Focus on the role and usefulness of traditional healers in Madagascar.
In Madagascar , we learn every day with the habits and customs that follow each other, but which are not alike. Tenacious beliefs in occult or obscure deities are still legion in all regions of the Big Island. To avoid their anger, nothing beats a consultation with the local “mpanandro” or the nationally renowned “ombiasy”. Healers with a thousand virtues work miracles by using medicinal plants combined with the oracle and enhanced with an ounce of benevolence from deceased ancestors or diffuse spirits.
The “mpanandro”, versatile healers
The homes or consulting rooms of healers are very popular in Madagascar. Young and old, individuals from all social categories or from all tribes line up there for a thousand and one reasons:
– ask for a remedy to cure a clinical pathology, benign or not,
– ask the favors of a deity to solve a family or marital problem,
– implore the benevolence of spirits in order to obtain happiness, wealth or success in life.
– solicit the powers of choice of the healer before setting the ideal date and time for an important ceremony such as a circumcision, a wedding, a burial or an exhumation .
Quite a few people also come to an “ombiasy” to obtain a love charm, an amulet capable of coaxing someone or hurting them. In short, traditional healers are versatile and they work wonders.
Listening to the locals, it seems that the majority of cases treated by these doctors with multiple acquaintances have had positive results. In return for the cure or the success of a project, a few banknotes and faith in the powers of the healer are enough. In difficult cases, the carrying of live chicken, a bottle of rum and honey is required. And, everything is going well. The performances of the healers are so effective. Their national and international notoriety is transmitted by word of mouth.
In Madagascar, the traditional healer (called mpanandro or ombiasy, depending on the region) is a true servant of the people. He is a medium, doctor, physiotherapist, marriage counselor, social worker, psychologist, miracle worker and sorcerer. It is said that serious healers have inherited their multidisciplinary know-how from a close relative and they know so well how to combine ancestral traditions with modern technologies. Notice to amateurs!
Main photo credit: Wikimedia – Tojosoa Raherinirainy