The blogger is (finally) back!
This is another story from when I lived in Belize. I didn’t include it in How to Cook a Tapir because it’s still painful to think about. Most Americans have no idea how boring life in a small, primitive (no electricity, no plumbing), isolated society like Rio Blanco can be on a day-to-day basis, especially 50 years ago. The only similar societies here that I’m aware of are the assisted living homes where my mother, then in her 90s, spent the last few years of her life.
Manuel Xi and his sons and grandsons would not have chased the crazy man. (Photo by Joan Fry)
The obeah men who are paid to make spells believe that obeah itself is neutral—it’s simply power. If someone asks him to make a spell against somebody else in order to hurt him and cause him pain, the power becomes evil. If someone asks him to make a spell so that his sick child will live, the power becomes good because it will result in good. Among the Maya—perhaps in an overlap stemming from their own ancient, oral traditions of witchcraft and sorcery—obeah is almost always used for evil.
If bullets are used in the spell, it’s a good bet that the victim will die of a mysterious gunshot wound. (Photo by Joan Fry)