Habari yako? My name is Pierre Poupart. I am a chiropractor from Lac St-Jean Quebec. I first met Alastair via the internet a few years ago. His brother was teaching my daughter in Victoria, BC. After learning about HABS, I became interested in the volunteer part of the society and decided I wanted to participate as soon as I retired from active practice. Now that I have achieved that milestone, I have been volunteering at the Jambiani Wellness Centre for the past month. This has been an experience I am finding difficult to describe. I have seen patients here with difficulties I would never have had the opportunity to work with back in Canada. On my second day in the office among the twenty some patients seen there were ten new patients including six who had had previous strokes. They call it “The Shock” here and these particular patients had had incidents from 6 months to 7 years prior to their visit at the Centre. This seemed to me pretty ironic in that people in our part of the world have over the past few years been discouraged from seeking Chiropractic care for fear of getting a stroke from a Chiropractic treatment. Fortunately that is not the case here and many individuals who have had CVA’s are seeing good results as a result of Chiropractic intervention.
Many patients have a two hour bus ride to get here usually early in the morning and some of them will wait for two to three hours before they can be treated as we do not have a regular appointment schedule. Even after all this time, they are still cheerful and happy to be able to be given an opportunity to get a Chiropractic treatment. The way the system works is that they tell their main complaint to Ali my interpreter because most of our patients only speak Kiswahili. I will leave it to you to imagine the fun we are having making sure everything they say and what I say is understood by the other party. Actually it has gone very well and we manage to understand each other for the most part. They are very good patients and are eager to do what you ask them to do. Not surprisingly, they respond very well to treatments and are obviously grateful for the care and that it is affordable. Although there is no charge here for our services, we have a donation box where people can, if they are able, help support the Clinic. To my surprise, even individuals who have very little will still make a donation even though their total annual income may be very small.
Besides the clinic Alastair and Pat and the HABS organization have built an amazing school that is providing career opportunities for the people of Jambiani and surrounding regions who previously could not afford to acquire an education. The centre is located directly on the Indian Ocean so the view is always spectacular.
This safari (Swahili for voyage) has changed my perception about chiropractic for one and my personal values are now somehow a bit different and broader than they used to be. Before I finish this note I would urge anyone who may be looking for a unique and rewarding personal experience to consider doing it this way by helping to improve the lives of many individuals by giving some of your time to help create a better life for them and this in itself may create an experience for you that will enhance your life as well.