Impending Move to Nowhere, Reading Gets Primal

Cover of Where There Is No Doctor by David Werner and available at

With the move date drawing closer my research is getting more primal. It's been a strange phenomenon, but true. Maybe it's because every time I tell a friend about our plans the first thing they ask is, "Are you going to get a gun?" Ha. It's even funnier when I tell them that I already have guns, plural. More likely, however, it's because I'm subconsciously (and now consciously) reacting to the fact that we'll be living in the middle of nowhere in approximately 6 weeks.

So I was thinking about what to write about this week and really the only thing that came to mind is all this weird reading I've been doing. Last week it was Human Farming and this week it's Where There Is No Doctor (which you can download for free from Hesperian). I suppose it's not much weirder than books on raising dairy goats and managing cover crops, just a little more graphic. People on the subway still give me equally weird looks and pretend not to be reading over my shoulder. If you're listening to Pitbull at full blast on your Skull Candy headphones you cannot seriously be interested in the awesome nitrogen-fixing power of crimson clover.

Anyway, back to the book. Where There Is No Doctor was created for distribution in developing countries to help with health, hygiene and life in general. These are places where doctors may not always (or ever) be available. If there is doctor they probably have a well-worn copy of this book on the shelf. Why is it relevant to us you might ask? It's not that I don't plan on seeing a doctor again, it's mostly that the book is really interesting and the skills appear highly useful. I think it's a particularly useful book for beginning farmers, especially those living in a rural area. You may be 15, 30 or more minutes away from the nearest doctor. Or you may not have insurance.

Regardless, in an occupation as potentially dangerous as farming it's a good idea to know the basics of first-aid and healthcare. You never know when those skills may come in handy. Even in everyday life it's good knowledge to have. We witnessed a woman almost die from choking on gnocchi on our honeymoon. Without the heimlich she would've certainly been asphyxiated. Little bits of knowledge can be very important, especially when you have to think on your feet. 

Plus the book has a lot of really great advice beyond health advice. I'll spare you the photos of lesions, open wounds and sick babies. Here's some of my favorite illustrations: