The Lodge at Chaa Creek wants to congratulate our friend Rosita Arvigo for her recent recognition as a notable Chicagoan
Our long time neighbour Rosita Arvigo, who is well-known for her apprenticeship with the late Don Elijio Panti, Belize’s most revered Maya healer, was recently the subject of an article in the Chicago Reader
We’re happy to reproduce selections from that article.
As told to Anne Ford.
“I went to Belize in 1982. It was for medical freedom, and a year-round growing season, and wanderlust. Those are always my reasons.
“I was trying to find someone who could teach me about the medicinal plants of my adopted country. ‘The most famous healer is this Maya shaman Don Elijio…
“So I made an appointment to visit him. I had to walk miles—across the river, through the jungle, down the road—to get to his village. I asked him if he would teach me, and he said no, and I kept asking him, and he said no and no and no.
“Exactly one year later, I got there very early in the morning, and he said, ‘I have no time for you today. I have to go harvest my corn.’ I said, ‘Well, let me help you.’ He said, ‘What do you know about harvesting corn? You’re from Chicago.’ I said, ‘I lived in Mexico for seven years. I can harvest corn. Let’s go.’
“In the middle of the morning, he looked at the pile of corn I had pulled, and he was impressed. He said, ‘Tell me, what do you want? What is it?’ I said, ‘Don Elijio, I just want to learn about the plants. If you take me as your student, I promise to work hard.’ So he did. I became his constant companion and his disciple for 15 years. He died in 1996 at age 103.
“We still live in Belize, and we grow bananas, chocolate, lots of fruits, and vegetables. I’m here in Chicago for five months, helping my daughter with her new baby and leading herb walks in the city. I’ll be back every summer.”
Rosita then went on to describe useful herbs that could be found right in Chicago, saying, “Anywhere there’s a crack of dirt in the sidewalk, a medicinal plant will grow.”
We look forward to Rosita’s return to Chaa Creek, where she sometimes conducts workshops and seminars of medicinal plants and traditional healing and massage. If you want to learn more, visit her website at http://rositaarvigo.com/