Monday, May 28, 2007

Beware of the Witchdoctor

Many people believe and use traditional medicine in Cameroon. Many are sceptical but give it a go if all else fails or they cannot afford conventional medicine. This is what caused the orphanage to take Achiever to see the Witchdoctor. The diagnosis given was that Achiever has four eyes. This means his spirit has reincarnated whilst it is still alive in another person or animal. This is why he is not growing and so week. They think he is an old man some place else where in the world and when the old guy dies Achiever will become strong. Or the other theory is that he is a snake (but Auntie Grace things this is just because of the trousers he had on that day). During my HIV seminar we have long discussions about traditional medicine. There is a Catholic priest who says he can cure HIV. Many people pay thousands of francs on his treatment. I have been told each one is not negative and cured. I am sceptical it has to be said. However one student of mine did make the observation that here in Cameroon they can not scientifically prove the medicine cures HIV so it will never be recognised by the western world. Meaning it will never be used worldwide. So maybe this priest is healing Cameroonians of HIV one by one but I am sure if he really did have a cure scientists would be at least interested in knowing what he does. It is true many drugs are made from plants, so it is possible a witchdoctor can use plants as a remedy for many ills. Whilst in Kroup National Park we saw Quinine growing if the villagers have Malaria they just chew some bark and get better. However it is the crazy diagnosis they make. Achiever cannot just wait for the old guy to die hoping he will then get better. The boy needs to be fed well to get better. What amazes me are the number of Christians who believe in witchdoctors and black magic. I met a lady at church who was reluctant to tell me her babies due date in case I put a curse on her that day, I would not even know how to go about putting a curse on someone!

1 comment:

alison said...

Maggie's diary has very good descriptions of witch dr's in Africa 150 years ago