Shawnda: Traditional Healer, Evil Monkeys, and Michelle Obama

June 25, 2011

Today we went to see a traditional healer.  There was not much to the visit.  His room was quite small with walls lined with shelves full of jars with different herbs and mixes.  The man, whose mother was from Zimbabwe and father from Malawi, was a healer from birth.  He talked about how when he was younger, his ancestors would visit him in his dreams to teach him about healing.  He could sense sickness in people.

From a young age he became well known throughout the communities, and began to build a career out of traditional healing. He moved to Botswana and has remained there since.  Although I was not easily convinced of his abilities, I was surprised to hear that he does collaborate with modern doctors.  I think that compared to what I have heard about most healers, he is much more humble; all while remaining confident in his abilities.  I would have liked to see more examples of what he does on a daily basis, but that would take more observing than questioning.  

Following the visit, we all went to the game reserve for a braai.  As soon as we entered we saw ostriches, warthogs, and monkeys…too many monkeys.  At first we were all enamored by their cuteness and would have given anything for them to jump up on our shoulders for a picture.  This glee wore off quickly.  As soon as food was in sight, the monkeys quickly loss their fear of us.  They surrounded us in the trees, snuck up on us plenty of times, and managed to spill a Savanna Light and Heinekin and then steal several chips, pasta, a veggie burger, and whatever scraps were left.  I think they even pooped on someone.  I guess not many people could say they had the pleasure of being accosted or pooped on by a monkey, so I’ll appreciate it for what it is.

The end of the day was spent in Game City, buying some gifts and drinking coffee.  The trip back, however, was the longest yet.  As most people know, Michelle Obama is currently in the country and was on a safari tonight which was very close to where we were.  On our taxi ride back we made it out of the parking lot and were stopped for what seemed to be hours.  The police had shut down the main road for her departure from the safari, and we sat there between angry drivers for nearly an hour.  For what? To see about 30 cars speed by, unsure of which had our first lady in it.

This will be my last post for a week unfortunately.  I will be staying in Mochudi, a nearby village, for one week without my computer.  We will be in home stays, which I am incredibly excited for, and will be working in clinics for the whole week. Hopefully this will give me more insight into their culture and public health system.  I’m sure I will have novels to write after this, so expect a large amount of blogging soon.
But, now that I think about it, it may have to wait two Wednesdays from now.  Because as soon as we are back from Mochudi, we have class, then leave for a two night camping trip and the Rhino Reserve I believe.
Packed schedule. Can’t wait!

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