What is your life’s purpose?
To teach, heal, and learn.

How are you living your purpose?
Eighteen months ago, I started a non-profit organization called Salai Clinics. We offer free holistic medicine training and treatment in remote communities, where access to healthcare is both limited and unaffordable. We have been able to reach 17 communities in Kenya, where we offer training to traditional doctors, midwives and any other members of the community who wish to learn.

I have had the opportunity to work alongside many tribes in Kenya, learning about their traditions and their own methods of traditional medicine, which I have been able to share with other communities. Watching how these tribes group together and support one another in difficult times reiterates the importance of life and how fragile it can be. Family, friends and love are what’s important in life, not chasing materialistic goals.

Consulting with a patient at Jericho primary school in Witu and training one of the teachers

How did you find your purpose?
I have always had an interest in natural medicine, influenced by my grandmother, who taught me about its benefits. As I grew up, this became a passion. Since the age of 14, growing up in Berkshire County in England, I have volunteered in health and social work. At the College of Integrated Chinese Medicine (affiliated with Kingston University), I studied Chinese medicine; later, in Kenya, I trained in homeopathy designed specifically for Africa, which focuses on tropical diseases and prominent ailments like hypertension, diabetes, high blood pressure, and HIV/AIDs. Once I started treating clients, I realized I had a natural aptitude for teaching.

While traveling in Cambodia, I made friends with Kristin Braddock, the Founder and CEO of Sewing New Futures, an organization that “empowers women stuck in a cycle of prostitution, poverty, and forced servitude through education, career training, education, medical care, and social services.” Hearing about Kristin’s experiences empowered me and gave me the courage to take action and find my purpose.

On arriving home, I enrolled in an acupuncture course, which would enable me to heal and teach others. After graduating, I was given the opportunity to run an acupuncture clinic in Kenya. This gave me the confidence and experience to start my own project.

Using cupping therapy on a Samburu Moran

 

What advice do you have for purpose seekers?
I would encourage anyone looking to find their purpose to look at what motivates and interests them, and explore ways in which they can incorporate that into their lives. Following your purpose can be a terrifying leap, but once you get there you realize it’s not scary at all. The experiences I have had are more rewarding than I could have ever imagined.

Running food drops in Kissima, Samburu county, during a severe drought

What resources do you recommend?
Amma Resonance Healing Foundation — I work alongside this organization
College of Integrated Chinese Medicine – this is where I trained
Books:
The Road of Lost Innocence: The Story of a Cambodian Heroine by Somaly Mam
Cut: One Woman’s Fight Against FGM in Britain Today by Hibo Wardere
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gwande

Connect with Hannah Templeton
Email: salaiclinics@gmail.com
Website
Instagram: @Salaiclinics
Facebook Page

“It’s fascinating to learn the evolution of a person, to understand human emotion and why someone is the way they are,” says Hannah Templeton, founder of Salai Clinics. “To help them then is a privilege.”

Hannah’s personal and holistic approach to treatment is why so many communities in Kenya have been so responsive to her work. Over the past year and half, she has treated acute and chronic ailments and trauma, which itself is often the cause of health problems.

Since she was 14 years old, growing up in Berkshire County in England, Hannah has volunteered in health and social work. At the College of Integrated Chinese Medicine (affiliated with Kingston University,) she studied Chinese medicine and later in Kenya she trained in homeopathy designed specifically for Africa, which focuses on tropical diseases and prominent ailments like hypertension, diabetes, high blood pressure, and HIV/AIDs.

For the past few years, Hannah has been splitting her time between England, where acupuncture work brings in money, and Kenya, where she treats and trains local communities for free. Salai Clinics run solely on donations that help cover travel to remote locations and the traditional medicine used to treat patients and establish local clinics.

She’s always been a healer and a social worker, but Hannah says she knew exactly what she wanted to do when she crossed paths with a woman during her travels in Asia in 2012. Kristen had quit her job in New York City to move to India and work with survivors of human trafficking. Inspired, Hannah knew she wanted to heal not just physical ailments but emotional and mental trauma. Training in Integrated Chinese Medicine was “the most exhausting and the most rewarding” thing she had done, she says.

Countless matatu rides on dusty African roads and public ferries between remote islands later, that description still holds. “To be able to educate myself and to be able to go do this, that’s really amazing,” she says. “I don’t feel like being a carer makes you a good person, but doing this is making me a better person. I get to meet people who are teaching me as well.”

Next year, Hannah plans to travel to India, where she will expand her traditional medicine skills by working with local healers, while treating survivors of human trafficking. But while she’s moving on with her personal and professional journey, she knows she’ll return to Kenya some day. “Because it’s home.”