By Ashley Rintoul ’15
Tuesday afternoon we piled into our big white van and ventured off to visit a Sengoma, a traditional Zulu healer. When we reached the healers home, we found a woman dressed in what one might think of as traditional African dress whom we recognized right away as the Sengoma herself. The healer’s concrete home sat behind a small dirt yard with a clothesline off to one side. On the edge of the clothesline were hanging two dead snakes. Of all the things we saw, we had not anticipated that. The Sengoma led us into her healing area, a one-room circular building right next to her main home. We all took a seat on the benches set up in the front of the room. Palms hung from the ceiling and animal skins carpeted the floor. The room was spilt into two areas. There was the area that we sat in and the area that was forbidden to anyone but the Sengoma herself. On the wall that separated the two areas sat many different healing certificates as well as many shelves layered with different bottles and jars of different healing substances. The Sengoma sat herself down on one of the animal skins and the translator whom we had brought along with us began to translate the many questions we began to ask the healer. The Sengoma explained to us that she works hand in hand with the government-run clinic near by and after healing people of their problems in the traditional Zulu way, she would refer her clients to the clinic for further medical care. Within the community of the Zulu people there is very strong belief in the importance and the power of the healers which the government could not ignore regarding medical care which is why they chose to work hand in hand with the healers. Sammy, the member of our group with a serious phobia of snakes asked the healer about the snakes we had seen hanging from the clothesline outside. The healer explained that she used the snakes to heal snake bites using her many different methods of healing. After patiently answering our many questions, the Sengoma concluded by burning herbs in a bowl while simultaneously praying to the ancestors to thank them for allowing her to share her secrets with us.
On Wednesday we traveled up into the mountains of Pietermaritzburg to a primary school that was reception through seventh grade to help in the organization of a soccer tournament to conclude school for the children before they leave for winter holiday at the end of this week. This school was in an area with poverty of even higher severity than the primary school we had visited on Monday. Almost half of the children in the school were orphans living with extended family. The children attending the school love WhizzKids and the support they receive from the program and always look forward to events hosted by them.
Over the course of our time spent with WhizzKids United, we have grown very close to the staff and the children. WhizzKids is currently in a fundraising challenge, the United Fundraising Challenge (http://www.justunited.com/nwm/sfwcampaign) and is currently leading at 2nd place. Any donations would help, we want to secure this place even more to be sure to win the top up donation. Below is a video featuring WhizzKids that lends to further explanation if the challenge.