|Zulu (Orphan) Drum and Dance Troop|
We had no access to AIDS treatment options back in the early 2000’s, so the only health care options for people living with HIV/AIDS at the time (*throughout most of the world, I might add) were a mixture of limited “band-aid” drugs and some antibiotics; holistic therapies by local traditional healers; the prayers of family and shaman/church; decent nutrition; and improved living conditions—if we were lucky. So, basically, I was trying to respond to a local epidemic (which was part of a larger pandemic), with limited access to medications as well as human resources (you know, like doctors and nurses!); limited choices in food (they don’t have Trader Joe’s out in the bush!); poor water and sanitation systems; poor living conditions in general and high levels of stress and unemployment. Therefore, my primary health care team of community-based caregivers consisted of 28 Zulu Grandmothers and four Grandfathers.
|Goofy Guru blowing BUBBLES in the Hlabisa Hospital Children's Ward|
Out of desperation, I started researching holistic and alternative therapies and treatments—everything from Ayurveda to yoga. I actively participated in this research, explaining to my Zulu neighbors that I was “praying in motion” when they discovered me practicing yoga in their cornfield. I asked my staff of Grandmothers to create a master list of all the indigenous fruits, veggies, medicinal plants and herbs in the entire region—this MASTER FOOD/PLANT LIST quickly became our health-bible.
|Vusimpilo Community Home-based Caregivers DANCING at a staff party|