Caitlin Kinnear – volunteer Chinese Medicine Practitioner

The air smells so good here. The ocean a presence so textually palpable, so sumptuously engulfing my every sense. Hushing up against the shore is this gentle warm salty vastness that reflects something profoundly simple within. I too have lulled, against these new faces, new places, new harmonies. A cat sits perched on the steps, lightening piercing the corner of my vision, drawing me into the magnificence of the clouds that evolve new form with every glance that I take.

10 weeks in Jambiani with the HABS Jambiani Wellness Centre has been a journey that has shaped me in ways that I am sure I am still to discover. I am unable to articulate the privilege I feel to have had the opportunity to work professionally alongside Dr Ali Baba – legend of Zanzibar – a man who really lives within the art of intentional and conscious living. Massai warriors and mshamba, fishermen, conservative Muslims from mgini, German tourists, and Rastafarians. So many diverse, grateful people who travel from all over the island, even from the mainland to receive treatment in the clinic. Being a part of this project and this community has been humbling and sublimely inspiring. And never dull, with every day different and holding something new. Being a Chinese doctor in an area with such limited access to health care has been such a Great Honor. The presenting complaints as diverse as the individual: uterine fibroids, hemiplegia, poisonous fish bite, broken limbs, hernias, infertility, gastritis, septic cuts and good old backaches. The people are beyond grateful: these lucky folk are part of a growing, creeping, crawling revolution.

The equal access to health care and education revolution.

The one that actively acknowledges – PROMOTES – compassionate genuine respect for all our human brothers and sisters.

And then there is Mama Pat, dynamic gregarious soul, who has founded and is running the Jambiani Institute of Tourism… and a bazillion other projects, all pivoting spiraling centering around the empowerment and enrichment of those less able, or fortunate or privileged enough to reach and tangibly grasp opportunity.

These people are like a thousand splendid suns. The light they caste is a brilliant one, illuminating OPTION and CHOICE.

During my time in Africa I have experienced an abundance in a world of material poverty. So, my dear cyber guest, if you happen to be a skilled health professional, or teacher that is privileged enough, insightful enough, compassionate enough, willful enough, courageous enough to step out and into the Big Wide World, to humble yourself and share your hard earned skills with the people of Zanzibar, allow me to assure you that you will have nothing but a genuine and enriching, once in a life time experience.

It is through our will and the expression of our intention to help other human beings that poverty of many levels stands to fall. Do yourself a fabulous service and don’t sit on the outskirts, step into the circle and help others to rise up.

The Lotus is a flower that grows in the mud. The thicker and deeper the mud, the more beautiful the lotus blooms.

Grow straight to the sun,

Caitlin Kinnear, Chinese Medicine Practitioner, June 2008