I have a friend (pictured above) who comes by our fence pretty regularly to sell me avocados and bananas. The other day when she stopped by she told me that her husband was very sick. His throat was swollen and he couldn’t eat or sleep. She went on to tell me that they had thought he was going to die because he was so sick, and they had taken him to the hospital.
(People don’t just run to the doctor around here. They do most anything they can to avoid it, actually. So it must have been bad.)
I asked her what they were told at the hospital and she said they were told (by a doctor) that it was “sik bilong ples” which is another way of saying sorcery or witchcraft. Interesting prognosis from a medical professional, huh? The doctor had also said that someone had likely poisoned her husband. So they left the hospital and did “something” to cure him and now he is recovering. She didn’t go into detail about what they had done, but I know it was some sort of traditional ritual.
This is a Christian woman (though her husband is not) but when faced with a tough situation, she, like so many people here, reverts back to traditional witchcraft. That is the world we are living in here close to town. Lots of people have been exposed to truth in some form, but most of them combine their Christianity with traditional animistic beliefs. Even the educated health care workers hold so strongly to these traditional beliefs that when faced with something they can’t explain, they tell the patient it is witchcraft!