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“The Malagasy medical spirit through its proverbs or ohabolana. “This is the title of a study by Dr. Tsimahafotsy Randriamaro that illustrates it with proverbs related to health, disease, remedies, life and death. The Malagasy, he argues, have an innate belief in immortality. Despite some humorous forms of sayings, they have the worship of ancestors and the dead, just as they have great respect for the sick.
He does not give a literal translation of it, let us try to emphasize its meaning. “The sick are noble sovereigns. “Do not be quiet when you are sick, like a chastity (purulent ophthalmia) who has a good pillow” (quiet sleep).
“Pushing as an asthmatic snoring without being asleep. “
“Do not be like a leper who swims, but drowns in reaching the goal. Dr. Randriamaro explains that, having no fingers left by mutilation of leprosy, he can no longer cling to the shore and lets himself sink.
“It is mad that one who always scratches his itch, soon he will have an eczema. – “Being great friends when you’re sick, but squabbling up the house when you’re healthy.” “
– “A great sick without cover, if the disease does not kill him, the cold will finish him.” – “Many have hare-lip, but those who have a nose gnawed with syphilis are much more to be feared.”
“One is not a man if one is not tested by (vaccinated with) the fever. Another doctor, Dr. Ramisaray, observes that the technique of vaccination is already practiced before the discovery of the Jennerian vaccine by the Malagasy healers. They then make use of the greyish crust of the pustules during the period of drying. Slight scarifications on one part of the body cause some benign eruptions that immunize against scorpion bites: scarification at the tip of the finger and tongue with some liquid from the maceration of the tail of the scorpion!
“Fever of Avaradrano, the remedies deemed sacred do not make a miracle. “Formerly in the Avaradrano, in the northeastern region of Imerina, Dr. Randriamaro indicates, periodic epidemics of pernicious fevers are raging. Faced with the number of deaths, the ineffectiveness of the remedies becomes proverbial.
“Epidemic diseases of Imamo (the region southwest of Imerina), those who are not mowed by death keep a big belly” (splenomegaly).
“Soldiers from the army of Rainingory come back covered with ulcers. This saying was born of a fact: the health service of the army of this general left something to be desired.
“Do not prepare remedies like Rabetsiafindra, he knows how to prepare for others and not for himself. “Do not believe the son of Mpisikidy (healer) who will never fall ill, just like the son of the blacksmith who says he will never be burned.” “
“Too much drugs are harming. “The remedy of the weak is their honesty. The remedy of the strong is to ask for forgiveness when they have needed. “-” Having a strong arm is not an assurance for life, and youth is not a talisman against death … for all we will die. “
“Life is like an old man’s song, it ends in a sob. “Life is a potty of earth, and we do not know if it will break during the night.” “Life is like the perfume that exhales during the cooking of dishes, it is not known when it will dissipate.” – “Life is like a shadow and a smoke, it passes and is no more.” “
Through these translations of some of the proverbs that the Notes have extracted from his study, we see how Dr. Randriamaro tries to uncover the medical spirit of ancestors, which he describes as “the primacy of psychism over psychosomatism: Hippocratism and psychosomatism, traditional respect for those who are sick and those who suffer, spirituality, weighting and the synthetic spirit of our ancestors come from their observation of the nature that is their master. “
Dr. Tsimahafotsy Randriamaro concludes with a last proverb by which ancestors inculcate in children recognition to their parents, educators, benefactors, etc. “Never push away the canoe that served you to cross the deep river … you would risk drowning yourself. “