“The sword that gives life…” Kim Wutkiewicz heard this phrase echo through her years of aikido training. At the time, she did not know that, years later, she would find her “swords” to be hair-thin and only one inch long. This summer, Kim Wutkiewicz, owner of and acupuncturist at Spring Point Wellness in Cambridge Massachusetts, was asked to help train health care workers in Uganda through a non-profit organization called the PanAfrican Acupuncture Project (PAAP). Although she no longer formally practices aikido, Kim is deeply grateful for this opportunity that allows her to embrace the spirit found at the heart of this martial art – the art of peace.
Founded by Richard Mandell in 2003, PAAP embodies this spirit by introducing a powerful and gentle healing modality to areas of Africa devastated by HIV, AIDS, malaria and TB. In Uganda, AIDS alone has taken roughly 1 million lives and left an equal number of children orphaned. PAAP volunteers from all over the world train health care workers, including doctors, nurses, mid-wives, physiotherapists, and traditional healers, to provide simple and effective acupuncture treatments to community members suffering from these debilitating diseases. Acupuncture, originally practiced in China over 2,000 years ago, works by tapping into the human body’s inherent intelligence. Practitioners insert small needles into acupuncture points located on the surface of a patient’s body. By working to return a patient’s body to a state of homeostasis, these treatments are tremendously effective with negligible or no side effects.
The results of these treatments in Uganda and Kenya have been remarkable. Patients will walk several miles and wait in line for hours to receive care. Two-thirds of patients have reported either significant relief or complete resolution of symptoms, including pain, weakness, rashes, coughing, digestive problems, weight loss, insomnia, and fatigue. Due to the success in Uganda thus far, key individuals in Tanzania, Malawi, and Ethiopia have expressed a strong interest in having the PanAfrican Acupuncture Project begin trainings in their countries.
Because volunteers train other health care workers to provide treatments, rather than to treat directly themselves, the scope of this program reaches far and wide, currently providing acupuncture to between 68,000-94,000 individuals. With an acupuncture skill set, these health care workers carve out a unique role for themselves in their communities. They feel a sense of ownership in relation to this work. They become the day-to-day warriors, brandishing the tiny swords that “give life.”
In November of 2011, Kim Wutkiewicz, Richard Mandell, and a group of trained acupuncturists will travel to Isingiro and Kamwenge, Uganda. Each volunteer is asked to raise $5000 to help fund the trip and maintain the project. RainyDayMagazine encourages our readers to support Kim in her efforts and to help with any amount possible. You can make a secure PayPal payment contribution here, please be sure to designate it for “Kim Wutkiewicz.” Or you can mail contributions by check directly to: The PanAfrican Acupuncture Project at
- The PanAfrican Acupuncture Project
- 113 Summit Avenue
- Brookline, MA
In her own clinic in Cambridge, Kim has found that her patients inevitably become her teachers. In Uganda, she anticipates that her hosts will offer her more insight into living and thriving than she could have ever learned in school. She plans to share her stories on Facebook in order to spread awareness and to enable donors to witness the effects of their generous support.
“The Art of Peace does not rely on weapons or brute force to succeed; instead we put ourselves in tune with the universe, maintain peace in our own realms, nurture life, and prevent death and destruction. The true meaning of the term samurai is one who serves and adheres to the power of love.”
Excerpted by William McLuskie from The Art of Peace a collection of quotes by Morihei Ueshiba (Founder of Aikido) translated by John Stevens.
For more information about the PanAfrican Acupuncture Project, go to here. The PanAfrican Acupuncture Project is an independent 501(c)(3) and all donations are 100% U.S. tax-deductible. Any excess monies raised beyond this amount will go towards providing necessary supplies and expansion of the project into other areas.