American Indian Medic Brings Magic and Relief to Tsunami Areas

 

 

Thai Children Watching Doc Rosen

Doc Rosen is a medic with the Emergency Air and Ground Lift and Evacuation Service Team (“EAGLES”),  a group of Native Americans dedicated to helping those affected by natural disasters or by war anywhere. 

 

He brings magic as a way of connecting with victims and establishing rapport.  His small team worked in a small fishing village in the Phang Nga Province in Thailand.  That area was virtually destroyed by the December Tsunami.  Of the 6,500 villagers, 4,000 were dragged out to sea and drown. 

 

”The kids flock around asking for magic tricks, as do the adults. The other aid workers say some have not smiled in weeks, but they are laughing as I do my sleight-of-hand,” Rosen told Indian Country Today in an e-mail from Thailand.

 

”Today an old man who lost his entire family, 16 people, smiled at me and then he asked me to ‘do the rabbit trick.”’

 

The Thai counselor said they thought they would lose him because he was not responding before this, but now he is talking again and eating.

 

Mr. Rosen describes how a young girl began calling him “Uncle” and told him that her favorite trick is the Magic Coloring Book.

 

According to the Thai counselors, “the magic tricks are the biggest step the kids have taken towards normalization.”

 


 

 

Thai Children Watching Doc Rosen

Doc Rosen is a medic with the Emergency Air and Ground Lift and Evacuation Service Team (“EAGLES”),  a group of Native Americans dedicated to helping those affected by natural disasters or by war anywhere. 

 

He brings magic as a way of connecting with victims and establishing rapport.  His small team worked in a small fishing village in the Phang Nga Province in Thailand.  That area was virtually destroyed by the December Tsunami.  Of the 6,500 villagers, 4,000 were dragged out to sea and drown. 

 

”The kids flock around asking for magic tricks, as do the adults. The other aid workers say some have not smiled in weeks, but they are laughing as I do my sleight-of-hand,” Rosen told Indian Country Today in an e-mail from Thailand.

 

”Today an old man who lost his entire family, 16 people, smiled at me and then he asked me to ‘do the rabbit trick.”’

 

The Thai counselor said they thought they would lose him because he was not responding before this, but now he is talking again and eating.

 

Mr. Rosen describes how a young girl began calling him “Uncle” and told him that her favorite trick is the Magic Coloring Book.

 

According to the Thai counselors, “the magic tricks are the biggest step the kids have taken towards normalization.”

 

His ad-hoc performances come amidst his other duties of administering medical care and moving bodies.  As he came to a village, Dr. Rosen he provided medical treatment, distributed tooth brushes, performed medical examinations, and presented magic shows. 

 

Rosen is a longtime activist and medical trainer in the Civil Rights Movement and American Indian Movement. He was the first medic in Wounded Knee, S.D. in 1973 and continues to serve as a medic for the AIM. His usual haunts are in reservations of South Dakota on the Navajo Nation.

 

Dr. Rosen is one of the founders of the Guatemala Acupuncture and Medical Aid Project and he often visits the rainforest where he works with the Maya people, the last survivors of La Impunidad massacres of nearly a quarter of a million men, women, and children.

 

He is using his magic to raise money needed to fix or replace the boats of the surviving fishermen.  ”Right now I am putting a lot of my efforts – outside of clinic hours and doing magic shows – into helping with construction of the dry dock. It is mostly just lifting, carrying, and hammering. This project can give the people the tools to help themselves.”

 

 

Dr. Rosen paid his own way to Thailand to help.  His love for the people he helped and entertained was evident in his departing email from Nam Kaem.  ”[I] said goodbye to all of the kids, lots of grownups too, and did some last slight of hand for them. It makes me sad to have left them. Every Thai person I met, and lots of Westerners as well, thanked me. The need is so incredible; the outpouring of help is also incredible. I am honored to have been working with these folks.”

 

Magic is such a wonderful art and the people within its big tent seem to be ever-willing to not only perform as magicians but as real human beings.  In the same way Dr. Rosen was able to connect with the elderly gentleman in Thailand where all other efforts had failed, we believe the connection works both ways.  As we affect others with this often personal and intimate art, we cannot help but be affected in return. 

 

Read the full article in Indian Country Today to learn more about Dr. Rosen and his dual-life as a medic and Magician.  

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