Saturday, February 14, 2009

He's a witch!

Among the many, many memorable experiences I had in Tanzania over the last few weeks was meeting a witch doctor. I was collecting GPS coordinates in a village with a sizable band of translators, supervisors, and village staffers. We approached a home on the outskirts of the village. An old man came out and told our crew he was a witch. A westerner translator who was with us later explained to me that he used a word that actually meant "witch doctor" and was not to be confused with another Swahili word that translates more closely to "traditional/herbal healer." The man was friendly and invited us into his hut for lunch. The staff politely declined the offer explaining that we were too busy, and we left. I noticed the witch dr. had a tortoise in a large cage. I have long believed that tortoises and turtles might have magical properties and I consider this suspicion confirmed.

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