Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Shaman cured my Broken Heart (temporarily)

I was really depressed today because this Austrian girl took my heart and crushed it into dust, and blew it into the clouds, but everyone thought I was just really sick. They explained that it wasn't a sickness of my body, but a sickness of my soul, and that I needed to see the Shaman-lady. That sounded great to me. So after moping around all morning I hopped on the back of Fernando's motorcycle, armed with a small plastic bag containing an egg from the farm and my empty medicine container to show to the shaman, and off we went.
It took about an hour to get to her house. maybe twenty Km down the dirt road to Tulipe, then twenty minutes down the paved road past some other towns I don't know, and then another half hour along a dirt road to this lady's house. Her daughter called her when we got there, she was fifty or so, wearing pink socks in sandals, and a worn blue blouse, with a faded pink sweater of some kind draped over her shoulders. She took us into her office, a small wooden room built next to the house, which had a small table and a miniature doctors bed with a blue sheet on it, and then a small back room filled with little vials and herbs and stuff.
The first thing I noticed was the contents of the table, a jar filled with some kind of liquid and cotton swabs, a big unmarked glass moonshine jug filled with leaves and a slightly murky liquid, a modern automatic blood-pressure machine, some sort of red dried plant, and a couple of dropper bottles with faded labels. Fernando and I described what the problem was (minus the broken heart part), and then she told me to take off my shirt.
Now I had been told that the egg we brought was so I could be bathed with it, which I assumed meant breaking the egg and using the inside, but instead the Shaman(ess?) just rubbed it all over my chest, neck, face, and back, and then ran it up along both of my legs and rubbed it rapidly in my hands. And then she sprayed me with a huge mouthful of alcoholly-herby smelling liquid from the jug. I was not prepared for this. After spraying a huge mouthful over my back (and it was cold), she then turned me around and spit all over my chest. Little bit wierd. Anyrate, she told me to put my shirt back on, and went into the back.
She came out with the egg broken into a drinking glass, mixed with some clear liquid. My first thought was, oh shitake mushrooms, rocky or no, I am not drinking that, but fortunately she was just using it as a diagnostic tool. She told me the foam on the top was because I was worried. The white film hovering above the egg was because I missed my family, but that the main problem was a thin column of white pulp rising above the egg, which she said was another person from another country who wasn't here who was causing sickness to my soul, or inner being or whatever. The two small red dots of "blood" in the unbroken yolk were because I was stressed. She said I had been having back pain, and I told her I had but I thought it was simply from spending so much time in bed. She said that the egg clearly said it was from stress.
She then made me the first of two potions. This one was brown, about a half cup, warm, and one of the most vile things I've ever tasted. She said I had to drink it slowly. It was very salty, and if I had to guess, seemed to be a mix of coffee grinds, salt, bitter ass herbs, and maybe soap. It was vile, but I sipped it down.
After the first poition she had me remove my shirt again (which now smells strongly like whatever the hell that jug-liquid is) and lay on the doctors-bed.
She massaged my back, one side and then the other, with some spanish version of tiger-balm, like menthol extra strength relaxation paste. This felt awesome. She then had me sit up, and massage the top of my chest and then my head, but firmly pressing her palms against my temples, and moving her hands back and forth vigorously. Again, awesome.
Then came potion number two. This one was green and at least see-through, and was very bitter but with some sugar in it. She then added a packet of white powder and had me drink it down. This was like candy compared to the first one, and still disgusting. Fortunately she gave me a whole bottle of it (without sugar) to sip on for the next couple days. Yay.
She gave me two pills, one for tonight, and one for tomorrow, and told me not to eat meat or sweets until Sunday. She took my blood pressure with the little machine, which was perfect, and also my resting pulse was 69, which is pretty cool, I guess the altitude is helping my cardio.
She charged me 8 dollars, which I think is expensive but I would happily have paid a hundred for the experience, and then it was off on Fernando's bike again back to Las Tolas. I had a huge smile on my face for most of the ride back, I don't know why, but I felt great. Part of it is just being on a motorcycle. I really, really am completely in love with motorcycles. I am going to buy one when I get back (sorry Mom, Dad, all relatives, nothing you can do to stop me). The other part was the fact that I just had some serious ethnic Shaman healing and this made me really happy. I got back to the village and ate a bowl of soup, a plate of rice and potatoes and a fried egg, and some moracho, which is basically South American rice pudding with corn as well, which is delicious. Everyone was ecstatic, its the most I've eaten in a little while, and everyone was very pleased. Then I took and epic 3 hour nap. Life is pretty good.
I think tomorrow I am going to go to the Finca to do some work, try and take my mind of things, get a little bit of a change of scenery. I feel fine, just a little bit tired.
Oh, and on a side note, I woke up yesterday and they were gutting a pig in the backyard, on the same stone where they wash the clothes. I helped drag this two hundred pound corpse around, while the family cleaned and prepared all of the innards, took the head inside to eat, and then put the body into a truck to go sell in Nanegalito. Fun stuff.

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