Thursday, March 31, 2011

Uíge: A Lagoa de Fetiço

On our way to a rural health post in Quitexe Municipality, we passed a lake. We pulled over and my colleague explained that this was the Lagoa de Fetiço, or Lake of Witchcraft, the Cursed Lake. He told this story:

A long time ago, a man entered a village in the middle of the night. He was covered in sores and dressed in rags. He went to each house asking for water. Everyone turned him away, except one family. He returned to the family that had given him water later in night and warned them that they should escape the village before morning because something bad was about to happen. The family ran away, and when they returned, there was a lake where the village had once been.

No one drinks the water from this lake. No one bathes there or fishes. Sometimes the lake grows and reaches the highway, not because of rain, but because of magic. It seems people are afraid of the lake, but the Sobas, village chiefs, also perform ceremonies there. The government has even paid its respects at the lake.

This story reminds me of stories you here sometimes about people turning away a beggar only to find out later the beggar was Jesus. They are similar as warnings to be kind to people, because you never know who they could turn out to be, except, in those stories the person just feels bad because they were unkind to Jesus, while in this story an entire village is engulfed in water.

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