Tropical paradise for tourists, tropical hell for locals?
White explorers brought European diseases in today's developing countries, for example measles and chicken pox.Example given South America: About 80% of Indians died from these diseases only through the contact with white people, only a few survived unscathed. The Europeans were immune or vaccinated against these diseases; the local medicine men however were at their wits' end: Their ancestors had amassed an immense knowledge on medicinal plants, but not on those new diseases.
Alternative One was to call the spirits, but the healers also died from those new diseases.
Alternative Two was available only at the beginning: Pull oneself back and avoid any contact with whites.
Alternative Three however was "sustainable": Consider the own knowledge as humbug, and henceforth believe only in the power of the colorful pills and injections of the white people.1
This inferiority complex has survived to this day and is constantly promoted by our industrial nations. Chili, for example, is still exported from developing countries to China and imported back in the tropics as an effective ingredient of ointments against rheumatism. Even today bananas are transported from Africa to Germany in tons and come back to Africa as a part of baby powder. Even today, the medicinal plant Artemisia annua is industrially grown in Tanzania and, after the detour through Europe, goes back to developing countries as priceless malaria tablets. As tourists, we perceive tropical countries as a paradise when we arrive there with our own tablets. Native people experience this paradise as tropical hell, from which one wants to "run away" because no one in the world is ready to donate even a small amount of the necessary costs for the purchase of urgently necessary ("Western") medicaments. Tropical countries are extremely poor regarding paper money, but extremely rich considering medicinal plants. Therefore, our «Action for Natural Medicine» wants to save a maximum of lives with a minimum of donations.
Therefore, we offer seminars all around the world, in all poor countries. Experience has shown that half of the previously imported drugs can be produced locally. For that we want to support the building of anamed-training centres in Africa and Asia and print literature in local languages so that "chemical" medicine can more and more be replaced by self-made herbal preparations. Through that, the seminar participants get back the legitimate pride of their indigenous knowledge… and are by the way amazed about the healing miracle of creation. And when healing comes through the local «weeds» the following becomes the main thing for some of us: Share the love of Jesus Christ with other people.
1 We are grateful to Michael Osiw, IPM, for these ideas