Kimberly Vrudny

Participant 29

In 30/30 Participants, Mexico, OMIECH on August 12, 2010 at 2:10 am

"Participant 29" is a Tzeltal midwife, who shares what is known about HIV/AIDS in her indigenous community. She emphasizes an ethic of treating all people respectfully.

I have taken care of three people in the community: San Antonio Naranjal [Orange Grove], in the Municipality of Simojovel, Chiapas, that are infected with AIDS. I treated them with medicinal plants for 10 days or up to a year. [The length of treatment depended upon] how they reacted to the medicine. In this way, I verifiably cured them. As to which plant I used, I will tell no one, for this remains among us, since it is a secret among indigenous doctors, so that later on we [are able to] retain the authority to patent it, as the case “Pozol y Frijoles Rojos” [the case of “boiled barley and red beans”] already demonstrates. I knew that a person in the city of Guadalajara patented Tepezcouite, that is, a plant that serves [to treat] the burns of the skin. Then, an announcement followed that our plants served their needs, so they stole them from us and patented them. [Once they are patented,] we no longer have them to use.

I have said to them also in the United States, in Arizona, where I have visited, that if they already patented our pozol, this means that it is no longer ours. For us rural folk, pozol is our only food, and already they took it away from us. Our pozol, that is made from corn, is, for us, sacred.

When one knows the illness and its symptoms, one can apply medicine by means of the plants. I am old, but I do not need to go for a [doctor’s] analysis, because I know the plants than can cure me.

AIDS spreads because there are many women who are sold to be with men. But also the infected males transmit that illness to their spouses or to other people. That is very serious, because sadly they do not take care of themselves.

I have seen that there are people who have been infected—they do not disclose [their status] to the public, because they are afraid to be rejected, or mistreated by the community, friends, and family. [Their status] remains a secret. Other times, what is even more worrying, is if a man is infected who wants to have sexual relations with his spouse, but he tells her nothing, the consequence is that he infects his spouse. And this is also very serious. More should be communicated to couples to prevent the illness. This is not only the case with AIDS, but also with other contagious viruses.

In another case, I encountered patients who came from Germany. They came to visit us at OMIECH. I also treated them with medicinal plants, because they suffered from infections, one with syphilis and the other with AIDS. They told me that during the treatment, they functioned well. Before, they burned and itched a lot. After two months of treatment, they went on living. This means that we can cure illnesses by means of our herbs.

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