A day of herbs and inspiring talks – the refugee crisis

Today I went on an adventure to Elder Farm near Wellington for a day of inspiring talks by some of the nation’s medical herbalists. It was attended by enthusiastic herb students like myself and was a great opportunity to connect with like minded folk.

Betonica Herb courses and events are hosted by Helen Fearney and her partner Stuart on their own slice of off grid paradise at Elder Farm. She was joined by the rest of an expert teaching team – Mel, Catherine and Laura.

I have to say they are living my dream! Rows upon rows of medicinal herbs and plants growing neatly on what was a field up until they moved in 2 years ago.

We all gathered in a marque to listen to some informative and inspiring talks by these herbal gurus. Catherine gave an incredible account of her time spent in Calais volunteering as a herbalist to help treat and support the refugees. The stories she told shook me to the core.

Her vivid description of leaving the camps where people of all ages sheltered under wooden crates (which sometimes caught fire) passing a hypermarket and arriving in the city where their hostel was, really did make a few points about how polaric life is when you are on the other side of the fence.

Catherine’s gripping account of working over there and the kind of acute diseases they were dealing with under pressurised conditions with limited resources was a testament to the strength of human spirit and the capacity of the heart to show love.

Yesterday’s blog couldn’t have been more apt preparation for today’s enlightening account.

We are all connected in this human experience and we now need to love more and relate more than ever before. Catherine made a beautiful point which is that if we look at the big picture it’s easy to get overwhelmed, but if we each of us make a difference in our own little corners whether it’s working directly on the front lines, helping to make a herbal ointment to go to refugees, or getting involved locally, no matter how big or small, we can all of us make a difference.

If the refugee crisis isn’t your calling then maybe there is another project you can champion in your area? Let’s spread some love right here right now.

Thank you for sharing your wisdom and experiences at Elder Farm, I hope to see you all again soon!

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