Yesterday when I was climbing the mountain I came into contact with some sort of toxic plant. Today my arm has broken out with a hideous, raised, red rash. It itches like mad and doesn’t look very attractive either.
Being market day, I headed into town and went by the medicine man’s booth. I showed him my arm and asked what cured a rash like mine. Without hesitating he picked up a dried monitor lizard head on a stick. He explained that I could burn the head and crush its ashes into a powder. That powder, when spread on my arm, would cure me of the rash.
As a Westerner, it is easy to laugh off such preposterous ideas. We know that dead animal parts don’t hold magical powers to heal various illnesses. However, here in Africa the medicine man and his many exotic cures are taken seriously. Many still visit the medicine man before going to a hospital or clinic. They are lucky if the medicine man’s purported “cure” doesn’t cause even more harm. By the time they finally come to clinic their condition has usually worsened.
So the next time you get a headache and pop a Tylenol think for a second about those who aren’t so lucky. Pray that they will learn and understand the truth that the medicine man’s magical powers are worthless. Pray for the staff at the hospital as they educate their patients about health issues and about the eternal healing Christ provides.
Oh, and for those concerned, I opted not to buy the lizard head and instead Heidi got me an ointment from the hospital pharmacy.