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Austin Bordeaux Mr. Feeney October 9, 2012 Anthropology 101-11 From the Bush

The Bwa Mawego People

Marsha B. Quinlan in her book From the Bush: The Front Line of Health Care in a Caribbean Village talks of her studies in the Dominica. Throughout the book, Quinlan talks of the Dominicas medical practices and how they live their life depending on their location. Many of the people that lived in Bwa Mawego were decedents from the Arawakin Indians about 1,600 years ago(20). Quinlan also talks of the rough terrain that covers Dominica. It is very steep in all parts of the country, which makes life very difficult for all that inhabit it. The different techniques of medical treatment are thoroughly described in Quinlans case studies and show how they affect and influence the culture of the Bwa Mawego people. The three sectors of health care can be analyzed by considering two criteria- specialization and professionalization(62). There are three primary types of medical techniques people in Bwa Mawego use. The first is the popular section; this is a very common practice throughout the culture because it involves no payments. No money is spent on medicine, and all of it is grown or scavenged for. This type of healthcare is called bush medicine, it is very useful because it includes selftreatment, like how if we had a headache we would take Advil. The second type of medical technique is called folk. The people of Bwa Mawego have no schooling but are educated by

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elders on how to cure others. Many folk healers could also be midwives, herbalists, bonesetters, and shamans. The third medical practice is actually professional care. All of these people were healthcare workers, and that requires lots of schooling and come rarely to these kinds of places in the world. The popular medical ways are a very useful thing for the poor but there is a problem in some of the even poorer countries because there are economic and social obstacles that are restricting the use of all of the medical practices. Bwa Mawegans depended so much on Bush Medicine because they are so far away from any other villages. Even the hospital is two hours away and many cant afford the drive. So economically, these people cannot afford to get to a hospital, let alone buy medicine or pay for a doctor. Socially, these people are so secluded in their own habitat that when a doctor that no one has seen before comes in and tries to help, they will not trust the professional. Historically these doctors try and come to help these people only to kill their Bush Medicine forcing the Bwa Mawegans to come and buy their help and their medicine. It is a very cruel thing to do, but many doctors are just in it for the money because these people will have nowhere else to go. Under certain circumstances when popular techniques do not work, these humans must go to an expert. In Bwa Mawego there is actually a health clinic that is close enough to walk to. Although it is a very tough walk considering it is all uphill and even more difficult when one is sick. To get these biomedicines is even harder for them because the lack of staff that works there, the lack of supplies that are actually at the clinic, the motivation to actually ask for the medicine and to trust the strangers. It is not even possible to imagine Biomedicine replacing Bush medicine because there will never be enough doctors stationed in the Dominica, there will never be enough biomedicine to send there, and there will never be enough money for it to be bought.

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The only thing that Bwa Mawegans might be hurt by is if they start to use up all of their Bush Medicine. Regardless of that happening, if some disease spreads through the area and Bush medicine cannot save it, many will die because they will never have enough Biomedicine available to them.