Saturday, August 6, 2016

Being a Village Healer

August 4, 2016 Belize was hit by Hurricane Earl in the wee hours of the morning. We all awoke to devastating wind and water damage.

The morning of August 5, 2016, the day after Hurricane Earl

In the midst of all the chaos and clean-up, Mary, a local resort owner, called to tell me that an elderly woman in the village, Miss Sally has been doing poorly for about 5 days. She’s not eating or drinking anything and she has diarrhea and is vomiting as well.

I tell her, "Let me eat my breakfast and I'll head right over to see her."

To which she replies, "Good, because this is your role in our village. You have to come when we need you."

"Don't I always?" I don't know whether to be flattered or insulted.

"Ok. I'll tell her you're coming." 

When I arrive, Mary and a neighbor of the sick woman, Irene, tell me that she has been to hospital and that she is making them crazy with her refusal to cooperate with them; she won’t take her meds or drink her electrolytes. They tell me she looks like a corpse and they are concerned about having to handle burial expenses if things keep on this way. The two of them are talking over each other excitedly, and their exasperation is palpable. 

Mary says, "She's being such a stubborn old woman!"

I tell them both, "On one hand, yes all of your concerns are well founded, and I understand that you’re doing the best you can … BUT on the other hand you are dealing with a strong-willed woman and you have to let her decide what she wants."

I go across the street, prepared to sit with a dying woman. I imagine holding her hand and reminiscing about good times until she passes. I prepare to spend the morning with her, helping her cross over.

I announce my arrival from the front yard of the little, one room, stick and thatch house as I make my way around to the river side, where her door is. Her weak voice tells me, “Ok. Come in”.

I shoo her dogs outside, put down my bag and make my way around the curtain into her bed-space. Yes, she’s lying in bed, but her eyes are bright, though not as bright as her raspberry Kool Aid hair. 

She grins. What a character! 

I tell her that she’s making the ladies across the road crazy. She smirks in response. I sit on the edge of her bed and she tells me, almost apologetically, that this is her bed and her couch.

I say, “Your living space.”

She nods her head, “Uh huh.”

I ask her how she feels and what she’s eaten today. She says she hasn't eaten. The diarrhea is almost gone, but she still feels nauseous. I ask her what she typically does for herself in the past when she feels poorly. “Do you eat toast? Fruit? What is your go-to belly food?” She pauses and looks thoughtful, but she can’t think of a thing. 

I ask what she’s craving. What does she want? 

Again, a thoughtful stare then she says, “Nobody has asked me what I want.” Finally, I suggest ginger-moringa tea, and she thinks that’s a good idea.

“OK,” I say, then I feel a nudge from Spirit. “How about a little energy therapy?”

“Mmm. Mm hmm.” She hums.

“Make yourself comfy and I’ll start”

She does and I do, in silence. I had no intention of doing a session with her, so I didn’t have my music prepared, but when Spirit speaks, I listen.

I can see through the sticks into the yard and I hear a neighbor’s baby cry. I hear the chickens squawk out in the yard, and the ladies are gabbing across the street. I ground Miss Sally’s energy and I begin to look at her; really look. I see that she has some intestinal distress and I clear it. I feel the openness in her heart and I revel in it. Then I look up to, and above, her crown. 

Hmm I think. She’s ‘in there’ Immediately, I go to her root chakra and see that her life line is brilliant. She’s not going anywhere. I seal her and surround her with white light, then I touch her shoulder. 

I sit on the edge of her bed, hold her hands and my first words to her are, “You’re not going anywhere, honey. Regardless of what you may think, this is just a glitch. A hiccup. You’re going to be fine.”

Clearly she doesn’t believe me.

I tell her, “Look. I have given last rites, and the spirit of someone who is leaving will be halfway up and out of the body through the crown. That, and they never have a trace of a life line left. Your one is strong as iron, man. You’re ‘in there’.”

As tears begin to come to her eyes, she asks, “But what if I’ve had enough?”

I said, “That would be fine, but that’s not what I see today. It’s just not that time.”

I help to prop up her pillows and we talk more about what she would like to eat. I tell her I baked the cinnamon-raisin swirl bread that she loves, and when I bring her the ginger tea, I’ll bring the bread with me.

I tell the ladies that Miss Sally isn't going anywhere just yet, and they are relieved to hear it. "I’ll be right back with the tea and bread." 

Mary asks what I have for her dog, who is bleeding from the chest from a puncture wound that she got from a fight with a local dog. The hurricane has displaced Mary and her dogs, and territorial issues were bound to happen.

“Oh, and since you’re going to get the medicine, do you have anything for the baby? She grabbed the hot iron and burned her hand pretty good.” A very pretty little girl, of around 18 months old, is sitting on her mothers lap. I tell the woman, "My own sons first word was 'hot' because he did the same thing when he was around the same age."

The little one holds out her hand and I hover my hand over hers and say, "Hot" in a sing-song voice, as if it's a two syllable word. 

She smiles and says, "Hot" back to me. What a dolly!

“I’ll be right back”

I go back to the trusty old SUV, fondly referred to as the ‘Super Trooper’, shoo the ducks from the puddle underneath the vehicle, and slowly, but loudly, motor away toward town. I pass several friends on the way out to the main road and we exchange pleasantries and ‘how did you weather the hurricane?’ factoids, and I make my way to the Chiney for the tea. 

Tea in possession, I go to my house for the herbs, salves and tinctures that I promised everyone.
As I gather my supplies, friends show up with beer and rum and they’re ready to commence part three of the hurricane Earl party. “Gotta go, kids. I’ll be back”.

I arrive back at Irene’s house, go inside and hand the tea off for the ladies to prepare. I dole out the Blossom Salve for the dog, and the Burn Rx for the baby, the Belly Balance diarrhea tincture for Miss Sally (just in case) and explain how to administer all of it.

Tea prepared, I pick up my things and I tell Mary to imagine what it will be like when she’s old and someone tries to tell her how to do things. “You’re still gonna want things to be done your way, right? Well so does Sally. Ask her what she needs and she’ll tell you, but don’t smother her. She’ll be fine.”

I cross the road with a cup of tea and the cinnamon-raisin bread. “Miss Sally! I’m back!” I call from the yard.


The dogs great me warmly, and it occurs to me that in all the many times I've been here, they have never been so friendly before. They usually guard her fiercely. I’m sure they know what’s going on and they know that I’m a good guy.

I remove my muddy shoes as I enter and put my things down, then I walk around the room divider and step right into a puddle on the wooden floor. She has missed the 5 gallon bucket and tinkled on the floor. 

“Do you need me to clean this up for you?” She nods. 

I find a handy-wipe and clean up the mess, then ask if she has water. Of course she doesn’t. I hang the rag on the edge of the trash can, wipe my hand on my jean shorts, and return to her bedside, where she is sitting up on the edge with her feet on the floor. Very promising!

“Want to try some of the ginger tea?” I hand it to her. She sips at it slowly and smiles. She hands it back and I place it on her dresser. She turns away from me to rearrange her pillows. There must be 6 of them! And when she turns back, she’s surprised to see that I’m still there.

“Yes, I’m still here. I’ll go but, Miss Sally, the ladies are making soup for you”

She makes a face.

“What kind?”

“Chicken” I say, “Look, they’re going to keep trying to feed you and care for you. You have to be nice to them, but… you tell me when I should have them bring it to you. Do you want it now? Or would you like it in a few hours?” wink-wink.

Her eyes sparkle. She gets it. “In a few hours,” she says.

I help her fluff the pillows and get her back in the bed. She’s tired and will sleep now.

As I get back in the Super Trooper, Mary calls a 'thank you' to me. "I don't know what our village would do without you, Miss Shaman Lady."

I snort-giggle and wave to her as I go.

What a crazy, wonderful life!


The names have all been changed for privacy reasons.

Bonnie's book, SPIRIT FLIGHT, Claim Your Joy and Your Health Will Follow is available on

Visit to learn more about Bonnie's practice and the products mentioned in this post.

1 comment: