Healthy eaters can find travel stressful and almost impossible. The following three steps will assist you when looking for healthy food on travel:
Before you leave home go to happycow.net and type in your destination city. It will return all of the healthy places to eat in their data base. It could be Johannesburg [South Africa], London [England], or Kansas City [USA]. Store this information in your handheld device or print it out to carry with you. Make sure to contact the establishment to confirm that they are still in operation.
When packing for your trip. Reserve a small section of your checked baggage for a small pantry. It could be the size of a shoe box. You could include:
a staple of protein like a jar of nut butter a few slices of a sprouted bread in a zip lock bag. Sealed packages of tuna, salmon, or bean entrees. A small bottle of liquid aminos [braggs liquid aminos] to get extra protein and add flavor to a dish when needed.
Fruit could include raisins, dates or any dried fruit.
Low sugar energy bars for your nap sack while you are out and about.
Your favorite tea bag. It will add comfort from home.
A pro-biotic to protect the intestines from “bugs” and vitamin-C for detoxing from day to day.
Ask people you trust for suggestions for finding a good healthy meal or food supplies. There are information desks at hotels, airports, and rental car agencies.
If you are on a cruise ship, a brief conversation with dining management will typically provide the perfect accommodation for you for the entire trip. You should have similar conversations with the hotel executive chefs.
Also budget for a good supply of drinking water, which if you are not traveling by car, you will have to purchase. This is a must in order to prevent dehydration and to keep the bowels functioning properly.
It is not the one thing we do that threatens our health. It is not one food item that we eat or the lack of fresh fruits and vegetables. Nor is it one product that we use. It’s not the chemicals that we are exposed to; be it hair perms, insecticides, ammonia, or air fresheners. It is not the amount of substances or medications that we take. Nor is it the lack of water or the amount of coffee we drink. It’ s not the air pollution from cars & trucks, hazardous waste, ultraviolet radiation or landfills. It is not the lack of sleep, rest or quiet time. It is not too much stress or work, nor is it the lack of exercise.
It is the collective use and exposure to all these things that puts the body at risk and encourages abnormal cell growth. It is the careless treatment of our spirit, mind and body that breaks down the immune system. This leaves little time for healing, repair and the replacement of healthy cells. And when the body does attempt to rebuild there is little fuel from whole foods and no reserves to complete the task.
The immune system is not being supported and therefore cannot function at it’s full capacity in order to fight off many of the threats to the body. The loss of good health is so gradual that it can go unnoticed. A sense of what feels normal is lost and often times the onset of a particular symptom cannot be pinpointed.
Many of the items listed above strip the body of key nutrients and minerals that are needed in order to maintain good health.
At this point we must start living. The length of our lives is not as important as we often think. Length of life is not equal to quality of life. Really living is embracing the principles for living , which includes an awareness of purpose and making choices about daily living. Many of the things that we are exposed to can be a avoided or replaced by more natural alternatives. This takes knowledge and understanding, which allows us to live a physical existence, entrenched in love and good stewardship. With the Creator as your coach to bring forth the peace, purpose and plan for your life …Congratulations! Now you can start living.
The Lesotho Medical Mission was a life-changing experience for me on many fronts. Now that I am back home in the United States reflecting, I can see that there were so many potential points of failure and danger. However, our missionary leadership team,
headed by Dr. Cecelia Williams Bryant, Sr. Episcopal Supervisor of the A.M.E. Church, were expert in all areas of this work and used their years of experience to buffer us. This allowed us to focus on service, the people and the work that needed to be done.
One of my initial observations is that we who have so much do so little. It is also amazing how much people can live without. The team consisted of 70 missionaries from the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. We successfully completed five and one half days of clinical work and five community outreach trips. (see My Journal Details)
The temperature was great. It was the beginning of spring. We arrived in Maseru, Lesotho from Johannesburg just in time to see the sunset. It was beautiful!
Goals for our mission
Setup a medical clinic in the capitol city of Maseru, Lesotho, and provide health care services to as many men, women and children as possible.
Execute relief ministry to designated outreach targets in and around the city of Maseru, Lesotho.
Fortify and strengthen three designated AME churches in Maseru, Lesotho through collective worship and gifts.
Our trip to Lesotho was uneventfully pleasant and exciting. There were several team members, who like me, had never been to South Africa. We departed from Dulles airport in Virginia on Thursday, August 26, 2010 and arrived in Johannesburg on Friday evening after a quick refueling in Dakar, West Africa. Total air time was approximately 17 hours. One of my initial assignments was to help keep the team healthy during the long-haul flight. I acted as coach/physical trainer making sure that each person moved every one to two hours during the flight and making certain that they remained hydrated. It was a pleasant spiritual moment when we touched down on the continent of Africa. We were greeted warmly by our guide and travel logician, Jeffrey. We spent our first evening in Johannesburg.
We started out early the next day for a six- hour chartered bus ride to Maseru. There were two buses, one for the medical team and one for the rest of the team. On the bus smaller groups were formed. The team were separated to provide the first opportunity to do face-to-face team building and continue planning for the days ahead. It was important to maximize every moment in order to accomplish our assignments. The bus ride was nonstop with the exception of our passage through the two borders. I conducted body maintenance exercises hourly, which included turning the waist, stretching the spine, and massaging the legs and arms. Here are a few pictures of the country side and border sites of interest.
The scenes of the South African country side helped prepare us for what we would face in the days ahead, including the living conditions of the people we would serve in the coming days.It was the start of spring in Lesotho. The nights were still cold (40 degrees) and the days were a very comfortable 70 degrees.
We were asked to get out of our buses and walk across the 1/4 mile border into Maseru. We were advised not to take pictures while walking outside of our buses and while crossing at border.
The city of Maseru, which is the capitol of Lesotho offered amenities not found in other rural or urban areas of the country. The infrastructure was very westernized. Our hotel was very nice and served as a wonderful home base after very long work days. It was a safe place for over 70 women and only three men. We were also able to have American-type breakfasts and occasionally dinners.
We established our clinic in the center of Maseru at the African Methodist Episcopal James Center owned and operated by the A.M.E. Church. This facility was recently refurbished and now stands as the best facility for conferences and events in the area.
It is a revenue generator, which helps supports the church community outreach programs. The next phase will include a paved parking lot and landscaping. However, for now these remain rough, hilly and challenging especially during winter. The team spent Saturday night, Sunday after church services, and lunch setting up the clinic and preparing for opening day, 8 am Monday.
When arrived at the James Center, that morning the lines were full of people. By 12 noon we realized that the wait queue for triage was so full that we not be able to service all of them that day. We ended the line and ask them to return the following day. We repeated this process each day. The people were patient and kind. Few arrived at the center by cars. Most of them walked for miles and were willing to return on the next day.
“To create sustainable health and wellness, we would need to directly address the cultural and social barriers”
The burden of HIV/AIDS has impacted every aspect of life in Lesotho. What was apparent during our short stay was that women are dying more frequently and faster than the male population. As a result, active grand-parenting is the norm, orphanages are at capacity, and teenage head-of-households are on the rise.
One of the most significant takeaways I experienced was the extreme oppression of the women of Lesotho. As I read the briefing materials provided to us I noted this information:
“In 2006 Lesotho passed the Legal Capacity of Married Person’s Act, which provides equal status to married women. Under traditional customary law women lacked political, financial and social rights, which made it more difficult for them to resist demands for sex and negotiate safer sex practices. This therefore made them more vulnerable to HIV infection. It is hoped that the passing of this law will change women’s subordinate status in Lesotho’s traditional culture, and enable them to better protect themselves from HIV.”
To create sustainable health and wellness, we would need to directly address the cultural and social barriers that necessitate public policies like this one. The HIV/AIDS crisis has put the womb of the Kingdom of Lesotho in a diseased state and her population at risk for extinction.
Future Mission Focus
The intention of the mission leadership was to make an impact no the lives of the people of Lesotho for generations to come. Unlike traditional missions, this medical mission was holistic in nature. We had the skill sets to address the physical condition of a person, but also we were able to treat depression, stress, address emotional issues, wellness, and provide health education. Enhancements would be to strengthen the program in these areas. For example, more resources must be allocated towards prevention and sustainable living.
Our health education efforts focused on the areas of life extension and prevention. Our goal was to identify the cultural inhibitors to wellness and address these through health education with the overall goal of providing affordable non-medical and medical solutions for wellness.
Our last visit to Lesotho was four years before this visit. Keeping with the spirit of empowerment we built in time to transition the work we’ve started to the local missionary groups. More specifically, we trained them to do follow-ups, to monitor treatment protocols, and facilitate compliance with treatments. Their follow-up would ensure that continued healing takes place and that expected positive outcomes occur. Additionally, we plan to leverage medical technology (like telemedicine) to put the clinical team in touch with the local missionary groups and certified practitioners for planning purposes before we return.
Surina Ann Jordan, PhD
Zima Health…. a wellness and disease prevention company
We visited a prison today and, for obvious reasons, I was not able to take my cell phone. The prison authorities reduced the number of us that could go from two vans loads to eight of us. While there, we were able to minister to the women prisoners. They accepted 5 large suitcases filled with underwear, socks, toiletries and books.
We also setup a clinic in the prison infirmary. I was able to do health education sessions with the women prisoners. Additionally, we provided gynecological exams, internal medicine, and dental hygiene.
A total of 38 women gave their lives to Christ! Praise be to the Lord most high!
We officially closed the clinic we’ve been using all week, and opened a hotel clinic to provide similar services to the employees and their families before we left.
Today the clinic experience was good; we are working better as a team. We are also getting better at queue management, even though, on average, the wait was four to five hours. The people are patient & mannerly. Many of the people, however, are not going to be serviced. We are running out of time.
I worked the queue, sharing practical information concerning disease prevention and health. I did a lifestyle presentation to women in the gynecological services queue and small group consultations for those with chronic diseases.
A Break For Lunch
Our leaders have been encouraging each of us to unplug from the clinic to increase our emotional capacity and reduce stress. So today at lunch, I chose to go a few miles into the community with a team member and one of our translators, who is a native. As with most American eateries, the restaurant did not have much to accommodate my plant-based diet. The waiter and I created a tasty plate of roasted vegetables over a bed of white rice. After lunch, we walked the streets and quickly browsed in a few shops. Unemployment and underemployment remain high. The mines of South Africa still provide employment to males, but not nearly as much as in the recent past. The garment and construction industries have experienced important growth in recent years, but the agricultural sector livestock and subsistence farming-remains the largest domestic source of employment. It was interesting to see a strong people, whose culture has remained intact.
There are some signs of American influence in not so positive ways, like satellite dishes on huts and mobile carriers on road side stands. The music in the cab at lunch was American vulgar rap music. Overall, European influence seem more prevalent with the young people.
Today the outreach team went to an orphanage. They made a good report. The children were fighting for the laps of the team members. All of the children seemed to have colds and minor ailments. Our nurses examined them. The youngest child was two months old. Her mom is dead and her grandmother is blind. We presented loads of clothing and the visit went well.
Back to the Clinic
We are totally at capacity for the dental and eye exams. We have started turning people away. The dental team reported that some of the people had never been to a dentist.
The dental chair and treatment chamber that was designed for the mission never arrived. When we leave, all of the remaining supplies and the treatment chamber will be donated to a local health care facility.
As our time here draws to a close, most of us have mixed emotions about shutting down. In doing so, we realize that most of the people will not see a doctor unless we return again. Some of the older patients said that “they would be dead” if we don’t return soon. It is very difficult to leave a people who are in such need.
Many of the women have had two or three children, but have never seen a gynecologist. I must note, however, as a holistic practitioner that with the number of successful births reinforces the fact that pregnancy is not a disease or sickness. It is a natural occurrence designed by God to maintain human life.
Prayer Cell Groups
The 70 of us are a part of smaller groups called pray cells. We provide emotional support and spiritual enrichment during the mission. It’s evening now and I have just returned from meeting with my prayer cell group. There was not a dry eye in the group as we shared our life changing experiences. We also prayed for a member of the mission team that we must leave behind with an injury. He is scheduled for surgery tomorrow. His roommate will stay behind with him.
I want to again thank so many, family members, friends, professional acquaintances, and my church family for making my participation in this mission possible. Your prayers, financial support, and words of encouragement are invaluable. I am the traveler, but as I minister my hands are your hands. You are here with me. May God bless you for your sacrifice.
We are two days into the work at the clinic. We have been humbled by the vulnerable state in which have we found this great people.The clinical setting was built on a foundation of the love and was made peaceful by the constant prayers and acts of kindness of the prayer & non medical support teams. As a result, not only was medical care provided, the people were also encouraged, offered salvation, and given hope. At the clinic, we were encouraged by the patience of the people and their response to the love in us, which helped us help them. It was a very holistic environment.
Each day the waiting queue grew as word about the clinic spread deep into the villages of Lesotho. They came from near and far. As our ability to manage the wait queue became efficient, the health educators were able to provide group and individual interventions for diabetes management, stress related ailments (hypertension, migraines, insomnia, depression and bereavement), secondary prevention and compliance to treatment. The gynecological (GYN) queue included presentations on breast exams, HIV/AIDS prevention and question & answers about healthy living.
My Teams Visit to Group Home (HIV/AIDS)
For the first time, I left the medical team and the clinical setting to join the non-medical HIV/AIDs support group. After breakfast, we met with the support group team to sort the gifts we brought to distribute. We traveled several miles on paved roads leading outside the city then entered some very rough dirt roads for the final few miles to the village.
We arrived at the community home, which was a nice one story brick structure. We were amazed to see seniors on the porch. We thought we were coming to see children and teenagers who were displaced from their homes due to parents with HIV. The home was really a support home surrounded by a community of diseased & and economically poor people.
We greeted the seniors and the home Director. There were several young children inside. We all went inside. Two of the missionary teams took the children aside to make crafts and play games. The remaining team sat, chatted, shared songs, and prayers with the adults. We discussed what we might do for them. They requested that we visit several of the sick members of the village who were sick and unable to walk.
With the Director as our guide & translator, we started out walking the dusty roads of the village. It was remarkably poor. Most houses had no plumbing and many had no electricity.
We visited a total of four people:
First was the lady in a mud row house. She was bedridden and in much pain as was evident when her caretaker set her up in bed. We were told that she had TB, at which point several of us removed ourselves from her immediate space. We had prayer and left to our next location.
The next location was to visit with a stroke victim/amputee–from complications of diabetes. She was beautiful and older. She expressed her delight to see us. She lived in a standalone cottage. There was no plumbing or electricity. The house was filled with the smell of chemicals from the constant use of Sterno candles. We prayed with her and she was encouraged.
Next we visited a woman, who had delivered her baby at home. The baby became ill & died at the hospital. The hospital morgue will not release the baby until she pay
s her bill. She cannot afford to purchase a coffin for the baby. The missionary team collectively gave enough to cover those bills. Upon closer examination the women had oral thrush, which is yeast infection in the mouth and is a sign of full-blown AIDs. She had not eaten and was traumatized.
Next we dropped in on an elementary school. It was one room with a tin roof. The room was smaller than my lovely bedroom at home. There were about 40 well-behaved, adorable children in the place. No desks, no chairs.
They were learning English at the time. The teacher drilled them on geography, and math. The children sang us a song and we departed.
The final home was a mud hut with dirt floor. Living there was a 89-year-old mother who is the care-giver for her son who has HIV/AIDS, blind and possibly cancer. She is hearing impaired and has a bad hip. They sleep on the floor (no mattress). He was lying on a sheet, eating a lunch she had prepared. The place was very small. So after speaking some of us waited outside. I wondered how they could have made it during the winter, which can include rain, snow and high winds. We experienced a mixture of emotions from these visits. Needless to say, we will never be the same.
As we returned to the group home we came to a beautiful garden that had been planted by the community. It was located strategically next to a brick outhouse. We continued our visit with the group home staff. We presented our gifts, had prayer, and departed for the city.
Upon our arrival into the city, we went directly to the medical clinic and pitched in where we could until closing, which was about 7 p.m. The need is so great it would be overwhelming, but for the help of the Lord.
I have been taking pictures. However with each passing day, I find myself taking fewer and fewer pictures. This experience for me is not one that prompts the use of a camera.