Religion is an integral part of life here and more than 80% of the people report being Christian. Others are Muslim or Hindu.
Despite the claim of practicing more “traditional” religions, many people dabble in local beliefs on the side. One of the most popular is Vodou.
Vodou was born in Haiti during the 1500s and is based on a variety of beliefs stemming from West African practices. There is a supreme god, bondye, but he does not interfere in human affairs. Bondye’s subordinates, called lwa, are the object of worship.
It is nearly a daily occurrence that I come face to face with Vodou. Some patients arrive extremely late to care because they were being healed by Vodou priests for days or weeks. Other patient families may ask, “Does my child have a natural disease or unnatural?”
I have found the best way to approach patients believing in Vodou is to simply say, “We will work together. I will take care of the natural parts of this problem and you can help with the unnatural.”