Acupuncturists Treat 1,100 in the District of Quiche

“Sure, it would be easier to ‘just do it,’ but, when they practice they gain confidence. It does take some time for them to improve but, in the end, they own it.”

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SPANISH TRANSLATION SIGUE

The Integrative Health Project’s Clinical  Director, Dr. Joan Boccino, D.A.O.M enrolled a mighty and nimble group of volunteers to treat Quiche speaking Mayans in the highlands of Guatemala.  This team came from both coasts and, almost everyone, except the Treasurer, was new.

I got to Santa Cruz del Quiche in plenty of time to meet the troops. The chicken bus had flown low, slicing around the curves in well under three hours.  I was delighted to meet and have tHe opportunity to introduce Antonio Provencio, Boris Bernadsky, Sidnee Chong, Jill Jancic and Sharon Smith  to the Barbara Ford Center for Peace. The compound would be their “homebase” for the next week.

The gang of us wandered off and outside the gates to get a view of the Quiche valley and to see the homes of the tenant farmers and, at last, to gaze upon a meadow feeding a few , skinny cows. This idyll proved deceptively tranquil as you will see.

By supper, Jeenie Miyoung Chung, L.Ac., Jennie Walker, M.D., Miguel Landron had arrived and that was almost everybody except the very welcome, “pick-up,” translator from Santiago.  This time, this opening day was symbolized by two snakes. Like the underground deities of the Greeks, snakes also symbolize the power of medicine for Mayans (1.).  The opening speech proved both appropriate and auspicious…

Saturday Joan gave out hugs and words of appreciation to the health promoters, all of whom had earned Certificates of Completion for their successful application of Moxibustion, Auricular Acupuncture and Gua Sha over the past year.  They were proud and, appeared a bit surprised to receive the formal recognition.

Then, it was back to class for more instruction on how to work in their own field Clinics, the Yin and Yang of the ear, fifteen new protocols and internal organ massage.  Sharon Smith instructed us in this art  called”Chi Nei Tsang.”  There was time set aside for practice in order to integrate the new lessons before the mini-clinic opened on Sunday.  Despite the sometimes slow pace of her students, Joan is very supportive of them as they ascend the learning curve.

“Sure, it would be easier to ‘just do it,’ but, when they practice they gain confidence.  It does take some time for them to improve but, in the end, they own it.”

As usual, patients enjoyed the relaxation exercises – whether they  were called (improperly) “Yoga” or whether they were correctly named “Qi Gong,” and considered an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine.   Jill and Sidnee spelled Sharon Smith in leading the exercise module.  For one class, I translated for Jill as she put on a very laugh-y session.  After that, from time to time, I would catch her coaxing some folks into a playful balancing circle.

As always, Claudia Castillo rocked the kitchen – she doled out lots of delightful green sauce and we wildly put it on everything from waffles to ratatouille.  Only a birthday cake (a pineapple upside down confection big enough to feed thirty) escaped “greening.”

The first days passed about blur  But, when we returned from Cotzal,  four crew members went down with fevers and Miguel was riddled with bug bites.  Then, there were the snarl-ups on the day known for Four Dog bites – Three patients from Sacapulus would be sent to the hospital for stitches after being attacked by neighbor’s dogs just outside the gates of BFCP.  (The viscious dogs were subsequently impounded.) That night, Jenny Walker would dress a “suspicious” fourth wound — She told us that the patient did not seem mentally stable and, so, following a line of questioning,  the doctor wondered if the woman’s in-laws owned the offending dog that took a chunk out of the patient’s leg.

That evening, as Joan discussed ways to move the patients through all the treatment stations and still give good treatment,  Sabastiana, a medicine woman from Quiche, would tell us that this particular day with it’s horrors was  right on time.  She predicted (correctly,) that the patients would recover and stated that the next day would was a key pivot point called “Batz” -meaning thirteen.   If the group could pull through the next day, she said, that the Medical Jornada would succeed.

And succeed it did, albeit miraculously.  From inside the Pharmacy, where I got tapped as a runner working with Flor and Eva the Jornada appeared unending and, at times, monumental.  This was a somewhat harrowing position to play, but, very light duty, compared to Joan’s and Jeenie’s.   These anchoring acupuncturists, wrote out herbal prescriptions for more than 1,100 patients.

The stalwarts stayed behind on the last evening.  Jeenie, Boris,  Jenny, Sharon completed packing and inventorying the Pharmacy and headed for bed after a late supper.  All hands, were able to attend Flor’s closing ceremony meant to celebrate the team’s fine work and to conclude the volunteers’ week with a special healing.

Thank you everybody..

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(1.)  http://syzygyastro.hubpages.com/hub/The-Sacred-Diamond-Back-Rattle-Snakec

Prior Posts on Global Clinic  - Santa Cruz del Quiche
Brave Team Treats Quiche Maya
Mayan Women are Empowered to Defend Themselves by a Black Belt
Acupuncturists Launch Sustainable Treat and Train Mission in Guatemala
Mayans Rediscover Acupuncture at Centro de Paz Barbara Ford
Acupuncturists Treat 1,000 Patients in Santa Cruz del Quiche, Zacualpa and San Filipe
Meetings with Remarkable Mayans</

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Director Clínico de la Global Clinic, Joan Boccino , L.Ac. inscrito un grupo poderoso y ágil de voluntarios para tratar de hablar mayas Quiche en las tierras altas de Guatemala . Este equipo vino de ambas costas y , casi todos.

Llegué a Santa Cruz del Quiche temprano en la tarde , después de haber volado bajo , derrapando en las curvas y en menos de tres horas a través de bus de pollo . Yo estaba encantado de conocer y orientar ligeramente Antonio Provencio , Boris Bernadsky , Sidnee Chong , Jill Jancic y Sharon Smith at “base ” para la próxima semana . Paseamos apagado y fuera de las puertas de conseguir una vista del valle del Quiche y ver las casas de los colonos y , por fin, para contemplar una pradera alimentar unas cuantas vacas , flacas. Este idilio resultó engañosamente tranquilo . En la cena, Jeenie Miyoung Chung, L.Ac. , Jennie Walker , MD , Miguel Landron había llegado y que estaba casi todo el mundo , excepto el ” pick-up “, traductor muy bienvenido, Yeshai Peluquería

En ausencia de la hermana Ginny , Florecilla Manzano , una vez más , dio la invocación. Esta vez, ella dijo que este día de la inauguración fue simbolizado por dos serpientes . Al igual que las deidades subterráneas de los griegos , las serpientes simbolizan también el poder de la medicina de los mayas ( 1 . ) . El discurso de apertura resultó apropiado y auspicioso …

Sábado Joan repartió abrazos y palabras de agradecimiento a los promotores de salud , todos los cuales habían obtenido los Certificados de Finalización de su exitosa aplicación de la moxibustión , la acupuntura auricular y Gua Sha en el último año . Estaban orgullosos y parecían un poco sorprendido de recibir el reconocimiento formal.

Luego , fue a clase para obtener más instrucciones sobre la forma de trabajar en sus propias clínicas de campo , el Yin y el Yang de la oreja, quince nuevos protocolos y masaje de órganos internos . Sharon Smith nos instruyó en el arte del Chi Nei Tsang . No había tiempo destinado a la práctica con el fin de integrar las nuevas lecciones antes de la mini- clínica abrió el domingo . A pesar de la a veces lento ritmo de sus estudiantes , Joan es muy tolerante con el ritmo a medida que ascienden la curva de aprendizaje .

“Por supuesto , sería más fácil simplemente hacerlo, pero , cuando practican ganan confianza . Hace falta algo de tiempo para que puedan mejorar , pero , al final, que lo posee ” .

Como es habitual , los pacientes disfrutan de los ejercicios de relajación – si fueron llamados ( incorrectamente ) “Yoga ” o si fueron nombrados correctamente “Qi Gong “, y consideran una parte integral de la Medicina Tradicional China. Jill y Sidnee escanda Sharon Smith en este . Traduje para Jill mientras se ponía una clase que era muy reír -y. Y , de vez en cuando me gustaría recuperar el persuadir a algunas personas en un círculo de equilibrio juguetona.

Claudia Castillo sacudió la cocina – se repartió un montón de salsa verde delicia y violentamente se lo puso todo de gofres con pisto. Sólo la torta de cumpleaños de Alice Kim ( una piña al revés confección suficientemente grande para alimentar a treinta) escapó ” greening “.

Los días pasaron rápidamente. Pero cuando volvimos de Cotzal , tres miembros de la tripulación se hundieron con fiebres . Luego , estaba el lío en el día de los Cuatro mordeduras de perro – Tres pacientes de Sacapulus serían enviados al hospital después de ser atacado por los perros de los vecinos a las afueras de las puertas de BFCP . ( . Los perros infractores fueron confiscados por la policía ) Jenny Walker se vestiría un ” sospechoso” cuarta herida – El paciente no parecía mentalmente estable y el médico le preguntó si habían poseído el perro que arrancó un trozo de la pierna del paciente. Esa noche, mientras Joan discutió maneras de mover a los pacientes a través de todas las estaciones de tratamiento y aún así dar un buen tratamiento, Sabastiana , una curandera del Quiche , nos diría que este día en particular , con sus horrores estaban justo a tiempo. Ella predijo ( correctamente ) que los pacientes se recuperen y se indica que el día siguiente sería es un punto de giro clave llamada ” Batz ” – es decir, trece años. Si el grupo podría salir adelante al día siguiente, dijo, que la Jornada Médica tendría éxito.

Y lo logró , milagrosamente . Desde el interior de la farmacia , donde me hice tapping como corredor trabajar con Flor y Eva la Jornada parecía interminable e, incluso, monumental. Esta era una posición un tanto angustioso para jugar, pero , el deber muy ligero, en comparación con el de Joan y de Jeenie . Los acupunturistas anclaje , escribió las recetas a base de hierbas para 1100 pacientes.

Los incondicionales se quedaron en la última noche . Jeenie , Boris , Jenny , Sharon completó embalaje e inventario de la farmacia y se dirigió a la cama después de una cena tardía . Todas las manos , pudieron I asistir a la ceremonia de clausura de Flor quiere celebrar bien el trabajo del equipo y para concluir la semana de los voluntarios con una curación especial.

Gracias a todos ..

( 1 . ) Http://syzygyastro.hubpages.com/hub/The-Sacred-Diamond-Back-Rattle-Snakec

Traditional Chinese Medicine Professionals Volunteer to Treat and Train in Guatemala

Other posts on Barbara Ford Center for Peace  - Santa Cruz del Quiche
Brave Team treats Quiche Maya
Mayans Relax with Yoga at Traditional Chinese Medicine Jornada
Mayan Women are Empowered to Defend Themselves by a Black Belt 
Acupuncturists Launch Sustainable Treat and Train Mission in Guatemala 
Mayans Rediscover Acupuncture at Centro de Paz Barbara Ford
Acupuncturists Treat 1,000 Patients in Santa Cruz del Quiche, Zacualpa and San Filipe
Meetings with Remarkable Mayans

Six practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) volunteered to treat and train indigenous Guatemalan Mayans. The team traveled to the Highlands to work at the Barbara Ford Center for Peace. The outreach was organized between Dr. Joan Boccino, a New York City acupuncturist and Sister Virginia Searing, the Center’s Director. Joan invited four other NYC L.Ac.’s: Norva Bennett, Yefim Gamgoneishvili, Peter Pankin, Dan Wundrlich and Julie Ing Stern (Lic.Ac., joined in from Boston.) Terese Wundrlich (CAT. LMT.) came along to celebrate her birthday. Together this team would identify cases of late stage cancer, Type 1 diabetes and a few serious infections that required immediate attention.

Unlike Western doctors, who are always a bit unsure of diagnoses made in the field. Acupuncturists don’t need lab tests because they place total trust in physical signs. To them, disease presents itself as irregularities in any of the multiple “pulses,” or more evidently, in the color of tongues or texture of skin. Because this is their process, the healers were very “hands on.” They gently massaged bellies -young and old – rubbing one way to relieve diarrhea and the other to alleviate constipation. So far off the CDC grid were they, that after giving a treatment, they would teach the families how to take care of their own. Such careful instruction is an integral part of TCM delivery. The simple traditional Chinese remedies (including burning moxibustion sticks) were quickly transmitted and easily understood. This was a miracle in itself: instructions had to chain back and forth from Chinese>English > Spanish > Quiche /or/ Ixil dialects…. And, apparently nothing got lost in translation. To handle the daily load of over 200 patients, even the Center’s gardeners, cooks and drivers were needed to assist the volunteers. By the week’s end, they were ready to ask the questions about dreams and wind on their own. Sometimes intake got a bit too efficient – running ahead of the available beds. Late in the day, things got hectic. After ten hours of solid work the “punchy” practitioners would lose sight of where their current patients were. At one point, Peter Pankin turned to his translator and asked (half joking) “How do you say “Shen Min” in Quiche?

Intake was divided into two parts: Temperatures and BP were recorded by the students and the patients were passed on to the intake desk. That desk was always packed with patients and their families, the translators and assisting students all ticking through the question sequence. Sometime into her stint at the desk, Joan Boccino observed that something very obvious was not being reported: coughs. (Lung problems are prevalent because of wood burning stoves and so common, that the patients did not think them worth mentioning.) Yefim and Peter ran the training for the local students in another building leaving only four people to attend to the patients. The lack of acupuncturists during the training slowed things down but, eventually, things flowed so well that each bed looked like a tableau from Rembrandt’s Anatomy lesson. Norva and Julie seemed to be masters of flowing around their crowded beds – all the while pointing out signs and symptoms to their students.

some team members specialize in structural disorders; so, they were fed the most broken old ones and younger patients – with CP, failure to thrive and the effects of malnutrition. In contrast to the other acupuncturists, who quietly needled, these Tui Na experts were active and their results were quite dramatic. They seemed to love their patient’s bones back into place and kneading the tiny, gnarled Mayans until they smiled with relief. In their hands, an inflated rubber glove became a therapeutic device. The ad hoc “balloon” provided enough resistance to make the child strive to compress it between his knees. Dan played with a young boy – encouraging him to tag him on the head and he would tag the boy back. Maybe this was a means of diagnosing; maybe it wasn’t — but joy and healing followed.

Practitioners can’t just walk away knowing what they know and not anguish about follow-up. Yefim was upset; burning on the way back from San Filipe. He had seen a woman with diabetes that required very little money to control. And there was no one there to care for her. Sister Virginia Sears, S. C., would say that San Filipe was the worst case. They have no structure at all- not even a resident church group. Yefim was the first one to volunteer to be back in August.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: HANDS

Hands of acupuncturist, Yefim Gamgoneishvili, working in Guatemala

Hands acupuncturist Yefim Gamgoneishvili, L.Ac, volunteering in the Mayan Highlands of Guatemala.  

Support this work

More on: When Mayans met Acupuncturists in April 2012
Acupuncturists Treat 1,000 Patients in Santa Cruz del Quiche, Zacualpa and San Filipe
Mayans Rediscover Acupuncture at Centro de Paz Barbara Ford
Meetings with Remarkable Mayans

Meetings with Remarkable Mayans

Holding the wings and mildly flapping the shirt I asked them if they liked Quetzals (also the name of the Guatemalan currency.)

The nineteen year old granddaughter did not miss a beat.

“No.” she deadpanned “We prefer Euros.”

A straggly rainbow of Mayans wound their way to the registration table at the Barbara Ford Center for Peace.  There were at least fifty more people waiting to sign in for the afternoon session when I stepped outside to look.   Folks seemed to be traveling in mixed groups of five or more.  Kids, neighbors and supporting family members waited a long time to see the acupuncturists but nobody elbowed or kvetched.  Inside the clinic, the local folks greeted the practitioners in what seemed more like a homecoming than a meeting of healers and patients.  Somehow, the mutual affection was so much more familiar.

Everyone had come prepared to spend the day and shouldered striped bundles.  The hand woven clothes held either babies or lunch.   By noon the slings were empty and young ones played on the wide sunny lawn. Eggs, chicken,chopped beets, beans, rice and tortillas were spread out to be shared.  Inside the clinic, volunteers worked non-stop while I got to relax with the people who were going next. 

I know the ladies from Chichicastenenga by their dark back grounded Victorian floral or flame stitch quipils.  Their thick skirts (cortes) are seamed together with two inch bands.  And I would learn that the ladies from Sacapulas and Santa Cruz del Quiche wear sparkly satin blouses with beady draping over their multicolored cortes. Everybody in traje had flashy belts and aprons with glittering ruffles and zipped pockets.  The wrap-around skirts have no pockets so women keep their calculators and cell phones in the wildly decorative aprons.  Mayans are always ready to make a deal and will flash you a quote on the calculator; it is their commercial bridge.  Sometimes living with Mayans is like one long fashion shoot with accountants.  These illiterate people show lots of cosmo-vision or at least an astonishingly global reach when it comes to finance.

For example, I came upon a particularly well dressed group- three generations of women.  A midwife, her sister, daughter and granddaughter were all looking very fabulous.  So, I approached them (with my camera) to ask for permission to shoot. I had singled out and complemented the Grandmother on her particularly well matching outfit.  Her older sister acted mock miffed and told me all cattily-like that her sister’s timeless traje was the “2002 model. “ I not only “rolled on the floor laughing” I sat down with them to see what else they might have to say. 

We really laughed for a long minute about this first joke. Then the “catty”Grandmother noticed my guipel- with the national bird, the Quetzal, Imageembroidered on it. 

Holding the wings and mildly flapping the shirt I asked them if they liked Quetzals (also the name of the Guatemalan currency.)

The nineteen year old granddaughter did not miss a beat. 

“No.” she deadpanned “We prefer Euros.” 

This was one of the few spoken conversations that I would have.  The rest of the communication was warm and very friendly but never quite as sassy and funny.  

Holding the wings and mildly flapping the shirt I asked them if they liked Quetzals (also the name of the Guatemalan currency.)

The nineteen year old granddaughter did not miss a beat.

“No.” she deadpanned “We prefer Euros.”

When Mayans met Acupuncturists – April 2012

Other posts on the Integrative Health Project        
                              *  Mayan Women are Empowered to Defend Themselves by a Black Belt 
*  Acupuncturists Treat 1,000 Patients in Santa Cruz del Quiche, Zacualpa and San Filipe 
*  NYC Traditional Chinese Medicine Professionals Volunteer to Treat and Train in Guatemala

A straggly rainbow of Mayans wound their way to the registration table at the Barbara Ford Center for Peace.  There were at least fifty more people waiting to sign in for the afternoon session when I stepped outside to look.   Folks seemed to be traveling in mixed groups of five or more.  Kids, neighbors and supporting family members waited a long time to see the acupuncturists but nobody elbowed or kvetched.  Inside the clinic, the local folks greeted the practitioners in what seemed more like a homecoming than a meeting of healers and patients.  Somehow, the mutual affection was so much more familiar.

Everyone had come prepared to spend the day and shouldered striped bundles.  The hand woven clothes held either babies or lunch.   By noon the slings were empty and young ones played on the wide sunny lawn. Eggs, chicken,chopped beets, beans, rice and tortillas were spread out to be shared.  Inside the clinic, volunteers worked non-stop while I got to relax with the people who were going next.

I know the ladies from Chichicastenenga by their dark back grounded Victorian floral or flame stitch quipils.  Their thick skirts (cortes) are seamed together with two inch bands.  And I would learn that the ladies from Sacapulas and Santa Cruz del Quiche wear sparkly satin blouses with beady draping over their multicolored cortes. Everybody in traje had flashy belts and aprons with glittering ruffles and zipped pockets.  The wrap-around skirts have no pockets so women keep their calculators and cell phones in the wildly decorative aprons.  Mayans are always ready to make a deal and will flash you a quote on the calculator; it is their commercial bridge.  Sometimes living with Mayans is like one long fashion shoot with accountants.  These illiterate people show lots of cosmo-vision or at least an astonishingly global reach when it comes to finance.

For example, I came upon a particularly well dressed group- three generations of women.  A midwife, her sister, daughter and granddaughter were all looking very fabulous.  So, I approached them (with my camera) to ask for permission to shoot. I had singled out and complemented the Grandmother on her particularly well matching outfit.  Her older sister acted mock miffed and told me all cattily-like that her sister’s timeless traje was the “2002 model. “ I not only “rolled on the floor laughing” I sat down with them to see what else they might have to say.

We really laughed for a long minute about this first joke. Then the “catty”Grandmother noticed my guipel- with the national bird, the Quetzal, Imageembroidered on it.

Holding the wings and mildly flapping the shirt I asked them if they liked Quetzals (also the name of the Guatemalan currency.)

The nineteen year old granddaughter did not miss a beat.

“No.” she deadpanned “We prefer Euros.”

This was one of the few spoken conversations that I would have.  The rest of the communication was warm and very friendly but never quite as sassy and funny.

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