Witch Doctors – The Facts You Need
Recently it has come to my attention that Kitui is pretty notorious around Kenya for its witch doctors. I personally haven’t seen too many – possibly one but not really in a situation where I could stick around and check things out. However, at dinner the other night I got at least a partial list of what the Kenyan witch doctors can do, which follows. Its interesting to note that, in my experience anyway, if you ask people if they believe in witchcraft they will say no. And then in the next breath they will tell the wildest stories and claim they are fact. Its not witchcraft, but it does happen. They’ve seen it with their own eyes. Here we go. For a price, a witch doctor can:
Ensure marital fidelity. Let’s say you suspect your wife of being unfaithful. You can head down to your neighborhood witch doctor and get him to conjure you up a spell so that the next time your wife is being unfaithful she and her lover will stick together in the act of being unfaithful. Moreover, they will remain stuck together until such time as you get home and release them. Quite how you go about doing this is unclear. Most people say they’re stuck together until the husband forgives his wife – I guess if he’s not the forgiving type the wife and her special friend are SOL, but maybe its a language thing. The important part seems to be that when the husband returns, then they can be released. Trivial details like what happens if the husband never finds them don’t seem to concern the witch doctors.
Note: The spell works equally well on husbands but whenever its explained to me its always about the wife. This is also the one most people claim is really really works, that they’ve seen it with themselves.
Protect your business. Say your run a business in Kenya selling, as they are so fond of selling in econ class, widgets. Let’s further say you’ve got a whole warehouse full of valuable widgets that you need to protect from thieves and other widget-loving but unscrupulous folk. A sucker would invest in locks, alarms, guards, security cameras, etc. The smart businessman (which you are) would head on down to the witch doctors. In a variation on the sticking people together theme, they will put a spell on your business so that the thieves will never be able to carry off your goods but will be stuck loading them until you arrive. Even if they come with a truck, they will be stuck putting widgets in the truck until you come in the morning and, again, forgive them and let them go. Maybe you give them a good talking-to first. I guess witch doctors are big on forgiveness.
-Protect your house from demons/illnesses. Witch doctors also do home visits, and in what I presume is the bread and butter of witch doctoring they will come to your home and make it impervious to demons, evil spirits, sickness, etc. You can also get the run-of-the-mill charms for love, wealth, power – probably pretty much anything. Be warned, though, if the priests get wind of this they will kick you out of church and you won’t be allowed back until you attend a certain number of catechism classes. Witch doctoring and Catholicism don’t mix too well.
These next items aren’t things that witch doctors can do for you per se, but they are things related to witchcraft and some strange tribal rituals that you should be aware of in your travels.
-Don’t give Luo beggar women money. This will cause you to become very confused – you will forget where you are, what your job is, even your name, and as a consequence your life will be in shambles (not that you, in your confusion, would know).
-Luo corpses will sometimes decide not to be buried. They will keep expanding so that they don’t fit in their coffin, no matter how big the coffin is built. And if you try and take them to the wrong cemetery, they will cause your car to have an accident. Fortunately, you can beat the corpses into submission with a “green branch”, and then they’ll generally do what you want.
-Again in the Luo tribe (they have all the best ones), if a husband dies his wife has to sleep the night with his corpse, and vice versa. I’ve heard variously graphic definitions of what “to sleep with” means, but I sincerely hope it just means sleeping (that’s the most common but by no means universal definition).
-From the Akamba tribe this time. If you walk seven times around Nzambani Rock you will change to the opposite gender. This is actually kind of a cool story. Back in the day (sometime in the 19th century) there was a missionary who was being chased by Akamba warriors. They kept chasing him around and around Nzambani Rock, intent on killing him. After the seventh time they chased him around the rock, he gave up running from them and sat down to await his fate. As he was preparing to die, God spoke to him and told him “If you’re going to die, at least die dressed as a priest.” So he takes off the clothes he was wearing and puts on his priestly robes. Just then the Akamba warriors came charging up, but seeing him dressed in robes like that they though he had become a woman, and so refrained from killing him. And so follows the legend.
That’s all that I can remember for now – there are many others and as I hear more you guys will be the first to know.