Dung wonders

The Sunday Mail

Priscilla Kamurira

Ever wonder why the BaTonga people hardly suffer from malaria though their town is seriously known to be infested by deadly mosquitoes that cause malaria?

The secret lies in elephant dung.

BaTonga elders claim lighting up elephant dung keeps mosquitoes away for the smoke is a repellant.

Not only is dung used as a repellant, but also as a painkiller as well as for curing different other health conditions and casting away bad spirits.

The Sunday Mail recently caught up with Binga elders who said that due to the high temperatures the town experiences, most people suffer from terrible, continuous headaches, non-stop nosebleeds, which makes sourcing medicine expensive to them.

On the other hand, the continuous intake of tablets or medicine is also not healthy, thus the BaTonga elders found a traditional way, which is cheap, easily accessible, ecofriendly – the use of elephant dung.

The elders explained that one lights up dry elephant dung, then blow out the flames and inhale the smoke from the dung for it cures headaches, nosebleeds, toothaches and many other health conditions, especially among women.

BaTonga traditional healers also believe that inhaling smoke from elephant dung also chases evil spirits away.

Elephant dung is also used in curing women suffering from menstrual problems as well as help when one is due to give birth.

“Standing astride a smouldering piece of elephant dungs stops excessive bleeding. Elephant dung also help women who are about to give birth,” explained a traditional healer.

BaTonga people also enjoy edible insects that have medicinal value which stay in elephant dung.

The BaTonga women and children, with the help of a non-governmental organisation that helps in empowering women and children in Binga, are also using elephant dung in making eco-friendly paper.

The paper being made from their dung is helping in reducing the number of trees that are being chopped down.

Roasted baobab seeds are mixed with beans from elephant dung to make a brew that has a natural flavour and is drunk during ceremonies.