I have been exorcised. I am clean.
I went with Alexis and Emily to the shaman yesterday evening, to have my spirit cleansed. It was a beautiful house, with beautiful land all around it. Our host dad brought a packet of white candles and three eggs with him, which he gave to the shaman. The shaman picked a bundle of herbs then led us into a small hut. Alexis and Emily sat on a bench against the wall, and I sat next to the shaman in front of a table covered in stones, candles, and other magical objects. He lit a small, well burned white candle standing on a rock, and blew at the table for a while. He drank some brown liquid from a water bottle beside him, and spat it all over the table. Then he took a new white candle from the bundle, and started scrubbing me with it. He was whistling the whole time he worked. He thoroughly scrubbed my face, hair, arms, and torso. When he finished he held it against my head and chanted, which he later told us was to call the spirits to work with him. He lit it from the already lit candle, and stuck it on the table. Then he picked up the bundle of herbs, and started brushing me with them. When I say brushing, I really mean beating. He kept smacking me in the face with them! When he finished with the herbs he used an egg; I was sure it was going to break on me with how hard he was pressing, but it didn´t. I could feel the yolk shaking inside as he vibrated his hand back and forth. After the egg he used two rocks. When he finished scrubbing me with them he put one against my forehead, and started hitting it with the other. Hard! It was rather loud. Then he took another drink of the brown liquid, and holding it in his mouth sort of prayed over my head. Then he spat it all over me! He must have extensively practiced spitting to be able to spray so well. I could hear Alexis behind me almost burst into laughter at that part. I was quite suprised. He went to get another bottle, this time orangina, with an orangey liquid in it. The brown stuff was running down my face. Shaman spit. He put the orange one on his hands (it wasn´t actually orangina, so I was happy) and rubbed it all over my face, neck, and arms. Then he did the same with another sort of liquid. After that it was Emily´s turn, then Alexis. He didn´t chant over them, or clack the rocks against their heads. He focused more on my head, Emily´s neck, and Alexis´ eyes which was strange. He also reversed the order of rock and egg for them both. After he finished all three he put a tingly, wonderful smelling liquid on all of our faces and necks. He then brought us each a cup of bitter tea, which he said was medicine for everything. He let us ask questions about the cleansing, so we know now that the candle was to tell what was wrong with us, the herbs to get rid of bad things in our spirits, the egg for illness, and the rocks to generally cleanse (and banging them against my head was to raise my energy). I actually did feel really good afterwards, maybe just because it was all so calming.
Other news for the day: Alexis and I were on our bed when Emily came over to hang out. Joselito was chilling on our floor as he often does, when suddenly Alexis noticed a horrible smell. We thought Jose had farted and we were quite grossed out, until we actually looked at the floor. There was an enormous poop. It had a giant white worm in it. We were wondering if a dog had come in and done it when Jose wandered back in, with a huge poop stain down his pants. We were screaming and laughing, and Lisbeth ran in, didn´t miss a beat, didn´t giggle, just scooped it up in a shirt and ran out. I can´t believe we missed him pooping on our floor! I put my sneaker over the spot so we wouldn´t step on it, but Jose came back in beaming, so proud of himself, and kicked it away. So now we don´t know where it was. We just do a James Bond sneak next to the wall whenever we want to leave the room. I asked Marcia if she knew he had that thing in him; she said he´d been taking medicine for it, and that he had it because he eats sweet things. What?
Monday, Marcia came in and told me Fifi was going to die. She was throwing up and shaking and couldn´t open her eyes or stand up. I was so upset. I sat with her for about 45 minutes in the dirt. They all thought I was crazy, they just don´t get worked up over dogs like that. They were really nice about it though; Kevin, Sean and Emily´s eight year old host brother, came and sat still with me for about ten minutes and was so nice about Fifi even though he doesn´t like dogs and normally can´t sit still at all. They told Joselito that I was sad, so he brought me his bottle and stuffed toys. They said they´ve had a few dogs who died of that illness, and that only rarely do they recover. However, the next morning Fifi was running around, good as new! So that was wonderful.
I also talked a lot to my family here about water- they said that until about 15 years ago they drank from the river, though they always boiled it. Then the well was built. They said that all the pesticides the farmers use have polluted the river, and the big fish they used to eat aren´t there any more. It´s interesting because all the others who live with farming families have been told the river is dirty because of chemical plants upstream, nothing to do with pesticides.