Of the many beautiful things we experienced, one of the best was sharing herbal knowledge with folks, theirs and ours. We learned how folks use herbs in Ayiti – avocado leaves are used for dark and light skin blotches, guanabana can be made into a tea to treat diarrhea and the leaves can be chewed as an astringent for bad breath, verbena leaves are used for colds and a tea made from the green leaves will help with hair that is falling out, chinola is used for colds, hierba de espina (thorny herb?) is used for to heal from blows to the head, among others.
We shared peppermint (digestive problems, and headaches, and to cool from the heat), nettles which they call pringamosa, for nutrition, hops is a great sedative, romero for headaches and an antiseptic, red clover which they call clave de dulce is a blood cleanser, repairs DNA and has cured cancer.
A sister named Zenite, told me about seven herbs she knows of which they use, romarin, melisse (melissa or lemon balm), and several other which I did not recognize, and, unfortunately, because Haiti is going through a gas crisis, we couldn’t go to the marche which was an 1 1/2 away to go look at for the herbs.
We got to talk with community folks about massages, share those techniques, provide some relief for body aches and pains, caused by historical neglect and trauma, we got to share techniques about deep breathing as a pain reliever, human touch, kindnesses, smiles shared as ways of communicating in addition to interpretation by skillful sistas and brothas (Franklin, Francois, Fredo, Catalina, among others).
We got to see the real Haiti, not the racist barren fantasies we are told about, but the beautiful fierce community folks organizing, organizing, the sturdy bodies and minds, hearts and smiles despite the trauma, the incredible care for appearance and kindnesses and help, despite the trauma, the willingness to trust people they had never seen. Despite the trauma, the disaster, the lack of resources and infrastructure, the resilience, the here, this is who we are. Dont mess, but if you come correct, you are welcome. That was crystal clear.
We had the great opportunity to see Northern, Middle and Southern Haiti, the border areas, the rural and the urban. We saw the lushness of the people and the mountains, the despite all of the best efforts of a certain, or several certain Canadian lumber companies, the earth still bursts in green, producing oxygen every where.
Even in the desert zones, there was a lushness that reminded me of Tucson.
And unbearable heat, borne with dignity, crystal clear lakes, incredible agility at commerce, selling and buying basic necessities and goods, vendedores abulantes making rich food with makeshift resources.
Realizing all the while, there is so much to do to give folks the things they so deserve and need – drinkable water without parasites, basic resources so they won’t have to struggle for so many basic basic things that we often don’t think twice about in our over developed society, even in our poor zones.