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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Poison follow up

Here’s a follow up to the poison post I made last week.

B. says his sister is getting better but still in the hospital. However, they moved the kid to their brother’s house, and he’s recovered.

On the way home from the World Cup third place game, I asked my colleague W. about poison; specifically if he believes it is the cause of B.’s sister’s illness. W. unleashed a lecture about poison, paraphrased from memory below.

“It’s real. It’s powerful. I’m telling you it’s real. There are cases I have heard, you cannot deny them. It is why we cannot allow you to stay with these people who invited you [members of a rural cooperative we work with]. You cannot know what people will do. You must always watch your drinks.”

He told me a few stories about poisoning, which often seems to be the Rwandan term for witchcraft in general. According to W., some farmers put “poison” on their corn. Then, when a thief tries to pick an ear, his hand gets stuck to the corn and the thief can’t move until the farmer returns.

Another story involves a truck driver who suspected his wife was sleeping with other men while he was away. He left poison in the bedroom, and she and the man were stuck “in this way, somehow together, like the man and the corn,” until the truck driver returned home to catch them.

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