Italian tourists flock North Coast as high season beckons

Italian tourists have started flocking to the North Coast region as the much-anticipated high tourism season opens.

Last weekend, more than 80 Italian tourists visited a cultural centre in Magarini, Kilifi county to seek divinations from traditional medicine men and palm readers j. The guest  from Venice are members of a yoga and herbalist group and they sought concoctions from the traditional healers when they toured Magarini Cultural Centre.

Traditionally, tourists come for holiday to enjoy the scenic beaches and visit the national parks and  other tourism attraction sites. So it was a surprise to see a convoy of 10 tour vans parked at the remote village not only to learn the culture but also to seek traditional healing.

A troupe of community dancers welcomed them before they were shown shrines, ancestral homes and learnt how traditional prayers are conducted. Those who had personal problems then went to see herbalists (waganga) seeking to know what was ‘disturbing’ their lives. Many in the group underwent the traditional ramli ceremony commonly performed by medicinemen  to unearth personal problems.

The tourists’ group leader, Mario Jei and his wife Grazie Jei who are herbalists and Yoga club owners with over 1,000 subscribers in Venice, also sought the waganga’s help for their ‘problems’.

Sidi Thoya, a herbalist, told the couple their trade was not doing well and that they needed to undergo traditional cleansing to ensure success. She told the tourist to come back after three days to get ‘dawa’  so as to prosper even after they retire.

Some of the tourists who stood watching from a distance and taking photos were amazed by the cultural exercise.

Speaking through an interpreter, Jei said he had a dream back in Italy that there was a traditional healer in Kilifi who could solve his problems. He is also a herbalist back in Italy.

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