An array of tinctures, candles, an ordinary household spray bottle, and a miniature Virgin Mary lay idle just minutes before a traditional Andean limpieza (Spanish for “cleansing”). The curandera (Spanish for “healer”) utilizes a monte—a boquet of mountain plants—a raw egg, a candle, and a unique blend of alcohol and herbs which cleanse her numerous daily customers, both mestizo and indigenous. Mama Michi, a popular curandera situated in the high mountains of Cañar, allowed our large group of Lewis and Clark students to witness, photograph, and take part in this foreign process.
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