‘Pura Vida’ (pure life), is a popular saying in Costa Rica, which was the venue for the World Organisation of Ovulation Method Billings (WOOMB) International Conference and Training. It was the first time the conference was being held in the Americas.
WOOMB Latin America and WOOMB Costa Rica hosted the April 27–May 2 event under the guidance of WOOMB International (Australia). The week was packaged with two days of conference, a gala dinner, a tour of San Jose, the capital, and three days of training.
The 250 conference delegates came from 27 countries including Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, France, Canada and USA, with our Latin neighbours from the Caribbean, Central and South America, making up the greater number of participants. The T&T contingent comprised Pauline Phelps, and Joseph and Joan Ryan of BOMA-TT; and Dr Sally-Ann Ishmael. English and Spanish interpretation was well managed.
WOOMB spiritual adviser Fr Joseph Hattie OMI, Canada, was unable to attend but sent his greetings and blessings through a pre-recorded video. There was a good presence of clergy including Columbian Bishop Libardo Ramirez Gomez, spiritual director of WOOMB Latin America, and the Costa Rican bishop in charge of Family Pastoral Care. Archbishop José Rafael Quirós of San Jose attended a session for priests. Each day’s session climaxed with the celebration of Mass.
The subject areas were wide-ranging and presented by those in their field of expertise. The first speaker was Peruvian Dr Martín Tantaleán, a medical specialist in Integrated Medicine and Health Management. He delivered the John Billings Memorial lecture entitled ‘Bioethical Considerations of Natural Family Planning’.
Topics covered were: ‘Scientific Facts of the Billings Ovulation Method (BOM)’, ‘Subfertility, Nutrition and Fertility’, ‘Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome’, ‘Teacher Skills on the Effectiveness of the BOM’, ‘Teaching BOM to the Visually Impaired’, ‘Ethical considerations of BOM in the light of Humanae Vitae’, and ‘BOM in the Costa Rican Health System’. One expert, who was unable to attend, answered questions via Skype.
Trinidad and Tobago was among the WOOMB Affiliates to present a report, with Phelps making the presentation.
The John and Evelyn Billings Inaugural award 2018 for the person with the passion to spread authentic BOM worldwide, was presented to American Maria Garcia.
Students and trainers totalled 190. Training was done at three levels: Basic/Upskilling – 55 candidates; Extension Programme – 92; and Curricula Overview – 37. In the Curricula Overview, the rationale for Upskilling and Extension was discussed together with adult learning, as well as the science of follicle development. At the training sessions, we questioned and shared both our challenges and victories.
During the conference we were entertained with cultural dances and lunchtime music played with local instruments. Caribbean calypso music, conga-line dancing and Latin spontaneity crowned the gala evening. Throughout, the food was traditional and organic with fresh fruits galore, and aromatic Costa Rican Arabica coffee for those wishing a cup. Language was no barrier to interaction. In the words of one participant, the week was informative, engaging and downright fun!
We echo the sentiments of Bishop Libardo, “I appreciated the apostolic-scientific sense of that work, initiated by the Billings couple, prudently promoted throughout the world by their followers in response to a need for the method that respects the Creator’s plans and gives peace of mind, and confronts the urgent regulation of births with respect to natural laws.”
Contact BOMA-TT: 384-1659