Chapter 7 Discussion Questions and Suggested Activities

Chapter 7 Discussion Questions and Suggested Activities

Berta: Healing Families

Discussion Questions

1. Why was magical healing popular among families participating in international migration? How did magical healing address problems specific to migration?

2. Was magical healing effective? If so, why? If not, why not?

3. Some kinds of culture change are superficial and some kinds can re-order the way a group of people assures their values and way of life endure into the future. That is, some kinds of change alter the way people reproduce their society. What fears of this deeper change were expressed by the Dorados and other Calakmuleños? Were these fears reasonable?

4. In the age of social media, it may seem like magical healing is no longer necessary. After all, social media can allow migrant families greater access to one another’s worlds through video, voice, and ongoing connection. What aspects of the migration experience might social media fail to compensate for? Why might witchcraft still be part of migrant families’ repertoires despite the existence of social media?

Personal reflection

Do you believe people are connected to each other through any kind of hidden dimension? Is there a way to access that dimension and reach out to people far away?



1. To what extent do beliefs in witchcraft and the existence of Otherworldly beings exist in your world? Interview four people about their beliefs. Reach out to people who do not know each other and, therefore, do not already share the same viewpoints. Use culturally relevant terms in your questions. For example, in some communities ideas of ghosts, angels or fairies might be relevant. In other communities, ideas of the evil eye might be relevant.

2. What sorts of faith healing do people in your community undertake? Interview four people about these beliefs. As with the question noted above, if possible, seek out people who do not know each other and, therefore, do not already share the same viewpoints. Faith healing is a broad category and includes belief in the actions of the Otherworldly but also a range of beliefs that may or may not have basis in scientific evidence.

3.  This 8-minute video shows a healer explaining her work and shares the words of a young man newly converted to healers’ powers. Compare the two perspectives. How does the healer view the relationship between good and evil in healing?

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