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The healer
The magic and the adventure mix around Laguna Negra.

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By Iván Fustamante*

Art by Danraf, special to FACTORTIERRA.NET

I still remember the marvelous place where I born. My father was around 40 years old and my mother was quite less than 30. I never imagined that the destiny had prepared me for a big surprise: becoming to adopt knowledge on wild herbs, all by curiosity. After my well homemade recipes, they nicknamed me as The Healer.

I'm turning 45 years old, but it was until I was 40 when dedicated to heal uncountable children, women, men with different diseases. My services left delayed because a medical doctor, an obsthetrician and a beautiful and young nurse inclusive moved into the health post. I remember that in the first days, almost all the dudes got sick and requested to be attended by that fit lady.

One day, a very wealthy woman, as a devilish act, born a misshapen baby. Since that time, men and women died and nobody knew exactly the disease that led them to find the death. The children passed away from a little fever. No one could do nothing, the economic means of the families for moving their relatives to the province were scarce.

Until that time, everybody waited for dying resigned.

A call from my nephew Rigoberto trembled my senses. It was Pablo who got very sick. My tears fell down, criss-crossed my fingers, I looked up my eyes into the sky.  "God, you can't take out my only brother," I prayed  staying off nobody to realize.  The worst is my prestige and gift as a healer had disappeared.

Huancabamba, Peru.
Photo by Iván Fustamante, distributed by FACTORTIERRA.NET

A little baggage, tiny coke leaves, and a handful of courage made me to travel searching for the best medic of Huancabamba. I arrived into my destination some lucky. who knows how but I was in the same house of Pancho Guarnizo, healer medic, the best of Huaringas. I just started to greet him when he already said me the reason why I was there, gave me something to eat, took a bottle wit a dark liquid, and spitted it onto my face. "By this, your brother and nobody else  of yours are going to die," he said while laughing aloud. And as if nothing else interested to him, he went into  a room in front of the dining-room.

The next earlier morning, after the breakfast and ordered by the ineffable Guarnizo, we were on our way.  Our destination: Laguna Negra (Black Lake), according to the tale, the mother of the whole 14 healer lakes.  Already in El Porvenir (a nearby place to the lake), the locals gave me  some recommendations to take advantage from its healer powers. But something was wrong to myself. Dizziness and nausea increased while we walked a little fast. Some sicks went on some horses, others helped by their relatives. In the end, all they wished a better life, money, women, improving at business. I just wished my brother Pablo to recover his health.

Step by Step I left my senses to interconnect with Nature.  The wind blowed my body around and played with my long hair, my face felt that wind blowing, that made me to step reverse for moments. The light shower also slammed strong, mixing down to some sadness  and get into my eyes.  A very high mountain (Cerro Negro) was watched so far at the range, who sseems to welcome or ttalk about its visitors and prepares is water to heal.

I close down the eyes, imagine my family, my friends, who died from the rare pandemic. After walking  almost an hour, she is right there, impressing goddess. Her rims are like the lips of a female, well defined, kept by her old lover the Cerro Negro(The Black Mountain), her waves make her black hair very curly, dark-eyed. Since that time I feel that generous heart. Tiny but a real description.

Despite around her there is not any carnation, dalia flower, sunflower, daisy flower, or rose those create an elegant wreath, but I'm closer to Earthly Paradise for sure, I murmured myself: Eve, why did you give an apple? Was not better taking some of this water, feeding and satisfying your husband's thirst? Somebody breaks  and leaves my questions in doubt.

"The healer to enter into the blessed water of The Mother Lake!," was hear to say. "Blessed God of the Universe, who made heaven and landd," Guarnizo's prayer begins, who after rising his heavy looking at the lake, sips his mulato and shares to her. Underwore, I started to go into the lake, touching softly  the cool water.  For the life and health of my folks, I drowned entirely. I felt freesing my soul, my life, my moments, even my most great feats.

Huancabamba, Peru.
Photo by Iván Fustamante, distributed by FACTORTIERRA.NET

I came out the water and everyone was ready to return.  The master assured the wellness of my brother and the people of my community. But I, stubborn and quite distrusted, went some feet away and up of that place, feet above where nobody can see me.  I fell on my knees, leaving my naked body follows exposing before the cold. I closed down my eyes and started to pray for a good while.

An inmense light came from inside the mountain out, covered my body, I felt I could fly and go across the air. Within the light, I noticed I wore very light and elegant clothes, new shoes, short hair, put pretty finest parfums on. Everything followed strange. The return way was not already the same, the acres were very green and full of carnations, dalia flowers, sunflowers, daisy flowers, roses, and full of elegant wreaths. even the wind had planned to give me a surprise: it blowed  softly on my face.

The rocky path was  a large flat full of tropical paradise. For transportation you could have a camel or maybe a jiraffe, because it was a park plenty of jazmines.  I could not miss such as select sscene. I touched my right side, onto I use to carry the photographic camera, and surprisingly it was not there. I had undoubtly to come back the rim to look for my camera.  Some voices and the cry of some persons broke up my return, more intense each time up. I though  somebody had suffering an accident. Thousand of ideas crossed to me, I did not know what to do.

Huancabamba, Peru.
Photo by Iván Fustamante, distributed by FACTORTIERRA.NET

"He gave the life for all of us. The kids of our kids will have present the healer's name," I heard to say. 

Moments when I feel that somebody sobbing holds me. I open up my eyes and I see my brother Pablo dressed in black, with all my  community's neighbors together. I lift up my hand over my eyes those just see, like  when you awake from a long dream. "God, but what happens here," I ask.  Nobody answers, just starts to cry, some faint. But it is my brother Pablo who says: "A day later your departure, I recovered my health like a magic act. Inmediatly, I went after you. I found your aliveless body. According to many witnesses told me, your body did not resist the two hours exposed to the low temperature."

My God! I was at the paradise!

* Iván Fustamante is a journalist based in Cutervo, Peru, and a promising writer as we can realize here.
Also read: The White Lake
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