be part of a process that brings positive changes to people’s lives. I definitely appreciate the contribution the whole team make to the people living around Chaparda who have no access to this type of health care. To provide the service at no cost to the patients is even more amazing!

Najma, another seasoned translator and also a trustee for World Medicine reflects on the collaboration of the team:

I see my role of translator as a bridge between patients and practitioners. By feeding back to the practitioner the content of the patients’ story and what had bought them to the clinic we are able to begin a course of treatment, tailored to the patient’s problems and subsequent progress.

There have been times when it feels emotionally challenging, relaying these personal stories to the practitioner as often their issues reflect the harsh reality of living in isolated, rural communities. However, there are often lighter, funny and touching moments too. I was once very impressed when a patient very eloquently asked me “if the “doctor” could reduce the tyre around her waist!”….a familiar wish that many of us are conscious of these days!

It is easy for these nuances to be lost in translation but I believe that the team works effectively and efficiently so that every patients experience with World Medicine is a positive and worthwhile one. 

Of all the work I have done in my life, I can honestly say that my work as a translator in this setting has been both the most rewarding and the most enjoyable. 

Although our current projects are based in the UK and India, we are keen to build a database of volunteers who speak a second or indeed several languages who may like to consider working with us in the future.

Please get in touch if you are interested in working with us! We absolutely need you!