After Hurricane Maria, the island of Puerto Rico has struggled to regain strength in its infrastructure, economic independence and most importantly, healthcare access. Our HWB Puerto Rico Chapter Coordinator, Ola Obasi, has been providing free people's clinics in the rural village of Jayuya since 4 weeks post-hurricane - once the roads were clear enough to travel from her home base in Mayagüez. She has been working with others to provide immediate holistic care through weekly mobile clinics providing herbal and nutritional consultations not only in Jayuya, but in any many rural communities. HWB Puerto Rico has also been working to distribute donated seeds to communities and individuals to help them jump start their gardens and grow healthy food again in their own towns.
So far, Herbalists Without Borders has been shipping boxes a few times per month with donated supplies to help stock the free clinic. Recovery and rebuilding in Puerto Rico is not over - it is just beginning. In order to reach more people and help support the health and recovery of the island, HWB Puerto Rico is working to establish an ongoing, full time mobile free clinic, traveling throughout the island to offer holistic health, nutrition, pregnancy wellness & support to people - particularly women and children - 3-4 days per week, every week.
In order to make this mobile clinic sustainable for a full time schedule, HWB is working to secure grants, donations, supplies and ongoing support for Puerto Rico. This HWB Puerto Rico Clinic and Wellness Group has a new name - Los Guardianes de las Tradiciones Medicinales Ancestrales, or, Keepers of Herbal Traditions.
Ola will also be working to take in herbal interns/apprentices who want to learn herbalism, who will participate in herbal intensives while also supporting the free mobile clinics. After they have completed their training, they will be able to go back into their communities throughout the island of Puerto Rico, bringing holistic support right into their communities and growing medicinal herbs in their towns. This will not only give more opportunities to people who want to stay in Puerto Rico, but will provide a way to earn a living while also working within their own communities. The Puerto Rican people are strong, resilient, and proud - our support can help them rebuild, regroup, and make their communities more resilient and self sufficient - so they can weather any future hurricanes and keep communities together.
Listen to our HWB Podcast With Ola Obasi, of HWB Puerto Rico:
Last Friday we interviewed Ola Obasi of HWB Puerto Rico to find out more about life in Puerto Rico after the hurricane, how things are today, and our goals to help PR recover and thrive. Click play below to hear her interview.
To find out more about HWB Puerto Rico, visit the website;
HWB Puerto Rico Needs Supplies!
Interested in Supporting HWB Puerto Rico?
If you have sealed tinctures, extracts, tea blends, salves, herbal capsules, or other supplies - a scale, clinic supplies (measuring spoons, droppers, new containers, jars, bottles, droppers, etc.) to donate - please visit ourneeds list page where you can find our shipping address. We store and stage all donations at our main HWB headquarters as power is still fluctuating in PR, and we can ship regularly from our climate controlled storage area. You can also view our Amazon Wish List for Puerto Rico here.
Are you a business who can donate in bulk? Please email our Executive Director, Denise Cusack, at email@example.com.
What else can you do to help? Share this blog post, share the facebook or twitter links for this post, share the youtube link, post to your pages. The more people we reach, the more opportunities we have to get what we need to the people of Puerto Rico. Thank you!
More about Ola; www.wellofindigenouswisdom.com/
Thank you so much for your support.
This is a community effort, and we couldn't do it without you!
On Saturday, September 30, the Madison Chapter of Herbalists Without Borders hosted a Community Herb Swap at Tenney Park in Madison, WI. The co-coordinators for the Madison Chapter are Carrie Ann Welsh and Shannon Renne. They have been leading this very active chapter for awhile, and always host fun & well-attended events.
The herb swap was perfect - a beautiful sunny autumn day, under the trees. Carrie Ann and Shannon brought many blankets to spread on the ground, and then everyone who attended brought something to share. The blankets held an array of fresh and dried herbs, seeds, tinctures, capsules and more. Some name brand items were traded, and some homegrown and homemade as well.
"The herb swap was an opportunity for folks in Madison to be able to do something simple to connect with each other, to give freely and take what they needed. We had organized the herb swap before the hurricane devastation in Puerto Rico, and by the time we gathered at the park, it felt more like a drive for HWB clinics than for people to restock their home apothecaries. We ended up with a lot of herbal medicine to send where it's needed, in Puerto Rico and other places affected by recent disasters." ~Carrie Ann
The idea was to tie in with being mindful of our consumption and not letting things go to waste. By bringing something and taking something, everyone could find what they needed, and if they took less than they brought, the remaining would be donated to HWB for our herbal first aid kits.
"It's always amazing to me how much people are willing to stretch and give when they have the opportunity. All they needed was some blankets under a tree at the park and a time to show up! Madison in particular is a great place for an herb swap because so many folks are interested in making medicine and growing healing herbs, and it's a town that considers itself action-oriented, but I think this could work anywhere. These kind of events seem simple but their effects are profound--they result in generosity, connection, and care." ~Carrie Ann
Many people attended throughout the afternoon, and as we sat in the grass we talked about Herbalists Without Borders, our vision and goals, our projects, and the critical need for accessible affordable health care for all. Everyone read labels and looked through the bottles, taking only what they needed, and HWB Madison raised a good amount of herbals for our herbal first aid kit stock.
Have you had an activity or event with your chapter recently? Do you have photos? Want to share your story? We would love to feature you and your chapter on the blog. Please email Denise at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Herbalists Without Borders is happy to introduce our newest chapter from San Severino Marche in Italy in the Italian Apennines, Erboristi Senza Frontiere, Sezione Appennino Centrale.
The headquarters for HWB Marche is in the office of the coordinator Karin Mecozzi, in San Severino Marche. Here is an introduction from Karin about her background:
Karin blogs at karinmecozzi.com, and has posted an HWB introduction!
Interested in joining the HWB Marche chapter? First, join HWB as a member, and then contact the coordinator for your region!
Welcome to HWB, Karin!
Herbalists Without Borders features a global chapter on this blog regularly so you can get to know the wonderful groups and volunteers that make up HWB. All chapters are organized and managed by volunteers, and they fill unique but critical roles in their communities.
For our first featured chapter, we introduce you to Corfu, Greece. This is an active, vibrant chapter making a difference in their community!
Herbalists Without Borders, Corfu Chapter
What is your chapter name, and what region do you serve?
Our Chapter’s name is Herbalists Without Borders, Corfu Chapter. We are located on the island of Corfu in northwest Greece and we basically work on the island and the nearby mainland part of Greece, which is called Epirus.
How many members do you have in your group?
For the moment, we are 10 ladies since our Chapter has only a few months life. All of them are creative and active members of the local community with plenty of experience in different fields relative to herbalism, activism and voluntary work.
Who is your main coordinator?
The main coordinator is Eleni Christoforatou.
Do you have any projects you wish to share - what you made, who you worked with, and how it benefit your community?
We came together as a group just before Christmas.
Our first project was called “Make a tree for the birds” and it was a workshop for kids and parents at the 1st Primary School in Corfu Town. We spoke about the different needs we all have as seasons change and we made a tree with decoration that could be eaten by the wildlife living around the school while the school was closed for the Christmas holidays. The unexpected cold and snow we had this winter gave a special touch to this workshop.
This is not a typical herbal project, for sure! For us, it was an “honor our roots project” since many of our members first came together in bird conservation projects on the island and stepped into herbalism after many long hours in nature doing bird protection work. Nature conservation will always be part of our work, no matter what part of nature it concerns.
In February, we visited the High School at the village of Kastellani in Central Corfu. The students there have formed an Environmental Education Group which is studying traditional herbal medicine in Corfu. We spoke with the students about the way their grandparents were using herbs and we made calendula salves that they could take at home and get familiar with its use.
Once a week, we have an herbal medicine making workshop for our members. We come together and we make medicine for ourselves and for our herbal apothecary trying new recipes and researching new topics.
Does your region face any unique needs?
Corfu shares the everyday reality in Greece which under the present financial and political situation is unemployment, violation of all rights, poor health care services, poor educational opportunities and poverty for the most part of the population.
Do you have any special plans or goals for 2017?
We have scheduled a number of free workshops to different villages in Corfu in association with the local cultural societies in order to ensure everyone’s access in herbal knowledge for family and self-care.
We will participate at the 1st Experience Holistic Corfu Festival in June with plenty of free workshops and an informational desk.
We have a cooperation with the organization Terre des Hommes in Epirus to provide a one week long herbal training to one or two female refugees from Ioannina. The ladies will stay with us for a week and will attend an intensive herbal training that will be open to the locals as well, on Herb Identification, Foraging, Herbal First Aid, Herbal Remedies for Colds and Flu and other things that can help them relieve common ailments in their community. This training can be repeated again in autumn with the same persons or other persons, so that more and more
refugees will be able to use the herbs growing in their new place of living for self and family care.
What do you enjoy most about your HWB chapter or HWB International?
Current members of our Chapter have a long history of coming together and implementing projects to create the world we would love to live in. This world already exists for our small herbal community and is full of love, laughter and creativity. We hope that this small community will be able to embrace more and more people and spread this amazing energy all over the island.
We love to be part of a global herbal family and we are looking forward to welcome herbalists from other parts of the world in Corfu, as well as take part in international delegations and work hand in hand with the other Chapters to secure every one’s right in health care and wellbeing.
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