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AWB Veterans’ Clinic Treats Deported Vets in Tijuana

AWB Veterans’ Clinic Treats Deported Vets in Tijuana

The InnSpot, a veteran-owned clinic in Sand Diego affiliated with AWB”s Military Stress Recovery Project, brought trauma-healing treatments to deported US military veterans on Saturday, January 18th. InnSpot coordinator/owner Guy Page, himself a veteran, organized a team of AWB trained practitioners in the San Diego area to offer treatments at the US Deported Veterans Project just over the border in Tijuana.

The mission of the Deported Veterans Advocacy Project is to advocate and assist U.S. military veterans who face deportation, or have been deported by the U.S. government.

The team treated almost 30 vets, and plans to return in early February to work with other AWB practitioners who are offering treatments to asylum seekers and refugees at the CA-Mexico border.

AWB’s Trauma Healing in Puerto Rico Continues

AWB’s Trauma Healing in Puerto Rico Continues

PUERTO RICO EARTHQUAKE RELIEF UPDATE #2…from Ramon Serrano, AWB Clinic Coordinator in Puerto Rico:

Clinic #2 Yauco, Puerto Rico January 18th, 2020

Click here to read about our first clinic.

Our second venture into the earthquake zone coincided with a health fair directed at those refuged outside of Yauco’s baseball stadium. Once again, it was a displaced community of entire families housed under personal tents and tarps. It seemed that the inside of the stadium proper was reserved for a contingent of National Guard troops assigned to help with the logistics. The health fair itself, fwhich had been well advertized, included all manner of medical expertise and professionals. It consisted of MDs specializing in everything rom Gynecology to Internal Medicine. It also attempted to address the emotional scars caused by the stress and included Psychologists and Social Workers, as well as other mental health professionals. The effort was augmented by the continuation of the support of the community at large who organize sessions of play therapy for the children, while also continuing to provide supplies of day-to-day necessities.

AWBs participation was arranged via a connection that one of our members had with a prominent family in Yauco. Keishla Torres, the eldest daughter off the family, has taken the lead in the town’s recovery effort. She arranged for us to have a tarp in the area where people were living.

The difference between this clinic and the one in Guayanilla (last Saturday) was that we wound up treating primarily first responders. In this case the title has to do with the members of the community who themselves have been personally affected by the calamity, but choose to put their particular needs on hold in order to help their neighbors. Without fail, when we suggested that they sit for a treatment, their response is usually in the negative because they feel guilty about taking the spot of someone who might need it more. When we finally convince them that it is necessary for them to be whole in order to continue their selfless mission, is when we hear of their own individual fear and trauma.

The work continues. This is much more of a marathon than a sprint. The Puerto Rican people have taken the lead in addressing the crisis. The Government is trying feverishly to save face and “catch up.” The recent decision by the Trump administration to release the illegal holdup off the aid has everyone on high alert, to make sure that it gets distributed in an honorable fashion. The people, as proven by the ouster of former Governor Rossello, are no longer asleep.

(Special thanks to volunteer practitioners Maria de Lourdes Castro, ND; Ramon Serrano, LAc; Mary Jeane Sanchez, ND; Nancy Alicea, ND; Carla Ortiz, ND; Rafael Padro; DOM; and Eileen Perez! AWB volunteers will continue to provide clinics every Saturday in the coming months in towns most affected by the earthquakes. Stay tuned!)

Our second venture into the earthquake zone coincided with a health fair directed at those refuged outside of Yauco’s baseball stadium. Once again, it was a displaced community of entire families housed under personal tents and tarps. It seemed that the inside of the stadium proper was reserved for a contingent of National Guard troops assigned to help with the logistics. The health fair itself, fwhich had been well advertized, included all manner of medical expertise and professionals. It consisted of MDs specializing in everything rom Gynecology to Internal Medicine. It also attempted to address the emotional scars caused by the stress and included Psychologists and Social Workers, as well as other mental health professionals. The effort was augmented by the continuation of the support of the community at large who organize sessions of play therapy for the children, while also continuing to provide supplies of day-to-day necessities.

AWBs participation was arranged via a connection that one of our members had with a prominent family in Yauco. Keishla Torres, the eldest daughter off the family, has taken the lead in the town’s recovery effort. She arranged for us to have a tarp in the area where people were living.

The difference between this clinic and the one in Guayanilla (last Saturday) was that we wound up treating primarily first responders. In this case the title has to do with the members of the community who themselves have been personally affected by the calamity, but choose to put their particular needs on hold in order to help their neighbors. Without fail, when we suggested that they sit for a treatment, their response is usually in the negative because they feel guilty about taking the spot of someone who might need it more. When we finally convince them that it is necessary for them to be whole in order to continue their selfless mission, is when we hear of their own individual fear and trauma.

The work continues. This is much more of a marathon than a sprint. The Puerto Rican people have taken the lead in addressing the crisis. The Government is trying feverishly to save face and “catch up.” The recent decision by the Trump administration to release the illegal holdup off the aid has everyone on high alert, to make sure that it gets distributed in an honorable fashion. The people, as proven by the ouster of former Governor Rossello, are no longer asleep.

(Special thanks to volunteer practitioners Maria de Lourdes Castro, ND; Ramon Serrano, LAc; Mary Jeane Sanchez, ND; Nancy Alicea, ND; Carla Ortiz, ND; Rafael Padro; DOM; and Eileen Perez! AWB volunteers will continue to provide clinics every Saturday in the coming months in towns most affected by the earthquakes. Stay tuned!)

AWB Provides Treatments to Puerto Ricans after Earthquakes

AWB Provides Treatments to Puerto Ricans after Earthquakes

This is an update from Ramon Serrano, L.Ac., who coordinates AWB service work in Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria. He is reporting from Guayanilla, Puerto Rico – January 11, 2020.

On my way to Guayanilla at 8 am, another tremor measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale shook the already traumatized inhabitants of La Isla del Encanto. Fortunately, I did not feel it on the road. Since Dec. 28th when the first major one struck, there have been at least 900 detectable episodes. Because the epicenter of the seismic shifts lies directly to the south of the Island, it is the southern towns where most of the structural damage has taken place, and as a result, where the physical, mental and emotional dislocation is most evident.

Puerto Ricans are still recovering from the PTSD associated with Hurricane Maria two years ago, so that the fear and panic being experienced by an already fragile psyche is quite understandable. Part of the underlying insecurity lies in the distrust of a local government that failed them miserably during the last disaster, and a Federal Government led by a narcissist who witholds badly needed aid while insulting the most vulnerable.

The silver lining in this scenario lies in the non-governmental response to both the crisis of Hurricane Maria and to the present moment. The Puerto Rican people on the Island and in the Diaspora, eight million strong, have demonstrated an inexharable determination to help their brothers and sisters most in need. During the aftermath of Hurricane Maria grassroots organizers met during the rescue efforts and have established a nexus that has proven its metal during the current situation. Physical Therapists, Community Health organizations, Food Coops and all manner of transportation services are now coordinating their efforts in the most efficient fashion.

When I arrived in Guayanilla we were directed to a stadium where the townspeople were being refuged. Entire families, including the elderly and children, were living in the outdoors under tarps and tents. This is also happening along most of the Southern coast from Penuelas to Sabana Grande. Folks are terrified to go indoors for fear that any shift in the tectonic plates will compromise the structures, causing them to collapse. The amount of activity in the adjoining parking lot with all manner of vehicles arriving with people and supplies was truly impressive. There were people cooking and free food was being handed out alll over.

We introduced ourselves as an international aid organization, Acupuncturists Without Borders, and were told that we could occupy any empty tent and set up shop. We found a recently constructed mobile wooden structure that actually had folding chairs inside. Serendipity! We announced our presence over a community sound system and began to “recruit” patients. A big part of what we do as an organization in Puerto Rico is introduce the idea of acupuncture. Most people outside the San Juan metropolitan area have never heard of it. We use the NADA protocol and attempt to convince people that five needles in their ear will reduce their anxiety. Usually the community is in such dire emotional stress that they will try anything. After the first few are convinced, the ice is broken and we normally get a steady flow of patients. In this instance, with the veteran skills of AWB volunteer Maria Lulu Castro and her able assistants, we were able to treat more than sixty people.

The work is really just beginning. Luckily there are other groups also using the NADA method. Acupuncture P’al Pueblo and Boricua Barefoot Doctors are helping to bring attention to the benefits of this medicine.to a much wider population. Also we will once again be welcoming our brothers and sisters from the Diaspora, who are coming with supplies and medical missions, in order to once again demonstrate that eight million really equals ONE!

 

AWB returns to Matamoros, MX to treat refugees

AWB returns to Matamoros, MX to treat refugees

Please check out this USA Today article written about this trip.

This report comes from Diana Fried, Founder & Co-Executive Director, who just returned from Matamoros:

Just back from Matamoros, Mexico, an area where the bridge between the US and Mexico meets land. I was there in January and everything is completely different. 

Where there were 10 or 20 people waiting to seek asylum then, now there are a thousand in tents cramped together on the bridge and in an area just off the bridge. 

We walk from the comfortable world of the US  that we live in, with our fresh clean clothes and just showered bodies, just 10 minutes, pay our $1.00 in quarters to cross, and all of a sudden we are worlds away in stench-filled garbage- filled camp with lovely people who are sad and happy and with their families and alone, cooking and cleaning and walking and trying to remember who they are such a long way from home in a foreign land simply trying to find a little bit of safety and a home.

It is rough beyond that 10 minutes from the US border. 

The eight of us AWB team members are thrown into a completely different land and we lose track of ourselves as well for this temporary time. As we walk through the smoke-filled dusty path of the tent camp, trting not to step on garbage, we see the cobb ovens that the people have created by digging down to mud and then pulling it up and drying it so they have something to cook on. The ingenuity is amazing.

There are piles of stuff everywhere and kids running around. Women look exhausted and disheveled, some of them. Others look absolutely pristine with their makeup and smiles. It is hard to know what is going on. 

We hear that 100 people crossed over the border last night. They have left all their stuff and some people are scrounging through piles and piles of things to find what maybe they can use. 

We do our peaceful treatments and then we hear that for one man, he has not had a moment since he can remember where he hasn’t been thinking and worrying and fearing for the life of his son and himself. We watched him go very deep in the treatment and afterwards he told us that it was the only time he was thought free since this whole horrendous journey. 

People are so grateful, so open and loving. Our hearts open too for this time. And our tears stream sometimes. 

One of our team members sees a boy she had seen before. This time he will not accept any hugs, and he is totally withdrawn. He says he doesn’t hug anymore. Our team member is torn apart and wonders what happened to him during these months. 

As we go back to the US, walking 10 minutes, one of the team members says to me this was a good day, this is how a day can be, this was a day of giving where we feel full from it. It is so simple when the exchange is like this. 
Sweaty and dirty now, we go eat tacos and ice cream and laugh a lot together and once again I fall in love with these incredible people who come into the world of AWB to do this giving. It is a miracle.

Update on AWB California Border Project

Update on AWB California Border Project

Since January 2019, AWB has been working at the US-Mexico border to bring trauma healing treatments to migrating people and community volunteers. Our work began in Texas, and has expanded to California, where AWB volunteers have taken two week-long service trips since August, 2019. We’ve treated hundreds of people-asylum seekers and refugees who face devastating living conditions, legal challenges, and health problems – as well as community activists and health practitioners who often suffer from secondary trauma due to their tireless, supportive work.

AWB acupuncturist and trainer Julia Raneri providing treatments in Tijuana, October 2019

AWB is working with the Refugee Health Alliance in Tijuana, as well as local migrant support organizations in Southern California. We offer direct service (acupuncture, herbal medicine, body work) and are training local practitioners, to expand services and access for thousands of people who need help with physical and emotional pain.

AWB’s goal is to train enough practitioners to provide weekly trauma-reduction acupuncture services in Southern CA-Tijuana locations within the next year.

AWB acupuncturist Ida Mat Harris treating women and children, October 2019

For more information on the AWB CA Border Project, contact Carla Cassler at director@acuwithoutborders.org.

AWB field team at the border, October 2019

Volunteers Needed for Sonoma County Fires

Volunteers Needed for Sonoma County Fires

AWB & Integrative Healers Action Network (IHAN) are looking for licensed/certified integrative medicine and health practitioners with malpractice insurance AND administrative support staff to volunteer at an Integrative Health Clinic we are setting up inside the Red Cross shelter in Healdsburg. As of right now, there are over 100 people staying in this shelter who have evacuated the fires in the Northern Sonoma County town of Geyserville. Trauma response symptoms are common among fire evacuees and can be expressed through symptoms such as physical pain, anxiety, stress, and insomnia that integrative medicine and health practitioners have many tools to offer to those in need. Those staying at Red Cross shelters are usually the most underserved members of our community, so this is an opportunity to provide healing and support to those most in need.


TO ENSURE SAFETY AND PROPER CARE TO PATIENTS, PLEASE DO NOT SHOW UP AT THE SHELTER LOCATION TO VOLUNTEER WITHOUT BEING PROPERLY REGISTERED AND APPROVED FIRST (SEE BELOW).

PRACTITIONERS: Are you interested in volunteering? The Red Cross requires that only licensed/certified practitioners with malpractice insurance can volunteer inside their shelters. This means: acupuncturists, chiropractors, naturopathic doctors, massage therapists, clinical homeopaths, integrative MDs, DOs and nurses. While we absolutely recognize the validity of other types of practitioners, we are not currently able to accommodate those without an active license/certification and malpractice insurance.

STEPS TO VOLUNTEER:
1. Go to integrativehealersactionnetwork.org
2. Click on “Volunteer Registration”
3. Register as a Practitioner
4. Submit your $35 donation to cover the administrative costs of your registration.
5. Complete the Volunteer Questionnaire and submit to info@integrativehealersactionnetwork.org
6. Please email a copy of your malpractice and current license to info@integrativehealersactionnetwork.org along with your Questionnaire.
7. You will be receiving a separate email from our partner, Asurint, who conducts our background searches. Please follow the instructions in the email and complete the Asurint paperwork as soon as possible.
8. Once the above steps are complete, our Volunteer Coordinator Cynthia will contact you for a quick phone call and will get you on the schedule to volunteer.

For More information contact AWB Volunteer Coordinator Catherine Herbin at coordinator@acuwithoutborders.org and 203-814-6639.