samedi 10 décembre 2016

AN ENDOCRINOLOGIST TO THE INDIANS : LIVING IS ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS

 I have just spent ten days with the Omaha, the original inhabitants of the State of Nebraska in the USA. They live in an isolated part of the world, but I want to show pictures to demonstrate that Indians live their lives fully by following some ancient traits which they have not given up, despite 300 years of contact with the White Man. These include: Relationships, Gratitude,Mindfulness of the Present, Humility and sacrificing/thinking about the other.
Soon after my arrival, I was invited to eat recently hunted deer meat.

 Sadhguru a Hindu spiritual leader from India, asked somewhat accusingly, when was the last time you enjoyed the sunset a sunrise? He might be surprised to know that for most of the Indians in this reservation, it is almost a daily occurrence.

 Three generations of Omaha. The grandchildren get to see the two sets of grandparents, almost on a daily basis. There are frequent get together to share laughter, food and stories and also grief.
 Omaha to this day like to adorn themselves and It was a pleasure to bring this ear ring from Fort Cochin to the Reservation
 Community members get together to learn about Health and Disease and prevention of complications of the most common sickness among the Omaha, Type 2 Diabetes.
I am extremely lucky to work with three great nurse educators, two with Winnebago and one with Omaha.
 The past month I had been wandering around South East Asia,Europe and Cuba but I knew I have to confront cold weather if I come this far up north, in the middle of the USA.
As Sadhguru had mentioned, you dont confront a problem but prepare yourself and in this case your body so that it will solve the problem.
Normally i am very sensitive to the cold weather but this time around,I did not feel this extreme cold of wind and snow. Mind over matter.When it snows, you stay indoors and read or write not wander around abandoned countryside. Never once was I wanting for food as my Omaha friends made sure that I always had food.
 Winter has its own beauty and the above scene is very typical of this part of the world, the mighty Missouri river, with floating ice, the rolling hills and the setting sun.
 The city of Omaha is 100 miles away and we were invited to a work related dinner. I was given the choice of choosing the resto, which I did with great pleasure, Darios, a bistro which serves mainly Belgian food but they pass it on as French Food 
 This looks much more Belgian than French food to me, as I have lived both in Paris and in Brussels 
 The festive season is here and there are decorations and lights every where, which radiate a nice feeling. Indians participate in all these but I cant really say they celebrate anything, has no symbolism for them.
 I dont want you think that what all we do is to eat and drink and socialize, we surely do a lot of that, but we do look after other Indians who seek our medical or nursing or anthropological expertise.
 I did not understand well when an Omaha who has been living in Perth, Australia (Indians do not usually live far away from their own country or territory). She said I miss the trees of the reservation. Perhaps she meant this.
 Whenever possible, I take a moment to enjoy the sunset or sunrise. In the Plains states, they both are gorgeous.
 When I am here with the Omaha or the Winnebago, I stay in a house in the Omaha Indian Reservation which is decorated with souvenirs of my travels around the world. I feel very much at home in this place.
 Our concept of time is certainly different from those of the White People. It is amazing how much socializing we do at work, even when we are "busy". I think when you are concerned about others, the concept of being "busy" has a different feeling, it feels neither like work nor stressful. I do not wish to boast, it is very very seldom (almost NEVER) that I do not enjoy a day with the Indians. My life with them is participant involvement. Very seldom do I go out to the nearest town (unless for a good meal!!) so I am not in contact with America, which suits me fine in this perilous political environment.
 This is the village where I stay when I come to stay with the Omaha Indians.
 Everything is done collectively, food appears, people prepare, eat and laugh like no one else in the world, you truly feel that every one is equal and the gender equality is unlike that of the White society.
 The woman on the right is my sister and the woman on the left is my niece, in the Omaha Kinship system. I absolutely enjoy every minute of working with them. They are extraordinarily supportive of my cultural and anthropological approach to chronic diseases, thus I am able to practice applied medical anthropology. I am almost certain that I am one of the very very few doctors in the world who is given the chance to do that. I am very very proud to say  I am a doctor to the Omaha
We were celebrating the birthday of two of them plus another colleague 
For majority of the people in the world, these temperatures may be unimaginable, but during the winter it is quite common here 
It is very seldom I have American Visitors, in 2016, two colleagues from my University of Miami days visited; one of them cooked, the other brought nice wine. Both of them are welcome! My sister who came to participate in the Pow Wow one august said: it is the most cultural experience I have ever had.
But I have had many International visitors: Germany, Finland, Japan, Malaysia, Turkey, France. Very soon I expect to host my friends from Havana, Cuba when they begin visiting USA. 

In recent years, we have been connected to cellular phone signals as well as WiFi, which makes life a little less isolated. 

Visits to France and Cuba, both of which are like homes to me, and then I will be back here once again, as I have been returning, like a homing pigeons for all these years.