International

An African Funeral or Two...

You haven't partied until you've attended a funeral in Ghana - or, at least, in this region of the country where I've spent the last month.  Apparently, celebrating the dead is the main social event that takes place here.  They don't do birthdays and I haven't heard mention of a wedding, but I've seen more funerals than I can count.   

It is hard to miss them because they are three-day public affairs occupying the village center or some such prominent location to which, it seems, everyone is invited, regardless of their connection - or lack thereof - to the deceased.  

The Hope Homeopathy Clinic

Mafi Kumase is a small town of 2500 persons in the Volta region of Western Ghana, about an hour from the border with Togo.  Other than its technical high school and a weekly market, it is a fairly nondescript place: basically a crossroads with low slung shops, cinderblock houses and simple structures that serve as churches.  The main thoroughfare is busy with 2-, 3- and 4-wheeled vehicles, herds of goats and groups of schoolchildren.  

To the outsider's eye, what is most striking are a handful of buttes that rise up in and around the town as well as the plastic garbage strewn everywhere.  The buttes make for nice hikes and views over the surrounding fields of cassava and okra.  The plastic is an eyesore and probable health hazard that makes one not want to look too closely.

The Hope Homeopathy Clinic is located just at the outskirts of town on the main road.  It consists of a few rooms and front porch of a house set back behind some shops and another home.  But it is a well-utilized facility that everyone in town knows - along with the man who created and runs it.

Autopathy

15 years ago a Czech homeopath by the name of Jiri Cehovsky unveiled a unique form of treatment that he called 'Autopathy'.  With antecedents in a number of ancient healing arts as well as drawing heavily on the principles of homeopathy, autopathy - as the name implies- is a form of self-treatment that is applicable to a broad range of ailments both acute and chronic, physical and mental.  Amongst many conditions that can be treated, it has been shown to be especially effective in the treatment of skin diseases like eczema and pathologies of uncertain cause such as autoimmune diseases. 

Haiti, Cholera and Homeopathy

A weather disturbance known as a 'tropical wave' was detected off the Atlantic coast of Africa on September 25th of this year.  Although it sounds like a tropical wave is a surfing term, in fact, it is used to describe a meteorological event where an elongated area of low pressure - an 'atmospheric trough' - forms along a north-south axis.  Tropical waves tend to move westerly across the tropics causing cloudiness or storms, but can also lead to tropical cyclones.

 This particular event was dubbed 'Invest 97L' at the time - an 'invest' being meteorology-speak for a weather disturbance which is being monitored for cyclone development.  As it moved westward over the next three days, Invest 97 reached the West Indies, becoming an organized weather system with sufficient strength to be dubbed Tropical Storm Matthew.

Swaziland Homeopathy Project

The first thing that really caught my eye in Swaziland was a box of condoms. I had flown into Johannesburg that morning, hopped on a minibus headed to the Swazi capital, Mbabane, a four hour drive eastward. As we approached the South African – Swazi border, the bus began climbing steadily and finally stopped at the crossing that was nestled in a low mountain pass.   We were instructed to disembark to present our documentation to the immigration officials.

The driver led us into a low-slung building where we queued up at a window, handing over our passports to be stamped one by one. It didn’t take long. I hardly had time to read the few posters on the wall reminding one and all of the deleterious effects of graft and corruption on the Kingdom.   When my turn came and I approached the window, there it was on the shelf in front of me – a big box of condoms free for the taking.