Traditional healing practices

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This photo is of my friend with whom I rode camels around the Thar desert for five days, slept under the stars, and got caught in storms and sandstorms. The latter were so vicious I had to be rushed to a local village woman by a young boy on his motorbike to remove the pieces of grit in my eye with tweezers, that had made me feel as if I was slowly losing my sight throughout the night.

I couldn’t open my eyes – they were too painful and sensitive to the beating sun – as I sat cross-legged outside her house. But in my mind I was in the middle of a beautiful scene of smiling children running in circles around us as she peeled my eyelids further and further upwards to exact more stubborn rubble from within.

I would love to conclude that this local and ancient method of restoring vision sufficed. That, however, was not the case. And the pain returned.

We reluctantly drove on to a bustling local hospital. I was immediately ushered into a very open room, flipped over and stabbed twice in the bum – once on each side – with sharp injections of painkiller.

I was told that someone had been throwing rocks in my eyes and was advised to avoid that. I was finally sent off with an extensive shopping list for eye-drops, tablets and medicines.

The pain waned, sight did eventually return, and I retreated once again to the desert.

© Gabriella Zoe Harris. All rights reserved.

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