The Guardian

God, minerals and mud: thousands flock to Fiji's 'miracle spring'

The impoverished town of Natadradave, home to just 27 families, has become a site of global interest thanks to ‘healing properties’ of its natural pool
Muscle aches and skin conditions are the most common illnesses people present to the spring with, though others with cancer, mental disorders, burns, strokes, blindness and paralysis. Photograph: LOOK Die Bildagentur der Fotogra/Alamy

The crowds begin to gather before dawn, snaking along with dusty backroads of Tailevu district in eastern Fiji, humid jungle pressing at them from every side.

Ambulances and open-topped trucks bearing stretchers are allowed to pass first, then those who can walk, and finally the healthy arrive, loaded up with empty water bottles to carry home to sick relatives and friends.

All have descended upon a remote spring in the western division mountain range, a spring reputed to have extraordinary healing properties: “miracle waters”, it is said.

For Menausi Druguvale the magic began two years ago when he was afflicted with conjunctivitis and he tramped into the mountains seeking a rumoured spring his father told him could cure his eyes.

“When I went

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