Personal Stories and Contributions from Local Health Workers
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Traditional Healer Remedies & Philosophy from the Democratic Republic of the Congo
A group of Traditional Healers in Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo) compiled a series of pamphlets in their native language describing the treatments they used for physical and mental ailments. They gave the pamphlets to Dr. Sherri Kirkpatrick in the early 1990s with the request that she help them assess the effectiveness of their previously 'secret' interventions. They were acquainted with Dr. Kirkpatrick because of her training and mentoring of health workers in their villages.
A native speaking translator was hired to translate the pamphlets into English. Unfortunately, he was unable to identify English equivalents for many of the local herbs and plants described in the pamphlets. Dr. Kirkpatrick provided herbal books with photographs and descriptions of traditional medicine plants used worldwide to assist the Traditional Healers in their quest to verify appropriateness of their treatments, The original English translations have recently been reproduced electronically with spelling and grammar retained as originally written.
Questions may be directed to
%Sherri Kirkpatrick, PhD
1401 West Truman Road
Stories from Congo
Below are 4 'stories' from the Wasaidizi or Kafwa health workers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in the region of Lubumbashi. These amazing women have been volunteers for nearly 20 years many times going 4 or 5 years without any encouragement from me since I was prevented by civil war and other political issues from seeing them. These stories were first written in French or Swahili, translated into Bimba, and then into English. You may have to read them a couple of times to catch the meaning but I think you'll enjoy reading the stories in their own words.
You might notice most of them refer to brick homes in the stories. Read this as "least" rather than "most" expensive option. In most cases the homes are made of homemade bricks made from mud right on site and are mortared together with more mud.
|Josephine (middle) supervisor of Wasaidizi in Congo|
The Story about the Child, who was the Orphan and her name was Kanyimbu Mpundu, she was 8 years old and was in Grade two at Alumashi School . The total number of people in the family was 12. Kanyimbu was cared by the Grand ma. The house was made with bricks.
Kanyimbu’s Grand mother was a Widow. One day Kanyimbu was very sick, she had abad sore on her right leg. And the sore was becoming worse & worse. One day we had a home visit program and I met this young girl, and asked her where she was living and she directed me to her Grand mother’s home. The following day I went to look for the Grand mother in order to explain what I saw to the young girl. I found her and asked her if I can help with the sore, and she said yes you are welcome. Kanyimbu’s Grand mother had 9 children four of them were Prostitute and was just bringing problems to the Widow. She was complaining almost every day because problems were more and more, but I KEPT ON ENCOURANGING HER.
The following day I went to see the young girl and started washing her sore there after apply the anointment Which we received from Sherri. I CONTINUED to wash the sore for Kanyimbu. And in almost a month, the sore was completely dry. The girl who failed to walk and go to School, started walking and going to School everyday.
The life in the past was too bad, but after the treatment, the life changed completely to a better life. Health ed Connect was very helpful because of the support, and trainings we received from them. Mpundu’s life is better that it was before.
Kanyimbu’s Grand mother appreciated for the good work done for Kanyimbu. Life for Kanyimbu was very difficult but, made it good for her life. She is walking well, going to School without any problem.
|Jean Marie with Gershom and Sherri|
In our Community, we had a sister, her name is Mambwe who had a Child by the name of Mary and she was two years old. Mambwe was living in Village Poland . They stayed in a house made with Bricks, and with Grass on top. Mambwe’s husband was not working, he lost imployment long time. The daughter for sister Mambwe was very sick, but she did not decide to take the Child to the hospital, until when a Member of the Kafwa came in to encourage her about medication. Until some time, this Woman agreed to take Mary to the hospital. When they arrived at the hospital the Doctor examined the Child and found her with Malaria and Anemia. She was admitted in the hospital for almost one week. They were given a prescription to buy the medicines, but the husband had nothing. Again the Kafwa took the Prescription to the Kafwa Group to assist the Child buy the required medicines. The Kafwa used the Group money which they are selling Underfive Cards. Later Mary was discharged from the hoispital & was recovered completely from Malaria & Anemia.
The life like in the past was too bad, both ways, the family were poor. Now from the time the Child was recovered life was better than before.
Health Ed Connect was helpful because they did not want to wait when the problem came, but Kafwa always has the heart to help people in time of need especially in our Community.
This family appreciated so much for assistance rendered to the family. The are good friends now. Life now for sister Mambwe and her daughter Mary is better.
In the Community of Kampemba, there was a Woman her name is Mwelwa aged 70 years. The husband was retired from his Job long time. After some year, life was bad for Mwelwa. To find food for the family when the husband is not working, its very difficult in Africa .
As the family started suffering, they had Deaths in a family. Four Children in this family died, and the other Lady who died after giving birth to a Baby makes Number in the family. This old Mama had nothing to do since she lost five Children in three years time.
But the Kafwa came in to encourage this old Woman and her family. When the Kafwa started coming to help the Old Mama, the new born Baby died again after three years.
Life was really bad in the past. Now life has been changed. People in the Community new her & was supported by Members in the Community. Also Non Governmental Organization came in to support this family.
Health Ed Connect was helpful because they have equipped the Kafwa in the Communities to be ready every time when need arises. Kafwa is a Community problem solver.
This Mama came back to say thank you so much for assistance & support you have given. You have made my life to be better. Life to this Mama changed, she had a lot of friends in the Community and out side the Community to look after her family.
|Health workers meeting with Sherri
in Lubumbashi, DR Congo
The story about Tanam, who lived in Ruashi of Lubumbashi in Congo . Tanam is 32 years old. She lived in a house made with bricks & Ironsheets on top. Tanam are seven members in this family.
Tanam was pregnant and when she was 7 - 8 months, she did not mind going to the hospital until one day, she gave birth to a baby at home and she had a complications, that the Placenta remained. Now in the neighborhood, the people new me as one of the Traditional Birth Attendant ( T B A ) and they called for help. When I arrived home, I just found Tanam sleeping, I tried to help since the Clinic was far away from there. I assisted her with her problem of the Placenta, and immediately advised her to go to the hospital.
Tanam’s life in the past was VERY BAD. She was in danger, but now life for her is much better. Health Ed Connect was helpful because of the trainings they have given to the Community Health Workers and Traditional birth Attendant. Tanam really appreciated to me for the assistance, and now we have created a good friendship with my family and her family.