Carolyn and Keith are the directors and on-the-ground missionaries for Hands Across Nations (HAN) in northern Uganda. They have become great entusiasts of charcoal on several fronts, including for themselves (wound infections, malaria, thyfoid…) animals, as a soil enhancer, as an ingredient of homemade acetylene for welding, and recently, as part of their literacy program.
In an attempt to teach many refugees returning from the Sudan how to read and write in the native language, they began a simple program teaching people how to read and write by learning to read the Bible. As one enthusiastic Muslim man exclaimed, “What can I say – I can now read and write in my own language!”
After training a small group of local teachers, the program has multiplied to thousands of graduates, many of them becoming teachers themselves. Understanding the equally great health needs, Carolyn (a physical therapist) decided to incorporate into the literacy program, a full day class on charcoal as a medicine. She reported to her hometown newspaper in Chewelah, Washington:
Black Gold Brings Healing to Ugandan Prisoners
What is black, useful for cooking, and can relieve gastrointestinal illness of 300 people in just a few hours or days? Some of you already know the answer, but many may not. It’s charcoal! In the past two weeks we have been able to see a near miracle for a whole prison.
Back in September 2015, a rural prison, was the site of a Hands Across Nations (HAN) Teacher Training Workshop for the adult literacy program, Yabbo Anyim Kede Kwan, in the Lango language. Within a week over 90 people started their classes with the volunteer teachers who were their fellow inmates. With their lessons completed, exams were scheduled for a week ago. Unfortunately, a fast moving gastrointestinal illness, was affecting nearly all of the inmates to some degree with some unableto eat or to walk, and who had to stay in the latrine as they could not control their diarrhea.
In one of the health lessons in the literacy program the students had heard about using ordinary cooking charcoal to make an effective remedy for diarrhea. So this was their chance to see how effective it is. HAN brought in a mortar and pestle, and hands on training went into high gear with the prisoners taking turns pounding and sifting the charcoal until they had enough [fine powder] to start treating each other. One rounded teaspoon of fine powder in one cup of water for each suffering inmate was quickly measured out for all who were willing to try it. This was a method taught to us by John Dinsley, author of CharcoalRemedies.com. We had been telling people about this in the villages, but this was a mammoth testing of its effectiveness. Within two hours, four of the eight [men] who had been camping out in the latrines, missing the first part of their exams, were able to take the second part of the exam, and all of the inmates were feeling much better and could take next three parts of their exams the next day.
On graduation day, Friday, January 22nd, it was reported that the entire prison had been cured of the diarrhea, including the guards and Officer in Charge! All are now singing on the same tune, praising God for bringing them such an effective and “free” remedy for this common ailment. They are able to take care of themselves and will be able to share what they have learned from firsthand experience once they return to their home villages.
We are grateful to have a simple way to bring hope and healing to prisoners.”
In a separate email Carolyn wrote:”They were having an enormous outbreak of severe diarrhea where several men were so bad they couldn’t leave the latrine and could not eat, and couldn’t walk without help. One of the guards told our trainer that he was quite sure a couple of them were going to die soon. So when Peter came back and told us about it, first [we] sent some already prepared charcoal, and the next day, we got together the supplies and instructions and had him spend the full day working with them to train them how to treat themselves. You’re welcome to use the photos and article for your website. Please do not use the name of the prison, and just say it’s in Africa so no one can recognize where it is. They don’t want to be embarrassed by negative reports. The young man without a shirt had earlier been in the latrine constantly, and had soiled all his clothing, unable to stop the flow of his diarrhea. Once he was given a cup of the charcoal, two hours later, he felt well enough to wash his clothing, and came to learn how to make the powder, wearing his wet shorts.
“It is a natural for the prisons as medicines are difficult for the prisoners to obtain. Even people back in Chewelah, from time to time, tell me how they are continuing to use charcoal for their gastrointestinal issues. It is a wonderful healing remedy!”