There is always a place for traditional healers.
Saumalu Saufo’i, a traditional healer and a fofo from the village of Si’usega, said traditional forms of healing are a very important part of our culture and they should be preserved.
Saumalu, 49, still practices the traditional ways of healing which was passed down through many generations of women in her family.
“The work of a traditional healer is very important these days,” she told the Village Voice.
“I am just very grateful for our ancestors who have passed down the traditional ways of healing. Healing massages don’t require any medicine and it is good for the body.
“The work I am doing was passed down from many generations of women in my family. I am glad that I have kept what I was taught until this day.
“This was the traditional way of healing before we had doctors and hospitals. It’s a practice that we are slowly losing in Samoa.”
Saumalu says that even with state of the art hospitals and qualified doctors, traditional healers are still in needed in many areas.
“I still practice traditional massages even till now,” she said.
“People would come with body pains and illnesses and we would try help the traditional way. Everything we use is from the ground, it’s all organic and we use it to massage the muscles of those who need healing. “There are a few sicknesses that were very common back in the days; when people go to the doctors for help then they refer them to us.
“We then give them traditional medicine to help cure them. There are certain herbal trees and plants which help cure all types of sicknesses.
“Whether the sickness occurs from a bad diet, or if the person has a burning or a running nose; the doctors won’t know what these sicknesses are but it just takes one look at them for us to know what medicine to give them.
“The medicine we give is all organic with no chemicals in it.”
Saumalu also explained the importance of living on organic foods and medicine which have no chemicals added to it.
“People need to remember that we were created from the dirt,” she said. “If that is so the case then all the plants that grow on the dirt can be used for us. Many of the sicknesses occur due to the bad diet we have.
“We have too many imported foods coming into the country and most of it is not good for our health. It’s not natural. We have so many canned goods and chicken which was not grown naturally.
“We eat those things and we get poisoned through the fattiness of the food.”
Furthermore, Saumalu says that it’s about time that we turn back the clock and return to our old ways of living.
“My advice through my profession is that we should go back to the old ways where we ate balanced food,” she said.
“We would have fish from the sea or other sea creatures. Even if we were to eat just breadfruit and tea, we wouldn’t have all these different types of sicknesses in Samoa.
“Traditional practices and traditional health ideals are very important here in Samoa and that’s a fact. We need to go back to those basic old days.”