Note: You might want to check this out before letting small children see the photos. They may be a bit frightening.
Every once in a while we are reminded how blessed we are to be from a country with liberties and freedoms. There are many who would say we are losing them fast and they’re probably right but when you see what we saw this week it makes you so grateful.
Last week Tom heard about a case in the village where a man was accused of killing another man using witchcraft. According to the local gossip this man had an invisible charm hidden in his house and now some witch doctors were going to be hired to find it and prove his guilt.
Don’t you love it? It’s better than the Emperor and his invisible clothes. All these guys have to do is walk into a house and pull out an invisible item and they are heroes. Meanwhile, a possibly innocent man is convicted without a trial.
Tom asked if he could be present to document the proceedings. They reluctantly agreed and a few days later he was told to come down to the town to see what was going to transpire. The mob we saw the day before was the tribal council where they were deciding whether these witch doctors would be let in to the community to witch hunt.
When Tom arrived the witches were preparing themselves by putting on special clothes and putting face paint on as well as washing their eyes with grass water. This would help them see the invisible things. They offered to wash Tom’s eyes but he declined.
The two witch doctors then stripped down naked (replacing their underpants afterward) to show that they weren't concealing anything in their clothes.
There was some confusion for awhile where the accused man and his family didn’t want their house searched after all but then when they walked down the road a bit to discuss things the witches took advantage of his absence and ran into the house.
Tom followed them with his video camera (set on night vision) and it was like a crazy episode of Ghostbusters on reality TV. The witches and their helpers were bouncing from room to room searching. After a while they admitted defeat and ran down the road but then came back to resume the hunt. After a bit Tom heard screaming and yelling from one of the rooms and rushed in to see a man writhing on the floor. He (the witch, not Tom) called for the special grass water to be brought and then plunged his hand in and pulled out a rolled up item shaped like a voodoo doll.
The two witches took out the doll and showed the crowd. One them then said, wait there’s more and ran back in the house. The other witch ran out into the village. Tom went back into the house and a few minutes later as the witch began to yell and call for water again the other witch dove through one of the windows. Tom was shocked—he’d never seen anything like it outside of a Hollywood movie. After a bit more confusion a second voodoo doll was doused in the grass water which was supposed to nullify the magic. As they came out of the house they were touted as heroes and the crowd picked them up and carried them around the yard in celebration.
But then the accused man came back and things got crazy. Everyone was yelling and shouting and a true mob began to form. Tom was confused as the crowd seemed to have turned against the witches. They begged Tom to give them a ride to the Traditional Court so he agreed. As is common here once the car doors were open a ton of people poured in. Then the crowd really went crazy. What Tom didn't know because the car was so full of people was that the accused man had been put in the car too and the mob wanted instant justice. They wanted to stone him right then and there.
The crowd began shaking the car and blocked Tom in so he couldn’t drive at all. When Tom asked our gardener to intervene the crowd just picked him up and carted him away-mosh pit style. The mob began pelting the car with mangos and clods of mud. Several hit Tom with one hitting him square in the face. Then a mango crashed through our back window.
Tom had had enough and asked the witches to find their own way out. They jumped out and ran and the crowd followed. Tom was then able to remove the barrier the crowd had erected and drive home, shaken but safe.
We still don’t know if the man was even guilty. We found out later that he hadn’t even killed someone but that a man had developed an open wound on a now paralyzed arm. The injured man couldn’t explain the injury so they asked a witch and he pointed the finger at a man. Tom believes that the supposed voodoo things could have been brought in by any of the witches or their helpers—especially since the helpers didn’t strip down and were running in and out of the house.
As I write this the poor man (unless he really is guilty, then shame on him) is still sitting in the traditional courts awaiting judgment.
One final word: In case you think this post doesn't fit on my blog since it wasn't exactly Amy's Adventure--you try sitting at home and having your husband come back smeared in mud with a broken car. That's enough adventure for one day.