WEBLOG JEF GEYS

WOODWARDS AVENUE WORKSHOPS: correspondence

Posted in Woodward Avenue by gvd on February 23, 2010

Hi Ina,

I understand that you do not want ‘new age hippies’. I have spoken
with an eccentric African-American Herbalist/Spiritualist who I think would work well for your  needs and I have spoken very briefly with an Mexican woman who runs a shop in the city. I need to know, would you like them to partake in a panel discussion or a more “hands-on” workshop. Would they be speaking in front of a crowd or would they be dealing with people one-on-one.
I am not so well versed on the exhibition so I am not certain what the “Bolivia films” are.
Thanks,
Ben

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Hi Ben,

I would like to hold a private workshop, which means (hopefully at least 4) healers and myself. The idea is to exchange experiences related to traditional healing. Jef, correct me if I am wrong, but I see this as a workshop “by invitation only”, not open to the general public. The idea would be to have a small group of people (none of them new-age hippies) and all people working as healers in the community, or perhaps also some community members who are (or have been) patients of these healers, to hold a discussion about the role and importance of traditional healing today in Detroit.

The reason why I want to keep the workshop “private” is three-fold: (1) this is not a promotional stunt (I don’t want press hanging around and scare people); (2) if the event is open it might not create an atmosphere open enough to talk about traditional healing and community health. (I would like to point again to the NYTimes article that emphasized that a lot of healers are “working in the shadows”). Let’s not forget that many healers in urban areas assist community members without legal status. I want the healers to feel safe to talk; (3) popular action series on TV such as “CSI” recently depicted a botánica shop as “a place of witchcraft”. This shows that there still exists a lot of prejudice towards traditional healing.

The Bolivia movies that will be on display in the Detroit exhibition are about my work with traditional healers in the Amazon region in Bolivia. I will be moderating the workshops and would like to start by showing these movies and explaining my work (which is focused on improving community health and training medical students and doctors to become more culturally sensitive) and then ask the healers to talk about their own practice. Ideally, if we have at least 4 healers and some community members/patients, there could be some kind of discussion among them.

What do you think?

Kind wishes,

-Ina

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