Search This Blog

Monday, February 13, 2012

Fofo

So I'm still unwell. I don't know what the f*** is going on but the meds I got from the doctor last week didn't do the job and I had done everything the doctor ordered. So I'm back to paracetamol until my next appointment with the doctor tomorrow morning to figure this bug out. But I'm learning online and from my personal almost doctor special person what might be wrong so I'm getting lots of rest, lots of fluids and back to basics use vicks on my chest. lol Got to love good ol' vicks. That is a Samoan mom's answer to everything or at least my mom and grandma, if not Samoan oil, it's vicks, then on to lau gogu(gogu leaves), and lauti(tea leaves) and so on and so forth. Which brings me back to our upbringing.
Growing up in Savai'i my family were a family of healers, our grandma, great aunties, and some uncles were traditional healers of sorts. So when my sisters and I were old enough...9+ we each were specialized in something. We were all healers of fuafua or the common tropical boil but I mainly dealt with it when it was an open wound after my sister Tupa'i had done her part of the initial fofo. Our mother being an active Red Cross member had us also trained early in First Aid to accompany this traditional task I guess. When Cyclone Ofa hit in 1990 followed by Val in 1991, our place was like a clinic, people showing up with cuts and all sorts of ailments to get fixed. Hullo I felt like Dr. Quin with the Red Cross box to clean wounds and of course send the odd idiot with a major cut hoping for a miracle to the hospital. We had to tell people that we were not a medical clinic and they HAVE to go to the hospital to which they reluctantly did or didn't. I admit as young kids you're up in a tree eating guavas or in the middle of a game and you get called to fofo someone, it got tiring after a while and I hated cyclones even more for that. 
What amazed me though, is how our people hold traditional healers with such high regard. I remember getting sent for, when I was about 12, to come fofo this young man who could hardly walk because the boil on his foot was so big that it was painful to place his foot on the ground. (Classic case: seek help when in it's worst state) He was not much older than I, and we crack jokes when we see each other on the road, but when I arrived as a fofo, I was approached like an elder! His mother welcomed me in polite language and after I did the treatment thanked me good and proper. I was taken aback. The next day after the treatment they served me food fit for the pastor. I tell ya at that point I was not minding this calling at all. Anyway the guy was the fai maumaga (plantation man) of the family and they needed him to be well to get back to the taro and ka'amu to which he did a few days later!
With modern medicine arriving recently to the islands moreover people find it hard to make the trip to the hospital, a traditional healer is always nearby within the village. The fact is some fofos these days make some illnesses worse when they massage the area which then is spreading the disease but when people look at you with all the hope in the world I guess some fofos are forced into 'performing' to look like they know what they're doing. It's an interesting area to venture into as a lot of the leaves and herbal medicine used actually do work for the particular pain or ailment that it's aimed for but with new diseases such as cancer and such those herbs aren't going to do it. I'm sure there's a thesis out there about this but then hey, Nafanua Paul Cox found the supposed cure for AIDS from Samoan fofos that is the mamala that has been used from ancient times!

No comments: