In my family the spiritual stories remain alive
Of my great grandmother,
Antonia Chargualaf Nangauta,
Who served as the village suruhana* of Malesso.
I’ve been told of how she would cure the sick
By giving them herbs to eat or drink
Or maybe even massage them.
Yet I was also told that when she healed someone
The sickness imposed by the spirit would transfer to her
So she, too, would have to drink herbs to cure herself.
She often instructed those inflicted with sickness
To visit the site where their illness began
And ask for forgiveness for disturbing the spirits.
So if you enter the jungle
Be careful not to disturb the taotaomo’na*.
Ask for permission from the Guela yan Guelo*
Before you begin your travel
So that you may not get sick, pinched, get red marks
Or even swell.
This is because, although the suruhana is revered,
There aren’t that many that can be found these days,
For, they too, grow of old age,
Just like my great grandmother
Who has since passed away.
© mnrivera and ltgumataotao
*suruhana: female herb doctor
*taotaomo’na: ghost; people of before
*Guela yan Guelo : grandmother and grandfather
Source: Our Native Daughters’ Reflection of Guam and Its People by Dr. Matilda Naputi Rivera and Lois Taitano Gumataotao