Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Growing up in a non-traditional, open-minded family, I was introduced to alternative medicines at a young age. My parents chose to seek out homeopathic methods first for healing for my sister and I, resorting to the family doctor or “pill package” presented by the local pharmacists as a last resort. In fact, I cannot even remember the last time I consumed an anti-biotic. As a teenager, I was introduced to Reiki in a school-to-work program and was encouraged to receive licensure to commercially practice the eastern medicine—a degree that I found easy to obtain and thus, do not hold in high regard. My experiences at home with a considerable liberal family broadened my views of medicine and health education. I find that I am naturally skeptical of new seemingly perfect and “cure all” modern medicines, which are so readily advertised on television these days. My experiences do not remotely compare; however, to the humorous practices of the "dottores" in Epeli Hau'ofa's novel, Kisses in the Nederends.
Hau’ofa exaggerates the absurdities of traditional medicine throughout the novel—emphasizing the pitiful hope and trust that people place in the local dottores. The local witch-doctors are presented with a sense of entailment simply in the conduction of various conferences and changing their name to dottore. Suddenly with their new titles, former sorcerers and witch-doctors are treated with the utmost respect and trust. The amount of pain that Oilei subjects himself to is astounding and humorous. He is willing to do whatever a dottore advises him in the hope that it will absolve his “arse” pain. Hau’ofa’s satire implies that by presenting a person with a title, such as dottore, we place an inherent trust in that individual. With my Reiki license, I supposedly have the authority to commercially charge people for my healing services; however, I would never consider this just. My friends would probably laugh at the suggestion; yet, with my Reiki diplomas hanging on an office wall, perhaps, I would be suddenly presented with an appearance of authority and respect. In Kisses in the Nederends, the local witch-doctors are not held in high regard, prior to their new titles and they were certainly not respected by other western medical professionals. Oilei and his family are willing to go to extravagant forms of healing, accepting any suggestion as dottore presents them.

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