Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Traditional Healer

If one suffers from pain, the Doc is gonna pull out the magical pad and write you a prescription that will ease the pain, you will likely to have side effects, and maybe, if your lucky, ugh---you'll become an addict just like Michael Jackson. Since that didn't get him very far, there's a better option---a Bushman medicine derived from the tuberous roots of a plant native to Africa. It's been used by Traditional Healers for hundreds of years. It's effective with no side effects—ok, well, maybe, if your lucky, you'll start to hallucinate. Ugh!

Traditional healers, called Sangomas, claim to be able to heal any ailment, from Aids to a screwed up love life---from money problems to spells that make ones penis larger. With promises like those, whoa, one has to wonder of the gullibility of the African people, especially in more remote areas of Africa. But really, call me gullible, because I believe in the magic of traditional and alternative healers, it's just that in the states the “quacks” are more formal, and it all makes sense.

A few years ago, while in Zambia, I was taken to a traditional healer who performed a ceremony on me, put her hands exactly where my “pain” was, and said prayers to heal my spirit. I didn't take her medicine ---it was a little to weird to throw that kind of caution to the wind when you're in the middle of nowhere. It did, however, feel special to be in her presence, and to be open to experiencing that part of the Zambian culture. And after seeing her, something did shift in me....but let's chalk that up to the power of African suggestion.  

 So, a few weeks ago, on a very chilly morning, I got a hitch to Kanye on a pick up truck and I had to sit in the back with a goat. The goat was very cute, and soon, another hitcher got in telling me that he and goat will gather around to keep me warm. Sounds good to me, I was absolutely freezing! We got to talking, and guess what, he was a traditional healer, and a fascinating one at that. He looked so normal though, and I asked him why that was.   Laughing, he told me wasn't a bushman, but was studying the Bushmen's secrets, upon which, he pulled out this thing that looked liked a combination of a coconut and a beetroot. Whatever it is called, this was the infamous African tuberous root that I had read about. I was so excited to see and touch it, but this goat was beginning to look curiously at me, so I contained myself.  The guy told me it can heal anything, and with that, we were off to the races talking about traditional and alternative medicine.

When we got to Kanye, I went to visit my host family, who are alive and well by the way, and I told them all about the root and it's healing powers. Of course my conservative mom wanted to throw me out of the house for believing in this stuff, but I stood my ground with them, and they listened to the quack from America say her schpeel on alternative medicine. After lunch and some good laughs, my mom started complaining about her back hurting lately, and with a twinkle in her eye said, “Tshep, can you go get that root and massage my pain away.” Now your talking mom!

1 comment:

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