Saturday, November 3, 2012
The Witch Doctor's Chant
At Maweda Shodi on the Maweda River, near Chajurana.
This was written a few years ago by my oldest daughter ,Jackie.
(Keepin' Sane with Littles )
We were preparing to leave for furlough. We had furlough fever, more commonly known as Furloughitis. The symptoms of furloughitis involve cravings (for everything you can't get in Venezuela, but will be eating shorty in a matter of two months) such as Double Stuffed Oreos (my dad's favorite) Strawberry Pop Tarts (mom) Bagels and Cream cheese (me). Along with the usual Snickers, Olive Garden bread sticks, and Big Mac. Furloughitis also involves the hurried frenzy of taking all those last minute pictures for the slide presentation. You have no idea how many missionary pictures are "posed."
"Hey, Tito, can you pretend like you're making a canoe, please??"
"So I can take a picture"
"I don't need to make a canoe."
"I know....just pretend."
"You've seen me make a canoe before."
"Right....but I didn't take a picture....I told myself I would take one later."
"But I only need one canoe. How many canoes did you think I was going to make?"
My parents had the brilliant idea of recording a witch doctor's chant for the background music. My parents had a lot of brilliant ideas, usually at the expense of their children's lives. As my dad would put it, "We're young. We can have more kids if we loose one!"
Now, the witch doctor is a little old man, who wears a loin cloth constantly and occasionally puts on a shirt for special occasions. Such as coming to our house. He wasn't "creepy" in any way, or hostile, unless he was 'working' then he could give you goose bumps. He moved across the river to get away from all the people. He said Chajudana was too crowded, a bustling metropolis of 500 people. He slept in a hammock next to his dad's skull....yeah, that was creepy. I think over all though, he was more scared of us than we were of him. He thought we were way creepier I'm sure.
One day the perfect opportunity to get the background chant arose. The witch doctor was only a few houses away chanting over a sick woman. So my dad decides to send my brother (about ten years old at the time I guess) with small hand held recorder over. He told him to stand by the door, push record and stick the recorder inside the door. Just a few minutes is all I need, he said. Josh was TERRIFIED. The witch doctor was chanting, screaming, shouting, growling like a bear (all can be perfectly imitated by my brother now.) Josh told my dad he was scared, and it was creepy...and why didn't he do it. The answer was, "I'm too busy right now." But we all know he was just as creeped out! :D
My dad told Josh, "Don't worry son. You're under the Blood. Nothing is going to affect you. Now go."
My sisters and I walked with Josh to the house....well, we stopped about ten feet away and made him go by himself the rest of the way. He was muttering under his breath the whole time, "I'm under the Blood. I'm under the Blood." We watched as he stood against the outside of the house, and poked his hand with the recorder in the doorway. He recorded for a few minutes....in actuality it was about ten seconds, and bolted towards us. As he was running towards us, the pastor's son, who knew we were all creeped out by the chanting, had climbed a tree that grew in the path, and just as Josh ran under it, jumped down and screamed like a panther. My brother is a white boy, but I had never seen him so pale as that day!
Josh returned the recorder triumphantly, my dad said it wasn't a lot of chanting on the tape, but it would have to do. Relieved to be all done with that horrendous task, we all went back to our school work.
If you ever see my parents slides from that furlough, listen closely to the chanting in the background. I'm almost sure you can hear "I'm under the Blood" being whispered!