… you go to the local health center in Okidi for a prenatal outreach day, and you see a poster on the wall advocating epilepsy awareness that includes these statements:
* “Epilepsy is not caused by witchcraft or evil spirits.”
* “You cannot get epilepsy if you touch or help someone having a fit.”
* “Epilepsy is not contagious, but ignorance is.”
In Uganda, and indeed Africa, belief in the existence of witchcraft and evil spirits is real. I was watching a Nigerian film with friends here that featured the poisoning of a woman and a curse outside her home that was placed on her to cause barrenness. She broke the curse by opening up her Bible, reading a psalm, and crying aloud to God.
Here where I’m staying at Ot Nywal Me Kuc, I’ve watched the local witchdoctor, a young man half-dressed carrying an oddly constructed totem-walking stick, walk across our birth center campus and sit on a bench outside our kitchen.
I’ve prayed with a Ugandan woman, who in a moment of distress, complained bitterly that she feared she would be poisoned because of a feud she was having with someone, but she protested, before we prayed, that she had not gone to the witch-doctor for help.
Going to the witch-doctor, you see, is an option here when there’s a problem.
“But I, O LORD, cry to you;
in the morning, my prayer comes before you.”
~ Psalm 88:13