The Height of Healing
In October, a group of BodyTalk practitioners headed to Peru for a medical services trip to remote villages high in the Andes. Our group was called Ayni, which I would learn refers to the practice of reciprocity. The Andean culture has practiced reciprocity in their relationship with Mother Earth (Pachamama), and in remote communities since Incan times. It was important to them that Andean reciprocity not be broken down through outsiders ‘giving’ without receiving an exchange. We would receive ritual offerings, ceremonies, music, drink, and food in exchange for our healing services.
The people of the Andes were extremely resilient to the climate and the terrain, and surprisingly everyone from young children to adult men and women wore only sandals on their feet despite the rocky, damp, and chilly conditions. We were told that the life span of the men in the region was 70 years, as they did much heavy manual labor. In contrast, the average lifespan for women was 100 years! The women spent their days weaving beautiful wool tapestries, or herding sheep or llama up and down the Andes mountains to graze. The Andean lifestyle was one of hardship and survival. Their tiny homes made of stone had dirt floors, no electricity, no running water, and only llama dung to use for heat and fuel. The Andeans all wore the same wool clothes, with the ladies in knee-length skirts, and the men in knee-length knickers. We learned that this common length was because in the rainy season, the tundra could yield knee-deep water. Their diet consisted mainly of potatoes, as the climate and landscape were favorable for growing potatoes, and not much else. Because of the need for soil rotation every 7 years, the Andeans moved from place to place to find mineral rich soil suitable for growing potatoes.
Smiles of Gratitude
The area was in much need of our services, as well as a healing tool, like BodyTalk Access, that could be utilized on an ongoing basis. Equipped with specially laminated pictorial Access manuals and charts donated by the IBA, I taught BodyTalk Access to the teacher and villagers with my limited knowledge of Spanish and the help of an interpreter. The teacher was very enthusiastic to learn Access, and seemed quite anxious to be able to utilize the techniques on the school children and adults in the village. We left the materials with the teacher, stressing the importance of teaching Cortices to everyone, especially the children in the classroom.
As we set up the clinic, curious villagers began to peer through the school windows. The teacher, who spoke both Spanish and the native language Quechu, was instrumental in getting the very timid women of the village to enter our makeshift clinic. Once the first brave souls entered, a line began to form outside. The tiny school desks and chairs became our work stations. The men laid across the school desks, while the modest women would only sit in the chairs as we worked on them. Communication was a constant challenge and sometimes involved multiple interpreters to go from Quechu to Spanish to English. The beauty of BodyTalk is that the information is coming from the client’s innate wisdom, so verbal communication is not essential. All of the Andean people displayed tremendous trust by allowing us to work on them without the benefit of communication. The women and girls all clustered together, showing no emotion and barely making eye contact, with little interaction with the men and boys. Young girls, who were still just children themselves, were often the caregiver to their infant sibling, carrying them on their back in a skillfully wrapped blanket. The men were much more animated and would enter the clinic without the need for encouragement, some with smiles of gratitude and anticipation.
Our Health Mission
Once we started doing sessions, we found that the main complaint of the women was headaches, and the main complaint of the men was back issues. Respiratory issues were very common, especially amongst the infants and children. We found common threads across all patients in our BodyTalk sessions, such as religious fears, survival fears, traumatic memories, parasites, bacteria, and weakened immune systems. As we tapped and tapped, some of the transformations we witnessed were amazing. One woman in particular had been sweating profusely and looked to be in very ill health. After her session, the sweating had stopped, and she had an appearance of good health and serenity. Women who were initially afraid to enter our clinic left with a lighter expression on their faces, and even some smiles. The men stood straighter, and their smiles were ear to ear. There were hugs, and displays of gratitude from children and adults alike.
Part of our mission in bringing our services to the villages was to include eyeglasses, dental care tools, and health supplements, since there was no access to any of these types of care in the villages. We provided tinctures for nutrition and health support donated by Be Healthy. Fellow BodyTalkers donated eyeglasses, which we fitted to villagers who had difficulty seeing. We distributed donated toothbrushes to the children, who had never seen a toothbrush, and held a class to demonstrate their use.
All in all, the experience was amazing! The villages are so far from the roads, and so deep into the Andes, that they get very few visitors, and certainly not a lot of visitors from a foreign land, or healthcare providers of any kind. They were gracious for our visit, and seemed sad to see us go. We witnessed a lot of firsts, as watched the children brush their teeth for the first time, see a campfire for the first time, and even experience green vegetables for the first time. We hiked through areas that were so remote very few outsiders have ever seen them. We got a small glimpse into lives so vastly different from our own, that it is unimaginable for any of us to be in their shoes (or rather in their sandals!). We felt gratitude for being welcomed into their world, and for the opportunity to give a little something back. I took away a vast admiration for the resilience and hard lives of the people we met in the Andes mountains of Peru.
by Linda Hartman
AdvCBP, Parama BP