In February 2010 ACUAMB set up an acupuncture camp at a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery. It was a tremendous success as we treated hundreds of patients from the Buddhist as well as the local community. Many nuns and monks were very interested in the medicine and potential training in acupuncture. It is our hope that they will receive basic training from ACUAMB in the near future.
One of the most moving experiences we had was the opportunity to treat a group of orphans from a home for conflict children. Nepal is still recovering from a devastating civil war, which left many homeless families and orphan children. Many of these children are suffering from PTSD with symptoms of nightmares, stomach pain and headaches. Although we were there for a short time the acupuncture treatments were welcome and very effective. The children are sleeping through the night and their other symptoms were put at bay, at least for a while.
Senegal West Africa
In Senegal, West Africa we joined with The African Organization for Academic and Athletic Development. Senegal is wonderful place but very poor. We traveled with two American surgeons and a surgical nurse. They worked in two regional hospitals performing operations on patients that would not be able to afford these procedures without their help. ACUAMB worked in the rehabilitation centers in these hospitals. Although the rehab staff are lovely and caring people, the physical rehab centers in Senegal are poor with little modern equipment and techniques. Acupuncture was welcomed by all the staff and patients and we have been encouraged to return and find ways to train staff in acupuncture basics for pain, stroke and wellness. We also treated the staff at the local orphanage who were in dire need of relief from pain and emotional trauma from their daily efforts of taking care of almost 100 children under the age of five. A basketball camp for hundreds of children was run by our host group sending messages for good health, exercise and further education. Donated modern wheelchairs were delivered to many of Senegal’s handicapped to give them more independence.
Our October 2010 trip to Nepal was as usual an amazing experience but this particular time was eye opening in so many ways. We have learned that as an international organization we need to be able to adapt to change quickly and still adhere to our mission goals.
We made incredible connections with the local acupuncture community through the Acupuncture, Acupressure and Moxabustion Association of Nepal (AAMAN). They have about 70 members in Kathmandu and outlying areas. The association has a deep connection to the non-governmental Nepal Red Cross and is an outgrowth of a local acupuncture school, The Oriental Training and Treatment Center (OTTC). It was founded by Hata-Sensei, a Japanese acupuncturist who has been working in Nepal since 1993. She is a force for so much good not only training acupuncturists but running a low cost clinic and local moxa factory employing 200 workers.
We taught a workshop on PTSD and pain protocols for 40 acupuncturists, psychologists, naturopaths, homeopaths, Tibetan medicine doctors and social workers sponsored by AAMAN. The workshop was very well received. Our new colleagues were very supportive of the goals of Acupuncture Ambassadors and we will work with them to create workshops, training programs, clinics and acupuncture camps in the near future.
Healing Collaborations and Hospital Affiliations
We made a great connection with Pradip Sapkota, an orthopedic surgeon who works in three local hospitals. He also participates in medical camps throughout Nepal and for years has dedicated himself to working with the leprosy community. They are in desperate need of pain and depression relief. We are working with Pradip to move ACUAMB training and treating programs into these hospitals.