Healing Trust

The Metafari has ended and we’re sitting on the porch outside Ruth and Odd’s house by the sea in Tanga. A rare opportunity has presented itself: a local healer, whom Ruth has worked with for many years, are willing to participate in an interview. We ask questions such as “How do you know what is wrong with the people who come to you?” and “What do you think causes a disease?” and although we get some really interesting answers our conversation becomes even more intriguing when we invite him to inquire.

He then starts to tell us the following story:

A couple of years ago I worked with a British doctor whom I taught a lot about the herbs I use. He took them and sent them illegally abroad to have them tested for their healing qualities. I don’t think its right for people to do so since some of the profits from turning the herbs into medicine should benefit Tanzania.
So he wants to discuss intellectual property rights! He then continues to say that he has not only bad experience of foreign doctors but have collaborated successfully with a Norwegian hospital that orders many kilos of herbs every year. What he really wants to know is what kinds of diseases we still have problems finding cures for in Sweden and how he could participate in a proper experimental research project finding out the effects of using his knowledge. Wow! When I ask him why he wants to do this, he says it is partly because he wants to increase his own competence but also to show the rest of the world what Tanzania has to offer. Shikamo!

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