Ogbanje

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Ogbanje by Andy Buhler, CUSO, 69-71

About 4:00 p.m. there was a lot of noise and people rushing through the bush near my house.

One of the nurses came by for water so I asked the meaning of the ruckus. Ogbanje!

I saw one girl with something on her head, covered in chalk and holding a mirror as she looked for the place of her hidden pact.

The nurse, Josephine, said she would search all day before eventually finding it and then would be cured of her ailment.

Josephine had apparently done hers some two years ago. She said she had become very weak and could not walk as everything below her waist felt paralyzed.

She went to three hospitals in about two months and had all the tests done but no improvement so they decided to find her pact.

She said she danced and searched all day and eventually it was found, three cowrie and a ha’penny.

I asked how she could dance when paralyzed and she said the music made her to dance so she had to.

After the finding of the pact her illness left and has not come back though she is still often weak.

For the Ogbanje they put small scars on her cheeks and arms and a number of X-scars on different parts of her torso. That in itself would make one want to get better.

Wonder how much is psychological medicine and how much real help?

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