A Tale of Two Buses – San Juan Capistrano, CA


The Herbalista Free Clinic and Edna Lu the Tea Bus collaborate!

The Herbalista Free Clinic and Edna Lu the Tea Bus collaborate! (photo: Ann Nguyen)

A few years ago, after consistently having people come to the bus with health issues from digestive troubles to headaches to cuts, I decided I needed to take the health part of my mission up a notch. Because Edna Lu (the tea bus) is always in places like city streets, festivals, parks, etc. where there are no homes, she appeals to people who are in need of the care they might find at a home. Last summer I took it upon myself to take a Wilderness First Responder Course geared towards herbalists, activists and homesteaders. Working with the amazing folks from MASHH helped inspire and invigorate my desire to learn more first aid and how to incorporate herbs. But honestly, since then I have had very little need to use these skills (thankfully, I guess), and my enthusiasm has subsided a bit – that is, until this Thursday.

Lorna and myself in our wagon circle.

Lorna and myself in our wagon circle. (photo: Ann Nguyen)

A while back I was introduced online to a woman named Lorna, who travels in a VW Westfalia Vanagon, known as The Herb Bus, or the Herbalista Free Clinic. Finding out about another free herb-based, community-building bus made me want to meet her – and collaborate, if possible. Lorna’s project is based our of Atlanta, GA, where she services two “stations” on a regular basis that help underserved people, as well as a foot clinic. When she can, she rambles out into the country teaching classes, gathering herbs, making medicine, and offering her services.

When I heard that The Herb Bus was out west and making its way down the coast, I had to meet up. I contacted Lorna and set up a collaboration at The Ecology Center. We were to create a wagon circle with our vehicles, free tea, some basic herbal first aid and medicine, and of course, community…

Some of the participants.

Some of the participants. (photo: Lorna Mauney-Brodek)

The event took shape wonderfully, filling up to 30+ people under my half-parachute with chairs, rugs, iced hibiscus tea, and fresh baked goodies from Ally. We introduced our projects and Lorna went into teaching mode, talking about the how’s and what’s of her project and some great specifics of first aid and using herbs in healing. The end of the formal talk was a nice Q&A. Afterwards, I brewed up a pot of hot tea in Edna and invited everyone to stay for a while.

We passed books around for people to see.

We passed books around for people to see. (photo: Ann Nguyen)

When the hopping tea party slowed down, I made my way over to Lorna’s van where we talked shop. We jabbered about vans and buses, onboard systems, experiences, herbs, organization and more. Lorna took one look at my giant jumbled bag of over 100 tinctures (a recent donation), and my box of miscellaneous tinctures, and shook her head. “You’ve got to organize and label these,” she said. “You’ve got to be able to know where they are when you need them.” My technical/mechanical/organizational mind knew she was right. Now I’m tinkering around in my mind as to what the best way to organize and label them is.


Tea party!

Tea party! (photo: Lorna Mauney-Brodek) 

We talked late into the night, and knew that wasn’t enough time for us. I suspect we’ll see each other down the road and have ore time to collaborate and connect. She left early in the morning to help with a foot clinic in LA. Adios, Herbalist Free Clinic!

Please consider supporting her project by visiting her website and seeing what she needs. www.herbalista.org

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One Response to A Tale of Two Buses – San Juan Capistrano, CA

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