One GSC participant learns of the curious role of witch doctors in Tanzania, their claims for miracle cures and the hope they inspire in the Tanzanian people.
“Drink this mystery cup of juice and your AIDS, Diabetes and Cancer will be cured.” Well, probably not, but people are flocking all the way to the village of Loliondo in hopes that their HIV will be cured, to drink a potion derived from a plant that must be administered by a single individual person. I’m not sure if this news has made it to the States but it’s causing quite a bit of commotion here and in the East African Community. Thousands of people are waiting for their turn to go to the village that is a 10 hour drive from Arusha. The Tanzanian government does not necessarily support or deny the claims, but do suggest that people continue to take their anti-retrovirals (ARVs). As far as I know only one person has gone to an actual hospital and had an HIV test turn out negative, but that can happen when ARVs do their job…it doesn’t mean the virus is gone, it just means that there are not enough antibodies to show up positive on a test…the magical plant apparently does lower blood sugar (which) also doesn’t mean it is a cure for diabetes.
What makes it particularly interesting to me is how the Tanzanians I surround myself with view the issue. People here are very spiritual so no one will outwardly claim that if a man was told by God that he can cure AIDS that we can call him crazy as we would in America. But they do believe that there should be some form of scientific test on the plant to see if there is even the slightest possibility of truth.
Leah, E., Tanzania Semester Program