Africa part two was heralded in with much fanfare (as G described in detail) with veritable trumpets from the toilet, if you will. I now have joined this chorus and am wallowing in sickness, sweat and I daresay a healthy dose of self pity. To be frank (as we always are with our faithful blog readers), the grand adventure has lost its lustre, and is now coated with a thick layer of mucus.
Hack. Hack. Hack.
The clogged gutters, the choked motorways with cars sputtering black smoke and the perpetual roadside garbage barbeques have made breathing more difficult now that I have a steady, hack-filled cough also swimming about in my chest.
And so now I’m left to literally expel all that doesn’t belong in my body, this shrine of mine that I’ve carried from northern climes to a part of the world that I’m not convinced it can live in for extended periods of time.
Perhaps it’s because unidentifiable street meat is just so damn good and the bag water so cheap and does it really matter if there’s no running water to wash my hands with after I blow the trumpets again, that I find myself in this situation.
As I drink from a plastic bag containing cold ginger water and reach for my cough syrup consisting of plant mucus from Kenya, I muse about the healing powers of sorcerers, witches, wizards and traditional herbalists. Ghanaians have traditional cures for all sorts of ailments. Just last week an herbalist in Kumasi claimed he concocted a cure for HIV/AIDS.
And then there’s the strange and enticing world of witchcraft; which banishes those suspected of being witches (always women) from their communities and drives people I’ve met into sobs of tears fearing the witches will now take their life since they also took the life of a loved one. Despite Christianity’s firm grip on the minds and souls of Ghanaians, many mix a pinch of sorcery into their religious tonic, careful to not rouse the dead or offend the spirits. I respect what I can’t always see and am enthralled by this unspoken but understood force that emphasizes offerings and rituals rather than presumed sin.
Today, if a witch or a healer were to offer their services I’d gladly accept their offering. Between coughs I’m sure they could do something to rid my body of that part of Africa it can’t withstand and replace it with that which I embrace. (T)