The Center for Alternative Living Medicine is a clan of people who provide health care to the Rainbow Family of Living Light both at the Annual Gathering from seed camp in June through clean-up in July and at the various Regional Gatherings which occur throughout the year. Our job is to provide loving supportive healing to Family members 24 hours a day during the entire Gathering period.

Several of us have been contacted at varying times to advise folks as to how to set up a CALM unit and what kinds of supplies are needed. Here we will attempt to give a cookbook explanation of the various things that folks need to do to run an effective healing unit.

First of all remember, that Gatherings vary in size and intensity. When preparing for a small weekend regional of 200 people or less, all you may need is a good first aid kit. If you expect several hundred gatherers and/or the Gathering is for more than a weekend long, a more elaborate CALM unit should be constructed. For the Annual Gathering of the Tribe, a complete CALM unit is necessary as we have often dealt with serious life-and-death issues. Lots of Rainbows come with kits of their own and you may be able to share.

Also, do not expect that just because it is a small and short Gathering, CALM supplies are not needed. I did an experiment at our Vermont non-Gathering in June of 1997. Since this “word of mouth non-Gathering” was only three days long and we expected less then 200 people, I brought a small, running-pack CALM unit with me and I left it in my car. I wanted to see if maybe, if we didn’t create a CALM unit, we wouldn’t need one. (It’s the old “build it and they will come” concept.)

Well, I was woken up in the middle of the night because someone had severe abdominal pain. Fortunately, other folks had brought medical supplies which I was able to use.

Remember: People get hurt and people get sick. Be a good Boy Scout. Preparation helps.

Check Supplies for list of things needed for unit.

Lots of individual Rainbows come with small first aid kits and herbs and you may be able to share supplies.

Please remember: if you do not know how to use something, do not use it. Know what you know and know what you don’t know and act accordingly. If you see a herb that you don’t know well, look it up or ask an herbalist about it before using it. Homeopathic remedies don’t work if they aren’t similar to the presenting symptoms. Unless there is someone there who knows how to use an oxygen set-up, don’t have one present; send the patient to the nearest health care facility. Some herbs and homeopathics react poorly with one another. We do not distribute prescriptive pharmaceutical medications. Also CALM workers should discourage people from sharing each others medications. If a CALM worker thinks that someone should have prescriptive medications, an effort should be made to send the patient to the appropriate health care provider for proper evaluation.

Remember the hippiecratic oath: First, do no harm.

Every kitchen should have a first aid kit available (i.e. know where it is stashed) to deal with booboos and minor injuries. The kit should minimally contain: Band-Aids, gauze, adhesive tape, alcohol or hydrogen peroxide, scissors, steri-strips, ace bandage wraps of several sizes, cotton balls, antibiotic ointment to put on cuts and arnica gel to put on sprains. Encourage people to drink lots of water and to use sun screen, even on cloudy days. It is good to have a bottle of tylenol, aspirin or ibuprofen on hand. Echinachea, garlic, ginger and rescue remedy are also helpful. If someone in the kitchen has a more serious injury or if there is a concern that someone might have a communicable disease, CALM should be notified. Either the patient should be transferred to CALM or arrangements will be made for a hippie housecall.

Sanitation: Everyone who is preparing food needs to wash his/her hands frequently. A handwashing station with bleach water needs to be available at all times. Dishwashing should be done with 2 and 1/2 gallon plastic water containers which are control by a foot pedal and gravity. There should be a separate water containers for initial rinsing, sudsings, bleaching and for final rinse. A grey pit should be dug for water run-off. Drinking water should be available at all times. All drinking water must either be boiled or filtered to destroy microorganisms. Encourage everyone to drink lots of water because dehydration can be a serious problem in the summer--even on cloudy days.

All kitchens should have a well maintained shitter with a supply of lime available at all times. A handwashing station with bleach water should also always be available at the shitter.

There should be a crew either designated through Shanta Sena, CALM or through main council process to check up on every kitchen to make sure that good sanitation is routinely maintained. (See sanitation workers in Plugging In. Kitchen crews can use the sanitation crew as a resource for dealing with any sanitation or health concerns. If a sanitation worker makes suggestions for improvements, the kitchen crew should make every effort to comply. On occasion CALM Council and Shanta Sena have stopped various kitchens from getting food from Supply and in some situations have even closed down kitchens completely!!!!!! .

Remember: Your mother was right. Wash your hands. The best way to guarantee a healthy Gathering is to have good sanitation. And kitchen sanitation is where good health care begins!!!!!

Check Plugging In for specific tasks which need to be done for a CALM unit to function properly.