Sticking to my routine of reading the newspaper in the mornings, I was excited to see the other day that ‘The Nation’ also featured very interesting small ads some pages behind their obligatory Cashgate coverage – a discovery which made me wake up over breakfast from then on with a smile rather than disbelief that the sum of the embezzled money has been found once again to be higher than expected.
Just to quote a couple of highlights from listings under the section ‘Medicine’: a doctor promises with ‘100% guarantee same day results, Love matters, enlargement of male organ […] court cases, job promotions’, while another lady extends her services to ‘get lover of your choice (same day) […],man power in bed, bring back lost lover (same day) […], asthma, BP, […]cancer, sugar’.
Unfortunately, the listings don’t quote any prices. When I talked about my discoveries my local colleague shared my amusement about these particular advertisings, because both of us suspected that these people were just after one’s money. But the joyful mood quickly faded and turned into contemplative silence when I imprudently stepped over one invisible line. I hinted at the fact that some of the above listed problems probably won’t find a cure with any traditional healer. With this comment I exposed my glaring ignorance of the rumors that circulated around the powers of genuine traditional healers, which had over time become rooted in large parts of the Malawian society. He told me three short stories and I try my best to accurately reproduce them here.