Integrative Health Blog

East African Wisdom: On Healing

Posted by Brad Snyder, M.S., F.N.P.-C. on Tue, Aug 16, 2016


For the last 6 years I’ve lived in various countries throughout East Africa and learned a lot about the intrinsic link between life, community and healing. I’ve had the privilege of living alongside some of the most wonderful, brilliant people from the mountains of Rwanda and Burundi to the vast expanses of Tanzania. Though I worked in various hospitals and community projects, there is no doubt that I gained more than I gave. I’d like to share some lessons that I’ve learned from committed mothers, wise grandfathers, and joyful babies.

  1. Live from the earth

Get back to the basics and nourish our bodies with food from the earth and clean water. Recognize that good food and clean water are fundamental to our health and should not be taken for granted.

  1. Get plenty of sunshine

Allow it to warm our bodies and invigorate our souls.

  1. Cultivate and entrench yourself in a community

Whether in Rwanda or Tanzania, Burundi or Kenya, there is always a phrase that echoes the sentiment that “we are in this together.” In Rwanda, people say, “Turi Kumwe” and in Tanzania, “Tukopamoja”. It emphasizes the importance of togetherness and compassion. It reminds us to be there for others and allow them to be there for us. It reminds us that we are a part of something much bigger than ourselves.

  1. Take it easy

Let things be. Don’t rush. Accept the fact that some things are out of your control. Find the delicate balance between when to push forward and when to let things roll. Going through life with this awareness is key, if we are to discover inner peace.

  1. Lighten Up

Smile more easily. Recognize the good. Wake up to what’s in front of you. We have the power to shift the energy by simply smiling (do it right now!). And of course, don’t be afraid to laugh.

  1. View life through eyes of gratitude

There is a lot of really good stuff out there, take it in with a gracious spirit. Remember that the small things count. Be grateful to others and to the earth. Thank yourself and those around you. We grow exponentially when we view life through a lens of gratitude.