Kuranderia/herbal medicine and healers

During the time of slavery, medical care on Bonaire was very poor. While at that time several epidemics had been recorded that mainly affected the slaves who worked on the island, after all, the island had government plantations.

Medicinal Herbs
"Before deciding to go to the doctor, people who lived in the past tried to use home remedies. In most cases, these were herbs and leaves from trees and plants that grew in nature. There were several experts in the field of herbs. The general thought among the Bonairean people was that 'herbs are medicinal, otherwise God would not have created them.'" Paul Brenneker in his book ' Yerba'. (Herbs).

Apart from seeking healing through the use of herbs, Bonaireans also had their healers. (haladónan). One could find these healers in all neighborhoods. There were two types of healers, namely the healer of mental illnesses and the healer of physical problems, such as complaints of an arm, or a foot that has dislocated. A combination of both was also possible.

The bulk of the healers, the smokers, give a treatment that lasts three days. But if the patient does not heal, it can continue for five days, seven days and even nine days. In any case, the number of treatments must be uneven. So it cannot be, for example, two, four, six or eight.

Skirbi Kolibrí – The ‘writing away’ of shingles
In the popular medicine of Bonaire, we also know healers who treat 'kolibri' (shingles) and ' flamderos' (wound rash). Roberto (Bob) Harms, researcher of culture and history, explains that ' kolibri' is an infection that someone gets from the virus called ' Herpes zoster'. It affects the nerves and it runs the length of the nerve. It is very painful. Depending on where the infection starts, one starts writing on the skin with a pen with a soft tip like a marker, this is to avoid puncturing the skin. Pana Egbrechts tells us that Jesus’ name is written by itself. Then, at a different spot, the names of Joseph and Mary are written at random. Around them crosses are marked to prevent the infection from spreading. While writing, one prays to God in good faith that the disease may be cured. This treatment was done for nine days to prevent the infection from spreading.

Every healer has his rate. But there are also those who do not ask for money directly, they ask the patient to give something in good conscience. There are also those who do not receive the money in their hand. They ask to put it on the table. Others, for example the healers of shingles, ask to throw the money on the ground.

Nowadays there are several healers of a new generation working on Bonaire, they have received the gift and or knowledge from their elders.