So many patients had reported quick and good results. The children especially were so receptive and susceptible to energy and herbal medicine. And how wonderful to see how much a little caring touch and attention can accomplish to restore a sick child back to health.
I just got an email from Soma Glick who has just returned home after an amazing trip to rural India where she organized a course and clinic for Tibetans. Below is a short slide show from her travels and below that I am including the letter she wrote about her experience there. Soma will be teaching this course at White Pine Institute this June as part of our pediatric series. How wonderful!
Letter from Soma
This 2010 trip to India was very special. Somnath and I offered for the first time in India, the 2-week intensive course on Oriental Medicine pediatrics and obstetrics, which I’ve been teaching in Bali for the last 5 years. It took place in Mc Leod Ganj, Dharamsala, during the first 2 weeks of October Mc Leod Ganj, a little hamlet up in the Himalayas, is home for a large settlement of Tibetans in exile and the residence of the Dalai Lama in India.
A few years ago, through the recommendation of an old friend, Somnath and I discovered an authentic, beautiful and tucked-away Tibetan monastery perched up on a hillside, all surrounded by a forest and with a sweeping view of the Kangra valley to the South.
The idea of bringing our medical group there came when the director of the monastery shared with us that they were receiving a large donation to build a brand new 2-storey building with large and comfortable rooms .to replace one of the old, decrepit ones.
The monastery, which had been destroyed in Tibet and rebuilt in India some 20 years back, houses a beautiful temple, offices, large classrooms for the monks, a kitchen, dining-halls and 2 guest buildings, housing 20 to 30 people, for groups or visitors. Close to the temple are the quarters for the monks. About 60 monks ranging from 5 to 65 years of age permanently live and study there. The main source of income for the monastery comes from donations or paying guests.
When we showed the director some pictures of our past Bali groups, he loved the idea and decided to introduce us to the owner of a crèche and kinder garden that takes care of some 200 Tibetan children.
Mr. Dawa and his wife Mrs Jampa were both welcoming and positive and Somnath started sending invitations to the participants and arranging the many and challenging logistics of organizing such a course, as soon as we returned to Bali.
10 doctors of Oriental Medicine coming from the US, Australia and Ireland were selected for this course and 9 made it. They all had done the Bali course previously and were mature and experienced doctors; a few of them having been in practice for 10 to 15 years.
Except for one American lady of Indian ancestry, all of them were coming to India for the first time. Most came alone and a few brought their spouse or significant friend along. India is a challenging experience for everyone, yet from the very first day, I could see a glow on their face and sense a feeling of awe and excitement in all of them.
The course consisted of 8 morning classes held in the monastery library, which had been converted to a classroom for our needs and 8 afternoon clinics where we treated children and women on alternate days at the kinder garden located in the town.
The first clinic set the tone for the course. The owner of the school had transformed one large classroom on the school ground into a clinic, with make-shift massage tables, chairs and small tables for each doctor’s tools and acupuncture equipment. We were also provided with 9 Tibetan translators
Dozens of children accompanied by adults were already waiting by the door of the clinic while the doctors found their respective stations and laid-out their equipment. My role was to take charge of the large supply of Chinese herbal medicines, donated by the doctors and brought in their luggage, and to supervise all 9 tables. After I gave a demonstration of the acupuncture technique used specially for children on the first patient, each doctor got to work. Child after child kept coming. It was like an unending wave, the next child waiting right by the table even before the first was done. The doctors worked tirelessly. There were some amazing stories and cases. Some of these children were orphans and for many, their family had undergone some major hardship to get to India. There were some tears and lots of laughter and so much gratitude for what the doctors were offering.
One hour past the time the clinic was supposed to end, I had to ask the staff of the school who were registering and letting in the patients, to turn the rest away and ask them to come back the next day. We saw 78 patients that day in the course of 4 hours.
The doctors were overwhelmed and exhausted but radiant.
Coincidently, on the very same day that the course started, His Holiness the Dalai Lama also started 4 days of Tibetan Buddhist teachings. His talks took place at his palace, which include his residence and a complex of beautiful temples. We scheduled one day off during the course for the doctors to go to the talks, and it was a great opportunity for them to attend this huge public event and experience the love and devotion the Tibetan people have for their leader.
We started each day by sharing breakfast together in one of the monastery’ s dining-halls. The hot porridge tasted so good on the many cool or drizzly mornings. Before the class started, some of the doctors went on a brisk hike up the 300 stairs connecting the monastery to the town. Better than going to the gym! During the class, we went over the interesting cases from the previous day’s afternoon clinic before diving in the curriculum of the day.
So many patients had reported quick and good results. The children especially were so receptive and susceptible to energy and herbal medicine. And how wonderful to see how much a little caring touch and attention can accomplish to restore a sick child back to health. Word about the clinic spread further and some teachers from the Tibetan Children Village brought us several children with more severe cases from their school Many of these children were separated from their parents and lived in communal homes and had suffered some kind of trauma. The complaints ranged from difficulty learning at school to severe emotional imbalances. Some had vacant stares and many wet their beds. For these children especially, the results were striking and we could sometimes see their eyes or complexion change right at the end of one treatment.
For many of these doctors who have a prosperous, busy practice and a sheltered, comfortable life, these 2 weeks of intensely giving without reserve or holding back, were a life transforming and healing time for them also.
Here are some excerpts from the feedback we received after they got back home:
“Hi Soma and Somnath
Every day I smell the sandlewood mala and touch the red string that is tied on my wrist and remember the amazing experience, the people and the place we all shared together. I am so thankful that you included me in the group. It was such a special time even though it was difficult at times or maybe because it was hard I appreciated the journey for what it was even more. Both of you are such special souls with genuine spirits of warmth and love that I felt safe and protected. The women acupuncturists were so great as people that it was such a blessing to hang out with them and go through this experience together. I know I will be going back. I appreciate both of you so much and what you have organized for that community with these clinics for them. I know I will get to Bali and India again and would love to take another trip with both of you. Thanks again for sending the flyer.”
“Hi Soma and Somnath,
Finally, How are you? We just got back to LA a few weeks ago. I just could not write or contact anyone until I settled in again. I am sure you know what I mean. What can I say? It was so wonderful to see you both. Like 2 yrs never passed. I can only imagine how much time you both put into this new workshop. It was great and we all connected so well. Thank you for letting Linda come. She is still thrilled like me. I had a fabulous, emotionally charged, relaxing, moving, peaceful experience. It was a beautiful place. The monastery and its location was the best. I liked hiking those stairs. I am having a hard time though trying to re-enter the western hospital work center. I am passionate about my nurse-midwifery and love my pts. But, after being away for 1 month and not having to deal with the bureaucracy of the hospital and the responsibility, I just cannot get into it. The energies are off. I just so not want to be there. My acupuncture practice is different since it is my private place.
Anyway, everything is fine. Alan and I had a chance to be together and re-connect for a long period. It was the best. He is so happy with the trip and was in awe too.
Please keep in touch and know that I think of you both everyday and cherish this experience.”
And besides basking in this beautiful spirit of altruism, the doctors also got to play tourist, having fun exploring the town and surroundings, dining in great local restaurants in the evening, and doing some fabulous shopping amongst the hundreds of Tibetan and Indian handicraft shops, ranging from jewelry, ritual art and exotic clothes and textiles.