In Bolivia, the majority of the population are Roman Catholics. The people go to church?
SV People going into church
GV Cross TILT DOWN ALONG Church building PAN FROM Church TO City
GV Buildings in city (2 shots)
GV & SV People buying herbal remedies, amulets, etc. from market (3 shots)
CU Goods on sale in market
GV Street scene
SV Witch doctor exorcising evil spirit from young girl (3 shots)
Initials CL/1850 CL/1900
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Background: In Bolivia, the majority of the population are Roman Catholics. The people go to church on Sunday, and feast days are something they generally look forward to.
In most instances, especially in the interior, the word of the priest is honoured and respected and people go to him for advice on any imaginable matter.
Side by side with all this, however, is the ever-present witchcraft and superstition which, at times, could be stronger than even the word of the priest or the science of medicine.
In open market places, some of the simpler elements of witchcraft go on sale .. herbs, incense, dolls, gadgets, amulets.
The superstitious buy these and use them for a variety of reasons, the main one being to ward off evil spirits.
In Bolivian superstitions, evil spirits can cause a variety of problems. They can prevent women from having babies, children from thriving, men from getting good jobs.
Lovers can be kept apart or brought together, depending on who is paying for the spell to be cast and why.
People with diseases that cannot be cured by doctors are taken to witch doctors who attempt to heal them with a few minutes of chants, some incense and a bit of bush medicine (herbal remedies).
In some instances, the witch doctor is the one to whom the sick are first taken and, more often than not, they are beyond help by the time they get to a doctor.
The situation is not unlike that of many other countries where a large percentage of the population is superstitious.
But the major difference between Bolivia and countries outside the South American continent is that in Bolivia, church and witchcraft co-exist peacefully in an unspoken, unwritten agreement.