Day 90: Baguio
The surgeon who welcomes us to his modest apartment is called José Segundo. Reverend José Segundo. He is a short man, a member of the local Inguin tribe, more Asiatic than Spanish in his features. He wears grey flannel trousers and sports a neat black waistcoat over a dark striped shirt. He extends a soft warm hand. His own, as it happens.
He was born into a poor family up here in the mountain region where a strong tradition of faith-healing was already established. At the age of fourteen, he tells me quite matter-of-factly, a cloud appeared and a voice from within told him he had the power to heal. Since then he has become an international celebrity, very popular in rationalist strongholds like Switzerland and Germany.
I ask him if performing surgery in your own back room next door to the toilet might not carry a risk of infection. He shakes his head firmly and points to the success of a Brazilian healer called the Rusty Knife.
'Because he used a rusty knife?'
'Yes... a kitchen knife.'
'And people were not infected?'
'No... people see his power,' insists the Reverend. 'So with me, I do not wash my hands. The wound will not be infected because of the power that is in them.'
I ask him if he has any medical training. He shakes his head and smiles politely.
'Have you ever read any medical books?'
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