Kenya Day 8: A Plague of Witches



Yesterday, while out searching for mosquito breeding sites, we came across a couple of… well, I’m not sure what to call them. Folks here would say that they are left by witches. My tolerant side would call them religious objects of some sort. I’m not really sure what they are supposed to do, but someone took a lot of time making them.

I’ve seen people making odd installations out of batteries, stick and radio parts. It’s fairly creepy. Given what I know, I would assume that the people making them would be burned on sight, but it would seem that most people just laugh and shake their heads.

These looked like odd childhood dioramas, but they were far too meticulously created to have been made by kids. Honestly, I really don’t know what to say about them and couldn’t get much out of the people around me. People who speak English are so far removed from regular Kenyans, that they don’t make good sources of information on witchcraft, spellcasters and healers. They speak of it in insidious terms, but are pretty vague on the details.

Here are the rest of the photos. I’ve included some other pics of our (fortunately fruitless) trip to find mosquitoes.

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About Pete Larson

Researcher at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research. Lecturer in the University of Michigan School of Public Health and at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I do epidemiology, public health, GIS, health disparities and environmental justice. I also do music and weird stuff.

One response to “Kenya Day 8: A Plague of Witches”

  1. stumpwater says :

    Great pictures, especially the ones with the kids mugging for the camera.

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